What makes a great workplace?

Kahler Slater, a Milwaukee-based interdisciplinary design enterprise, recently published a whitepaper titled, “What Makes a Great Workplace?”

The whitepaper describes 14 attributes of a great physical workplace (i.e., a well-designed workplace) and focuses on those areas where an employee’s ability to act is impacted by the design of the physical environment.

“We have built our study around the theory that great workplaces are the result of careful attention to the entire environment – social, cultural and physical. Our thesis was confirmed through the results of our research study,” the whitepaper stated. “The work of today is drastically different than the work processes supporting the industrial revolution. Today’s products – knowledge and creativity, require a different environment in which they are to be ‘produced,’ nurtured and shared.”

According to the whitepaper, well-designed workplace are physical environments that allow:

  • Individuals to perform distraction-free work.
  • Collaboration and impromptu interaction.
  • Undistracted teamwork and meetings.
  • Accommodation of personal work styles and workstation personalization.
  • Individual control of thermal comfort.
  • Access to daylight.
  • Control of glare.
  • Workspaces allocated by function.
  • Clear wayfinding.
  • Adjacencies that support work flow.
  • Accommodation of changing technology.
  • Ergonomic accommodation.
  • A professionally-maintained plant program.
  • Expression of organizational culture.

“Companies that leverage their facility assets by giving thoughtful consideration to what a well-designed workplace means for them, are thinking strategically. They are putting a plan of action into place that is intended to improve their business, they are doing so by utilizing their assets to the fullest potential, and they are being proactive in terms of how to best support their largest, most expensive, and most important asset, their people,” the whitepaper stated.

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