PATHFINDER VUE-FILE SYSTEMS 30 Sherwood Lane, Unit 9 Fairfield, New Jersey

800.447.2322

The Revolutionized Workspace (And How Blueprint Storage Rack Factors In)

blueprint storage rack

It’s safe to say that the workspace and the way we view it has changed, thanks to advanced technology, globalization, and a new generation of workers—aka millennials.[1]

We’re realizing that we can’t just throw a bunch of employees into a couple of rooms and expect the same level of productivity.

Which is why we’ve compiled several studies that looks at the revolutionized workspace through a contemporary, critical lens.

Because shockingly twice as many employees are disengaged from their employment…worldwide.[2]

It’s time we find out why and leverage solutions, such as the blueprint storage rack, to boost productivity.

Realizing the Assumption

The corner office is the best place to be.

If you find yourself in that space, you’ve spent years dedicating time, blood, sweat, and tears to that company.

You see, here’s how it goes.

The senior, high-ranking employees are awarded the corner offices with the great skyscraper view.

The rest of the mid-level employees are divvied up into cubicles. Or less prestigious rooms.

As John Vogel points out in a US News article[3], we assume that despite the spacious “prestigious” offices or cramped, boxed-in cubicles, every employee is supposed to churn out the same volume and quality level of work.

What research has shown is quite the opposite.

And puts our hierarchical workspace-salary presumptions into question.

In other words, we’ve got it all backwards.

(Which we’ll show you later…)

More Assumptions: Communal Workspaces Are Questionable

Then, during the 2000s, open, café style offices became popular.

Suddenly, every tech and cutting edge company had the new office communal floorplan.

It seemed great.

Symbolically, these floorplans marked freedom from “stuffy workspace” to “cool, laid back” office environment.[4]

According to the New York Times, organizational psychologist, Matthew Davis found that these types of spaces looked like a nice organization mission.[5]

But, out of the hundreds of spaces he observed, realistically the employees suffered.

Specifically, employees couldn’t concentrate on their work, productivity decreased, as well as creative thinking and workplace satisfaction.[6]

So, what gives?

Why are the new and improved workspaces spelling out catastrophe?

And why is it that in a Gallup poll of 142 countries, the ratio between disengaged to engaged workers is 2:1?[7]

History Repeats Itself

For starters, the “new and improved” workspace really isn’t that new and improved.

The concept of the open office actually originated in Hamburg, Germany in the 1950s.[8]

The thought process behind this was much of what we think of today: no office doors means greater communication and more ideas.

Foucault Proves Us Wrong

Without doors, employees couldn’t control when they wanted privacy or when they wanted to collaborate.

(In a sense, it was always “collaboration time.”)

No privacy and lack of control would create a tenser workplace environment.

Who would be relaxed knowing that their boss could look over their shoulder?

Or a co-worker could casually interrupt at any hour?

We could even go as far to say that this perception of casual workplace surveillance bordered the ponopticon.

(A prison system in which the guards could see the the prisoners, but the prisoners never knew if they were being watched.)

As French philosopher, Foucault said, “He is seen, but he does not see…”[9]

While this may be a little much, what we can say is that employees in open office environments suffered from helplessness[10] — because they had fewer choices.

What the Research Shows

Research shows that our assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth.

Coding War Games

Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister conducted a study where 600 program developers from 92 different companies did a series of coding and testing.[11]

Otherwise known as the Coding War Games.

The developers worked by themselves, and were in charge of logging in their hours.

Shockingly, it wasn’t the developers with more experienced or better pay that performed the best.

Nor was it age or education related.

The results came down to varying workplace environments.

Those that perceived their workspaces as being acceptably quieter and with fewer distractions performed better.

In fact, the ratio between best and worst performances was a whopping 10:1.

And the ratio between best and average was 2:1.

So, in a nutshell, environment matters.

57% of the high performers stated that their workspace was “acceptably quiet.”

62% stated that the office was also “acceptably private.”

Which brings us back to the emphasis on privacy within the office.

Connection Equals Distraction

Gensler surveyed a random sample of 2,035 workers across the US about their workspace.

The poll revealed that only a startling 25% of workers in the U.S. work in an “optimal” environment.[12]

That means that 75% of workers are fighting disengagement, poor productivity, and probably don’t enjoy work that much.

