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How Office Design Promotes Culture

Diving into productivity-driven, team-based, and adhocratic office environments.

Kyle Chandler

Client Relations

At DESIGN+BUILD, we spend a lot of time talking and thinking about promoting a client’s organizational culture with thoughtful office design. Elements like interior design, architecture, furniture, and color palettes can directly affect productivity and how your team works. That’s because your office layout and choices are a reflection of your organizational priorities and values.

In this post, we’ll look at several corporate cultures you can use office design to promote and the design strategies that align with each.

The Productivity-Driven Workplace

The productivity-driven workplace espouses traditional hierarchical corporate values. The main objectives of a productivity-driven workplace are efficiency, consistency, and predictable outputs. Responsibilities and authority are divided throughout the organization to prioritize accountability and standardization.

Productivity-driven workplaces typically benefit from a fixed work environment where employees are assigned a desk to complete tasks. Because organizations that prioritize productivity need accountability at every level, knowing exactly where employees should be at specific times is essential to the success of projects. In addition, because communications are typically conveyed bureaucratically, fixed office spaces also ensure that information is shared on a need-to-know basis.

In productivity-centric offices, employee workspaces are typically divided into cubicles, with employees collaborating in traditional spaces like conference rooms and break rooms. At the same time, office design is typically minimal to keep employees focused on the task at hand.

The Team-Based Workplace

In a team-based workplace, employees strive to build a sense of togetherness. In contrast to a hierarchical culture, managers try to empower their employees with self-management strategies while facilitating collaboration. At the same time, a team environment offers employees the flexibility to complete tasks as they see fit to find better ways of refining processes and workflows.

If your organization wants to develop a team-based workspace, you need to implement design strategies that allow for flexibility. This typically means large open spaces with few walls, wheeled desks, shared collaboration spaces, and smaller focus-oriented spaces for individualized tasks. At the same time, an open layout can help encourage team members to move throughout the office and figure out the best ways to use space for their workflows.

The Adhocratic Office Environment

An adhocratic organization moves away from hierarchy and is the direction more companies are moving toward to adapt to an ever-turbulent business landscape. Adhocratic strategies excel at agility and responsiveness to challenges. That’s because instead of micromanaging an employee’s day-to-day tasks, adhocratic managers prioritize entrepreneurship, creativity, and activity. Without centralized power or an authoritative relationship, power fluxes between employees and teams, depending on the problem or project that’s being tackled.

Along with fixed hierarchies, adhocratic office space may eschew desks altogether. Instead, comfortable furniture, informal meeting spaces, and open areas can better serve an adhocratic organization’s needs. The more open space, the better because teams will have the ability to adapt workspaces to ever-changing projects and tasks. Breakout spaces create a playful environment that allows teams to take a break from work, so they can return with a refreshed perspective to tackle new challenges.

Schedule Your Free Workspace Audit

Thoughtful office design begins by understanding where you’re at right now: what your office space is doing effectively, along with how it’s underserving your organization’s needs and goals. Chances are, your organization falls somewhere in between these organizational cultures.

At DESIGN+BUILD, we help you assess your organizational priorities and goals so that we can explore and deploy open office space strategies optimized for your needs. Contact us today to schedule your free workspace audit, and we’ll start exploring the possibilities for your future.

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