Creating productive workspaces – matching spaces to the needs of workers

Creating a productive workspace is about matching the needs of workers with the correct environment. However, what exactly constitutes the correct environment differs for different types of workers.

Depending on the tasks and types of work that people perform, as well as the various cultural and personal factors which impact on them (such as people being more introverted or more extroverted for example), the ideal workspace for each worker varies across a wide variety of types.

The people at Schiavello have come up with a really interesting and useful breakdown of worker types that they use to map out types of spaces required to optimize workers effectiveness and productivity in their workspaces.

The four types of workers are:

Nester – these types of worker prefer to work at a set workplace in the office each day. They work best in spaces that afford them a degree of privacy and the ability to customize their workspace in order to make it feel like ‘their space’.

Roamer – these workers also prefer to work in the office space but have less of a need for a set place that is ‘theirs’. Instead, they tend to use collaborative spaces in the office environment.

Linker – this type of worker is often out of the office, working remotely. When they are in the office though they prefer having a set workplace that is assigned to them.

Networker – as a class of worker these individuals are often out of the office working remotely. When in the office though they prefer to work in collaborative and open spaces where they can easily engage with others.

Once the various types of workers in an organization, and their ratios with regards one another, are identified then that data can be used to understand what types of work spaces are required to optimize people’s ability to work effectively.

Schiavello have identified six different types of spaces that promote different types of interactions – depending on the four possible worker types. These six types of spaces are:

How these workspaces are be distributed across an organization will probably vary across different parts of the organization and over time as the make up and the types of work undertaken by an organization changes. Here is an example of different work spaces distributed across an environment designed to promote more malleable and networked forms of work.

Given that workspaces generally now involve a virtual component – with members of teams sometimes living and working in different continents – the breakdown of worker types and space options provided by Schiavello has a lot of utility.

These breakdowns aren’t necessarily universally applicable, though as they’re adapted more for an office space as opposed to a lab space or manufacturing plant. Regardless, they do provide a useful addition to the range of tools we have available to us in the Strategic Design sector to help design and build productive organizations.

NB: While we at Archetekt are not affiliated with any particular vendors or suppliers we do like sharing interesting resources that we find from other groups. After all, the more we work together the better the world we can build.

Images courtesy of: Pixabay and Schiavello