The Science of Workplace Strategy

Jo Horbury

People are the life-force of an organisation, they are the key determinant as to whether a company will grow, improve, innovate and ultimately be a success. The evolution of workplace design is changing and becoming increasingly people-centric. Greater emphasis is being placed upon collaboration within a workplace but a workplace should cater for all patterns of work enabling a quick transition from collaboration to focused, individual work.  Yet, it is surprising how many organisations still opt for a once size fits all open plan or bull pen office design and expect to yield exceptional results without truly thinking of the needs of their workforce. 

Workplace strategy defined

Workplace strategy is the dynamic alignment of an organisation’s work patterns with the work environment to enable peak performance and reduce costs. The strategy is about understanding your culture, employee motivation, how your employees work, and how they need to work in order to perform better and using this insight to form the basis of your new office design.

The science of workplace strategy is that if done well it really does work! As a result, workplaces are growing in importance in attracting and retaining the best talent and are playing a key role in fostering a company culture.

Elements of design that will influence workplace strategy success

There are multiple elements that can have a positive impact on company performance that can be influenced to help you achieve the established goals derived from your workplace strategy.


Space management is a critical area of design. Modern workplaces should contain a number of work settings that cater for different patterns of work. Have areas for individual work spaces where people can go for privacy and silence allowing them to fully focus on the task in hand, but then have providing areas that facilitate collaboration and socialising.

These could be huddle pods, breakout areas or chill out zones or a mix of all but by putting the autonomy of choice in the hands of your employees you are going to increase productivity, happiness and wellbeing and foster a feeling of community in your office.


Colour in your workplace can be utilised as both a design feature and a strategy to evoke feelings. Colour theory states that different colours have a psychological impact on people and can influence how they feel and act.

Therefore, you should look at the areas of your workplace and think about the character of the space; is it for creativity? Is it a relaxation zone? Or, is it one for focus? Tailor the colour of a space to the feeling that the space should harness.

See our post about how colour influences behaviour in our post for more information.


Temperature is another factor that must be considered in your design to achieve optimum results. Many businesses fail to properly maintain thermal and air conditions due to improper control and insufficient heating and cooling systems. Research shows:

  • When temperatures exceed 25 °C employees ability to perform tasks decreased by a range of 2% to 8%.
  • Low office temperatures (those below 17 °C) are linked to higher levels of dexterity and negatively impacts the ability to function to the optimum standard.

The UK the Health and Safety Executive state that employees should expect temperatures of at least 16°C, we would recommend an optimal, comfortable temperature of between 21°C and 22°C to get the maximum out of your staff.


Access to natural light influences your employees’ stress and energy levels. This is due to the fact that daylight effects the body’s circadian rhythms which are the cycles of sleep and waking hours. Consider having open plan collaborative areas near the perimeter of the building to allow light to pour in and where visual privacy is not needed use glass to allow the continuous influx of light in the office.

Equipment Infrastructure


Patterns of work are changing dramatically with the proliferation of mobile technology. This is making workplaces more dynamic and flexible environments, a key consideration for improving productivity is figuring out how you can harness technology in your office to be an enabler for better working. This means having an effective WiFi network to allow for hotdesking, bring your own device and collaboration.

Provide technology that allows workers to connect and collaborate more effectively in person and virtually. Consider a mix of teleconference, video conference, web conference, instant messaging, social media and other tools to enable different teams to communicate in the way they work most easily.


Provide adjustable furniture such as adjustable chairs, task lights, sit-to-stand desks and keyboard trays, so individuals can adjust their workspaces to meet their needs. To ensure employees are using furniture properly, provide training as needed.

At Building Interiors, we help create working environments underpinned by strategy that help boost productivity and enhance wellbeing, if you are interested in a new workplace from a dedicated and experienced team then contact us today.