A sensible office design is key to productivity. The Buffalo Organization for Social & Technological Innovation (BOSTI) recently conducted a survey of more than 12,000 people from 1994 to 2000, focusing on how the workplace affects performance, satisfaction, learning and teamwork. They found that many growing companies neglect the importance of accessible meeting room space, instead filling meeting rooms with the desks of new hires and conducting meetings in noisy community workspaces. Some companies need more community and meeting spaces while others need more seclusion — the key, according to this article, is to survey employee needs, optimize the resources available and find out what does or doesn’t work.
The BOSTI survey also found that each employee makes noise 25% of the day — if eight employees work in one room, therefore, there will always be plenty of noise. Employee satisfaction and productivity are enhanced by increasing privacy rather than providing more space, and small, private workspaces with glass walls and doors are seen as ideal. The survey also found that most people learn better informally and therefore need reliable access to knowledgeable coworkers. This requires that the office organizational structure be clear and logical to employees, with cubicles and office corridors and hallways numbered.
Source: Nicholas Engels, The Business Journal-Milwaukee, April 20, 2001