In a recent conversation between Architect Vistasp Bhagwagar, co-founder-AVA, and workplace strategist Sibani Sarma from Idream, the importance of design in creating employee-centric workplaces that promote positivity, was discussed. Moon Talukdar, Associate Director – Bristol Furniture, joined in the conversation to ask Bhagwagar a key question. Watch the video here.
This is from a series of conversations titled ‘Reframe’, presented by Bristol Furniture, that explores various facets of a shift in organisations thinking towards becoming employee centric from decades of being employer centricity. There are various facets of being employee centric and Reframe, through each videographed episode, captures some of these. Reframe is about looking at employees as the fulcrum of an organisation’s growth.
Bhagwagar highlighted the shift towards a more people-centric approach and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on redefining workspace needs. The following paragraphs summarizes the key points from their conversation, emphasizing the role of design in enhancing employee engagement, productivity, and a sense of purpose at the workplace.
Shift towards Employee-Centric Design:
The conversation began with Bhagwagar discussing the importance of making every project count and attaching value to every seat and space. The focus has shifted from the traditional “we” to the more individual-centric “me” approach. This change in mindset reflects a growing emphasis on human-centric design and creating a positive employee experience.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Reversed:
Bhagwagar shared insights from his book, “Positivity @ the Workplace,” where he explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people view their needs. He argued that post-pandemic, self-actualization has become a given, and people now seek physical spaces that not only meet their needs but also surpass them. The traditional hierarchy of needs has been reversed, placing greater importance on the individual’s well-being and sense of purpose.
Measuring Productivity and Positivity:
The discussion moved on to measuring productivity and positivity in the workplace, a challenging task, especially for knowledge workers. Bhagwagar emphasized the need for versatile workspaces in hybrid environments, offering diverse experiences and possibilities for collaboration. In conventional offices, attendance and the fear of missing out were highlighted as indicators of productivity and positivity.
Designing for Employee Engagement and Purpose:
The conversation delved into how design can facilitate employee engagement, productivity, and a sense of purpose. Bhagwagar stressed the importance of creating versatile and vibrant spaces that cater to individual needs and corporate identity. Engaging clients in meaningful discussions and embracing a more residential design approach were identified as key factors in achieving employee-centricity.
Designing Experiential Spaces:
Bhagwagar and Sarma discussed the experiential nature of design and the need to go beyond cosmetic aesthetics. Bhagwagar highlighted the significance of biophilic design and the increasing demand for incorporating nature into workspaces. Designing spaces with personality, vibrancy, and versatility can foster employee happiness, engagement, and productivity.
Challenges and Future Trends:
The conversation acknowledged the challenges faced by designers, such as ensuring spaces are used as intended and maintaining continuity in design vision amid changes in leadership. Bhagwagar emphasized the need for ongoing collaboration between architects and clients to address evolving workspace requirements and create sustainable, employee-centric environments.
Positivity plays a vital role as a driver in shaping employee-centric workspaces. By focusing on individual needs, versatile spaces, and vibrant environments, organizations can foster employee engagement, productivity, and a sense of purpose. The conversation between Bhagwagar and Sarma highlights the importance of design in creating positive workplace experiences and calls for ongoing collaboration to adapt to changing trends and requirements. Ultimately, employee-centric design is essential for organizations to thrive in the modern work landscape.
Watch the video of the entire conversation here.