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Thinking Outside of the Cubicle: The Benefits of Innovative Office Design

Author: Melissa K. Smallwood
Date: 2011
Program: Master of Science in Interior Architecture, Chatham University

In today's economic climate, a growing number of companies expect their staff to work longer hours while increasing their productivity. Yet without providing incentives, it is difficult to motivate people to work both longer and harder. An effectual way to accomplish this aim is through innovative workplace design. However, contrary to popular belief, innovative office design does not have to entail niceties and extravagant features found in offices like Google. Innovatively designed spaces should not merely be an indulgence but also serve practical purposes. The results are an environment that is inclusive of all and attainable for business of any size. The advantages of innovative office design are many. Innovative workplaces result in reduced workplace stress, increased job satisfaction, and greater organizational commitment; thus substantiating a clear connection between the design of an office and the well-being of its occupants. In order to provide an empirical framework for the benefits of innovative office design, Kolano Design, a graphic and interior design firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was comprehensively investigated. The three-tiered research involved (a) an interview with management to gain a detailed background of the company, (b) photographed observation to document the office environment, and (c) survey questionnaires to establish employee demographics and job satisfaction levels. The results of the study indicated that innovative office design positively influenced the way that the employees at Kolano Design felt about the company and their jobs. The participants denoted that the incorporation of innovative interior design in the workplace helped to increase their creativity and productivity. The conclusion is that good design is an investment in the most important asset a business has its people. Innovate office design provides employees motivation to do more and to do better confirming that a well-designed space is not only beneficial for employees but for businesses as well.