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Contract - May 2009 - (Page 82)

essay the office evolution A Gensler survey studies the connection between workplace design and business performance By Janet Pogue with an Introduction by Jennifer Busch Quite a few years ago, during a conversation I had with the legendary Art Gensler, he noted that one of the most significant problems facing the commercial interior design industry is lack of research to support design decisions. Gensler’s 2008 Workplace Survey goes a long way toward addressing that concern, at least as it pertains to the corporate office environment. According to Gensler executive director Diane Hoskins, the study began with the firm’s Workplace Performance Index (WPI), a tool first developed for use in pre- and post-occupancy studies for Gensler’s clients. Before long the WPI formed the basis of a broad national survey, by which individual clients could benchmark themselves against a national pool of corporate organizations. Now Gensler is making public the results of its 2008 Workplace Survey, in part as a response to the widely held belief that productivity cannot be accurately measured. Whether or not this actually is the case, the survey has been enormously helpful within the ranks of Gensler, and no doubt other firms could learn from its findings as well. “We think we know what goes on in organizations, but there has been so much change in the knowledge economy,” Hoskins says. “There has been so much transition that has had a huge impact on the workplace. It is absolutely imperative that we understand these changes for ourselves so we can make the right design decisions that bring the greatest value to our clients.” In this first part of a multi-part series in Contract about the 2008 Workplace Survey, Janet Pogue of Gensler offers an executive summary of the survey’s basic findings. The Knowledge Workplace The Workplace Survey revealed that top-performing companies—those companies identified by respondents as the most profitable, most admired, and leaders in their industries—are embracing a fundamental restructuring of work that recognizes the primacy of four work modes in the knowledge economy: focus, collaboration, learning, and socializing. The study found that companies who provide workplaces that better support the four work modes see higher levels of employee engagement, brand equity, and profit, with profit growth up to 14 percent greater than those with less supportive work environments. In the traditional workplace, individual heads-down work was king, but today new work modes—collaborating, learning, and socializing—are of equal importance. Gensler’s survey clearly shows a competitive advantage for companies that understand their value, and survey numbers tell the tale: employees at top-ranked companies consider collaboration twice as critical to job success as average companies (43 percent versus 21 percent) and spend 23 percent more time collaborating than average companies (36 percent versus 29 percent). Socializing was almost three times as critical to employees at top-performing companies, who spend 16 percent more time in that work mode (20 percent versus 7 percent). Billions of $ invested by U.S. companies in employee learning in 2007 Integrating learning into everyday work is an essential element of the knowledge workplace. Percent of respondents at top-ranked companies that expressed satisfaction with their workplaces. Minimum number of learning styles a productive workplace has to support Gensler Workplace Survey The world of work has changed. No longer focused on paper pushing and individualized tasks, today’s knowledge economy is powered by individuals and teams creating organizational value and driving business performance. Ideas, information, and expertise are the new currency of business success. If the very nature of work is changing, the workplace itself must be reconsidered to help maximize productivity and performance. Gensler’s 2008 Workplace Survey, conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom, presents new insights about the nature of work today—the four work modes of the knowledge workplace, the amount of time employees spend in each work mode, and how critical each mode is to job performance—and the link between workplace design and productivity. Gensler commissioned an independent consultant to conduct the online surveys, with a random sample of 900 participants in the United States and 300 in the the United Kingdom. All staff levels were represented and as well as nine industries, with equal geographic distribution. 110 Knowledge work depends on information flow. Social networks sustain it. Socializing occurs more at top vs. average companies by 82% 3 Research shows that companies with a robust social infrastructure are more likely to suceed. Socializing is valued more at top vs. average companies by 16% Percent of project-specific Knowledge gained from peer interaction. Knowledge is transfered more between people than from other sources of information by ???? 2.8x Percent of knowledge workers who agree that workplace design affects productivity ???? ???? 70% Given better workplaces, respondents identified significant improvement in every work mode. 5x Additional time spent in focus work mode at average vs. top comapnies ???? 21% 90 % source: Gensler 82 contract may 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - May 2009

Contract - May 2009
Exhibition: Best of NeoCon® 2009
Keep It Simple, Sustainable
Generation NextGeneration Next
All Lit Up
Outside the Box
LEED v3: A Highly Evolved Solution
The Office Evolution
Brand New
Jump Start
Tailored Fit
The Energizer Effect
Diamond in the Rough
Chat Room
Designers Rate: Panel Fabrics
Ad Index

Contract - May 2009