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17 February 2016

HOK’s Pam Light on Activity-Based Workplace Design

Pam Light Regional Leader of Strategic AccountsHOK’s Pam Light shares insights on how the design and furnishings of a workplace affect workers’ behavior and productivity.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

“What trends have you noticed in the workplace, and how do these affect space planning?”

PL: ”Today, the escalating cost of real estate often requires that every square foot be accounted for. Fortunately, at the same time we have seen the onset of wireless technology which untethered everyone from their workstations and allowed for greater mobility throughout a space. Now that workers have the freedom to be productive anywhere, we need to provide holistic spaces that support overall health and wellness.”

“What are some innovative ways to facilitate collaboration and interaction throughout a space?”

“Activity-based design responds to general human needs. For example, natural sunlight has been proven to attract people to a space. Once there, if you can make them comfortable and support their technology needs, they will stay longer and attract more collaborators. So we try to place workstations and collaborative areas near these types of inviting spaces to give people a convenient spot to escape to throughout the day. Also, studies have shown that white noise is more comfortable for most people than complete silence, especially when working in a collaborative group.”

Activity-based design

“How can furniture be tailored to balance privacy and collaboration?”

“That’s one of the most important issues in today’s workplace. One space does not fit all, and an organization needs to give everyone a space in which they are most comfortable. The furniture needs to support the activity functionally, but also contribute to the brand and culture of the organization. Varying worksurface heights adds dimension and visually breaks up a space to make it more appealing. Flexibility to reconfigure is also critical because it allows space planners to freshen up the environment without investing in new furniture.”

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