Thinking about improving the Workplace?

No doubt we are all thinking about how to improve various elements of performance in 2013.  Some will think about workplace strategies and will want to focus on improvements in:

  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Retention and attraction of talent
  • Brand
  • Health
  • Productivity

I used the bullets from Profession Frank Becker of Cornell University.  What he focused on was thinking about the workplace needs us to think way beyond the technology sphere.  Frank correctly highlighted that we measure cost and satisfaction …. and those measures can’t help us understand how we improved any of the 6 bullets.  The other observation he makes is that in most cases organizations are not truly interested in fully understanding the impact of changes.  In Frank’s words he states that in many cases workplace design changes in the physical places we work are measured after the event solely on cost and satisfaction, deeper studies are rarely performed and key stakeholders either “believe it works”, “hope it works”, or “proclaim it works”.

My view here, and something I’ll try and focus on in 2013 is there is a blend of experience design required to make workplace services successful.  Firstly there is service design, a true end to end view for how organizations provide services to clients.  Secondly workspace design, how the physical workspaces that people utilise can be designed to be as efficient as possible.  Thirdly technology design, how do we design a user experience which meets the needs of the processes or activities being performed and how do we make that experience as productive as possible.

His overview of real examples and an academic approach to measuring the success of workplace is worth 30 minutes:

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