3 Office Design Questions to Ask for Optimal Employee Communication

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Office DesignWhile customers and cash flow are said to be the “lifeblood of business success,” it goes without saying that effective employee communication is not far behind. Indeed, everything from productivity, performance, customer service, quality assurance and brand reputation trace back to strong internal communication — or in some unfortunate cases, the lack thereof.

Naturally, there are many key pieces of the communication puzzle, including training, technology, policies, protocols and procedures. However, there is another aspect that may not be readily apparent, yet is as influential and important any other: office design.

Indeed, everyone has been in workplaces — either as a member of the team, or as a customer or visitor — and thought, “This environment is built for exceptional communication.” Conversely, everyone has been in workplaces and thought, “How on earth do these people connect and collaborate?”

To ensure that your employees, customers, and visitors consistently have the former sentiment and never the latter, here are three key office design questions to ask for optimal employee communication:

1. What kind of communication do we want to foster?

At first glance (and perhaps second and third as well!), this may seem like a strange — if not redundant and ridiculous — question. However, a deeper look reveals that this inquiry is pragmatic, not philosophical.

That is because while most businesses would benefit from “improved communication,” this does not mean that they all need the SAME kind of communication. For example, some businesses may want to encourage collaboration between cross-functional teams that rarely interact and likely never seriously engage each other unless or until a problem (or crisis) emerges. To achieve this outcome, an open office design might be the ideal layout strategy.

2. What are our privacy requirements?

There is a critical difference between brainstorming a marketing campaign theme and a sensitive conference regarding a confidential client or employee matter. The right office design will enable both types of dialogue to take place in an appropriate and effective way.

This is especially important for businesses that implement an open office layout. If they fail to take privacy requirements into consideration at the design stage, then not only will sensitive conversations be difficult to schedule and manage, but there may be compliance risks as well (e.g. HR managers talking about confidential matters in a way that can be overheard, inability to properly secure documents, etc.).  

3. How can we leverage technology into our office design?

Technology and communication are not just compliments in the context of office design: they are integrated, which means they should enhance each other. For example, businesses should ensure that employees have ample access to USB charging ports, power outlets, “hot desks” (i.e. fully-functional desks that anyone can use vs. only the employee who is assigned that specific workstation), and so on.

Learn More

To learn more about how office design impacts and influences employee communication and how to make smart, strategic layout choices for your environment, contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation with us is free.

For more information on if an open and collaborative office design is right for your business, download our FREE eBook today: 

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