Why is Workplace Design Important?

05/06/2019 | By Janelle Penny

What makes a workplace good or bad?

That question seems like it should be easy to answer. And to a point, it is—everyone needs things like decent health insurance and nice coworkers. But answering that question as it pertains to the built environment is harder.

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I’ve worked in all kinds of office configurations, from a double row of computers on either side of a half-wall to a standard cubicle to the private office I have now. They all have pros and cons—yes, even the half-wall had some advantages despite how often I compared it to a feeding trough.

Open office layouts like that invite their fair share of criticism, but for me, they’re unparalleled for facilitating immediate collaboration when you need it.

It was easy to pop my head up over the half-wall or out of my cubicle to grab a colleague whenever I had a question or couldn’t think of the word I was looking for.

On the other hand, private offices like the one I work in now are invaluable for everyday tasks like making phone calls without bothering people, or even just for focusing on heads-down work without interruptions—two things I do every day.

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BUILDINGS Magazine May 2019

Ideally, most offices would have a mix of space types so that people with different roles can work in spaces that fit their work tasks. For our May feature, we showcase examples of four kinds of spaces that would be at home in any office:

What do you think makes a good workplace? What do you love or hate about your current space? Let me know at janelle.penny@buildings.com or tweet at me @BuildingsMedia—let’s start a conversation about what a workplace should look like in 2019.

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