Human Centered Design For The Human Centered Office - Kelly Colon & Jan Johnson

The idea below is one of many ideas from our 2023 Occupant Experience Ideabook (which you can download here). Today's idea comes from AllSteel's Kelly Colon, Senior Workplace Advisor and Workplace Collective, LLC's Jan Johnson, Principal. They discuss how reshaping our minds can transform the workplace into an environment that is beneficial for everyone.

Kelly Colon, Senior Workplace Advisor, AllSteel

Jan Johnson, Principal, Workplace Collective

“No longer will it be enough to simply create a workplace and demand prescribed attendance and usage without understanding the needs of employees…”

For decades most employees and employers took the office for granted. We created centralized places we navigated in highly predictable ways, showing up during a prescribed set of hours and during a defined number of days. We assumed we would usually see our colleagues – without focusing on why this was important. We gave little thought to nor did we question why a physical centralized location was the societal norm – we simply showed up and learned “how we do things there.”

It’s obvious now that these antiquated and outdated workplace models and expectations are inefficient, performative, bastions of quiet quitting, and clearly focused on the wrong things.

By intentionally reshaping our assumptions, intentions, behaviors, and the design process itself to be more equitable, empathic, authentic, mutually supportive and trusting, we will help bridge the gap between what employees want and employers provide and transform our physical workplaces.

The power of a human-centered workplace design includes both a design philosophy and a design process that keeps people, their activities, and behaviors as the central focus; and involves them in solutioning. This iterative process is about persistent engagement and proactive, iterative ideation and accommodation, and not highhanded prescription.

By keeping the lived experiences of our employees as the central focus in this design process, it inspires organizations to build intentional and nuanced workplace solutions designed to nurture those employees and optimize the work they do.

Employees who feel connected to the process and empowered to drive solutions designed with their teams’ and employees’ insights and ideas feel a greater sense of connection to their organizations, their colleagues, and their teams -- resulting in strengthening social cohesion and all the benefits it confers. Originally posted on Workplace Design Magazine.

To read more ideas from the 2023 Occupant Experience Ideabook, download here.

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