Before the pandemic, the office was simply a place for employees to go to do their job. However, with the spread of COVID-19, remote and hybrid working environments have become increasingly common, thus altering the role of the physical office space.
With going to the office no longer being a default, more offices have adopted a behaviour-based layout, allowing employees' needs and behaviour to inform the workplace design.
What is a behaviour-centric approach?
Office designs have constantly been evolving, with open spaces changing into cubicles in the 1980s and hotdesking emerging in the 2000s. These changes reflect the ever-present need for workplaces to develop alongside the shifts in employee behaviour.
The shift to remote and hybrid working changes the fundamental purpose of a physical workspace because work is no longer a place as much as it is a thing to do. Hence, the key question in behaviour-centric design is: How can employees be encouraged to come into the office?
A behaviour-centric design prioritises integrating the company's culture into the office space, so there is a clear distinction between working from home and in the office. This distinction creates a motivating factor that encourages employees to want to go into the office.
How to adopt a behaviour-centric approach?
The first step to adopting a behaviour-centric approach is to assess the needs and challenges of the employees, who are the primary consumers of the design, by observing their personalities and working styles. These observations should inform the development of the office space.
Engaging and communicating with employees throughout the designing process is also essential to understand their needs better. This can be done through surveys that indicate the individuals’ preferences. Moreover, checking in with employees regularly is necessary because their needs and opinions may change over time.
Allowing employees to voice their opinions and share their ideas about the use of space is also critical, as individuals who have contributed to the design are more likely to understand and agree with the changes.
Secondly, the office should be designed for flexibility. The workspace should benefit employees' various tasks and projects to encourage them to come into the office. Hence, each space should be tailored to be conducive to different types of work. Ultimately, there should be spaces designed for collaborative teamwork, private meetings, and anything in between.
Thirdly, the office should be designed with different needs in mind so that it is inclusive and encourages productivity from all employees. This includes taking into consideration individuals who are neurodivergent and thus better suited for areas with lower levels of stimuli.
Lastly, the design should be constantly evolving to accommodate the changing needs of the employees. A feedback mechanism should be implemented so employees can voice their opinions and suggestions to help improve the office environment.
Designing the office for behaviour is increasingly important in the post-pandemic era. If you are looking to make such a change in your office design, OSCA Asia is one of the best commercial interior design firms in Singapore. Contact us at https://www.osca.asia/ to elevate your work experience today.