Also, the study found that focus, balance, and choice in the workplace lead to greater satisfaction, performance, and innovation.[13]

And, that the design of the office helps to make this happen.

The study goes on to state that the workplace should be designed to encourage collaboration, however ensuring the employees can focus at the same time.[14]

Perhaps here’s why twice as many workers aren’t engaged

A study by Steelcase, polling 10,500 workers across 14 countries (France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Russia, Turkey, United States, Canada, Mexico, India, and China) held some promising insight.

Here are the reasons why the highly disengaged workers aren’t running to go to work:[15]

  • 85% cite not being able to concentrate
  • 84% can’t express their ideas freely and ideally in their offices
  • 85% don’t feel relaxed
  • 57% can’t physically move during the day or switch in another posture
  • 79% of the environments don’t accommodate mobile workers
  • 84% don’t feel like they belong
  • 87% can’t work in teams without being interrupted
  • 86% can’t choose where to work in the office
  • 59% aren’t able to move around that freely
  • 65% don’t think their environments will allow them to socialize, and have an informal conversation with one of their co-workers

What We’re Getting at With the Studies and False Assumptions

The studies may differ in the details, but overall it comes down to choice.

The choice to open or close your door.

The choice to increase or decrease the office noise.

(In fact, in the Gensler study, 42% of employees use makeshift contraptions to block out distractions — noise being one of them.)[16]

The choice to get up and move, and work in other areas — whether that’s home, a café, or another area of the office.

Choice

By creating a work environment based on choice, there’s a good chance turnover will decrease and performance will grow.

It makes sense, given that each employee offers a different set of skills, and works best in different settings.

16% of employees said they focus the best at home.[17]

And 77% of workers prefer no noise when they need to buckle down and focus.[18]

Plus, listening to music can release dopamine, which eases stress.[19]

So why not give employees the option of plugging their headphones in?

Another Choice: Consider Blueprint Storage Rack

Let’s repeat: 57% say that their work environment prevents them from moving or switching postures throughout the day.

With the hike in office rent prices, there may not be an option to create more space for employees.

Instead, business owners can still make the most with the available space that they have and give employees the choice of moving around.

(Again, it’s all about choice.)

How?

Simple. Hang up files, drawings, and blueprints in a blueprint storage rack.

Plus, there’ll be less clutter, leading to greater productivity.

Miss something? How About a Summary?

  • Throwing a bunch of employees into office rooms won’t increase productivity; it takes more than that
  • This thought process stemmed from our (false) assumption that productivity would stay the same despite the environment
  • We also assumed the (innovative) communal workspace was the best
  • Actually, it wasn’t new or innovative
  • The no-door, open office workspace originated in Germany during the 1950s
  • However employees in this type of environment lacked control and privacy, making this an non-ideal space
  • Research shows our assumptions are backwards
  • The Coding War Games study revealed that noisy environments lead to lower work performance
  • The Gensler study illustrated that 75% of workers across the US aren’t working in the optimal environment
  • And a Steelcase study showed that more than half of employees feel that their work environment doesn’t allow them to move or change postures
  • What it comes down to is choice
  • One way business owners can give their employees choice is by incorporating the blueprint storage rack, which will maximize not just choice, but space and productivity

Interested in the blueprint storage rack? Contact us!

________________________________

[1] Gensler: 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey

[2] Steelcase: Boosting Employee Engagement

[3] U.S. News: Is the Corner Office Worth It?

[4] The New Yorker: The Open-Office Trap

[5] The New Yorker: The Open-Office Trap

[6] The New Yorker: The Open-Office Trap

[7] Steelcase: Boosting Employee Engagement

[8] The New Yorker: The Open-Office Trap

[9] The Guardian: What does the panopticon mean in the age of digial surveillance?

[10] The New Yorker: The Open-Office Trap

[11] US News: Is The Corner Office Worth It?

[12] Gensler: 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey

[13] Gensler: 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey

[14] Gensler: 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey

[15] Steelcase: Boosting Employee Engagement

[16] Gensler: 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey

[17] Gensler: 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey

[18] Gensler: 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey

[19] The New York Times: The Power of Music, Tapped in a Cubicle