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Creating an office environment that fosters innovation and creativity doesn't have to involve huge sums of money being spent on office design fees.

There is a misnomer among many business leaders that a innovative office design is only afforded by the bigger brands in the creative, technology and media sectors, such as Google, Facebook and Apple.

Unfortunately this is still leading to an inertia among smaller to medium sized companies to introduce improved office design.

Dr Craig Knight, chartered psychologist and director of Identity Realization (IDR) contends that part of the problem stems from managers not understanding how to measure the impact of creating a more inspiring workplace on productivity. ?The closest they can get is to look at cost-savings,? he says. ?So they would say ?we save £50,000 on rent by squeezing more people into this space'.

It's safe to say that most people appreciate that an office design which encourages collaboration and provides space for downtime has a positive impact on productivity but it's these issues of perceived cost of office design and inability to value its impact that's holding many companies back from adopting a new approach.

How about giving your own staff the job of office design?

Research by the University of Exeter has consistently shown that the more control people are given over the layout and design of their workspaces, the happier, more motivated and productive they are.

Two studies, one carried out at the university and another in commercial offices, saw participants undertake a series of tasks in a workspace that was either lean (bare and functional) or enriched (decorated with plants and pictures), empowered (where the individual was allowed to design the area) or disempowered (where the individual?s design was redesigned by a manager). Those working in the enriched spaces were 17% more productive than those in lean spaces, but those sitting at empowered desks were almost one third (32%) more efficient.

The more your workplace reflects the identity of the people in it, the more in tune your workplace and your staff will be.


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