To support employee engagement, Architects and Designers are fashioning visually identifiable collision points to share ideas, collaborate and meet, mirroring the behaviours of their home neighbourhood.
Recent research from Steelcase further examines the correlation between employee engagement and workplace satisfaction noting workers who are highly satisfied with various aspects of their workplace also demonstrate higher levels of engagement. And the correlation between engaged and productive employee’s is significant with a 2016 Gallup Poll noting teams with high employee engagement rates are 21 per cent more productive.
One company to adopt the neighbourhood design approach is Airbnb, the global online marketplace for short-term lodging. Stepping into an Airbnb workplace whether in Tokyo or Dublin, you can see a clear set of design principles at play. Workstations are collective spaces with no individual desks, a central multi-use staircase links the space and visual connections throughout help employees and guests navigate their way around. With ‘in home’ inspired design touches in each space, Airbnb is pushing the neighbourhood approach to connect its team to their customers and the overall brand proposition.
Nature in the neighbourhood
Many studies have shown the value of biophilic design (or nature-inspired design) to support employee engagement. In our own global study of office workers, the Human Spaces Report respondents noted increased creativity, productivity and wellbeing if they had exposure to natural elements including sunlight and greenery.
E-commerce company, Etsy and partner Gensler recently designed a workspace in New York which showcases technology, craft and a regenerative ecosystem inspired by nature. The use of natural materials identifies different neighbourhoods, ensuring the employee community can navigate, co-work and use the space to best suit their needs.
The evolution of the neighbourhood and its migration from home life to the workplace reflects the changing needs of today’s workforce. Employees want a workplace that inspires them, connects them to nature, is designed with their needs in mind and offers the feel of a community.
For Architects and Designers the neighbourhood design principle offers a wealth of possibility to create smart multi-function spaces using materials focused on wellbeing to inspire the workforce of tomorrow.