We at SIGNAL have collected statements and key areas from top managers in Danish business through our projects for 11 years now. They all have more or less the same answers when we ask them why they want to change the physical space.
Earlier on, a typical answer would have had to do with the need for either more or fewer m2. Of course it is still an existing and very relevant reason to make a service check on space – but today the answer is followed by more reasons. All the top managers share the wish:
- To go from personally owned and customised areas to more flexible and joint areas
- To go from fixed working routines to activity-based, dynamic work
- To go from a functionally specified use of space to a shared use of space
- To go from individual work to team-based interdisciplinary work – where network cultures are supported and encouraged through the design of the physical space
- To create an environment where visible management and transparency in decision making processes is supported by the behaviour and encouraged by the design of the physical space
- To create an environment where monotonous routines and fixed roles are challenged and replaced by new ones – and where space is used as a training field for this
- To go from undisguised static architecture to a physical space that encourages new roles and behaviour, and ideally creates well-being among people
- To create an environment that encourages interaction as well as independence and at the same time is flexible when it comes to future changes in the organisation
- And last, but not least, to create an environment that uses fewer m2 more wisely.
So today’s top managers connect space with the wish to establish flexible // creative // versatile // activity-based working- and learning environments – perhaps recognising that knowledge sharing, creativity, and innovation cannot be required, but only encouraged. And that it results in special demands to the design of space in transformation! As a metaphor for a physical building structure, we could maybe think of it as a cooperative building – or a cooperative architecture?
There is a clear tendency for top managers to perceive the physical environment as a brilliant tool to support an organisation’s strategic and organisational business development. And the many projects we have carried out in SIGNAL leave no doubt: Strategic design of space increases the organisation’s performance and the employees’ well-being.