The Human-Centric Approach to Workplace Design

The concept of workplaces are evolving and the need for change is crucial. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace report, only 15% of full time working employees are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. How do we improve workplace productivity and engagement? By taking a human-centric approach towards workplace design, it can help create a workplace that allows the end user to engage.


Observation is a major part in understanding the human-centric workplace approach. Although this process is time-consuming, it will capture the aspects of work and culture which is not measurable through surveying. This approach was used by Callison architecture during the 1990s when designing the Eddie Bauer headquarters office. According to a feature from IIDA, Callison architecture team stayed in their client’s office for three weeks to get into the character of what their employees needed.



In this phase, it is important to develop ideas that can enhance the workplace, whether it is generating more open space, adding modular furniture or including nature and greenery in the office. A study from Cardiff University reveals that biophilic elements in the office can reduce absenteeism, improve well-being and increase productivity.


When implementing human-centric designs towards the workplace, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of increasing an employee’s well-being and productivity. Technology will have a great impact on this perspective. San Diego’s Secure Smart Office is creating an AI-controlled office that adapts accordingly to individual preferences, from automatically adjusting light and temperature to chair height.

It is important for leaders to recognize that one size does not fit all and there is no perfect ratio between open and private spaces in workplace design. What needs to be taken into consideration is the human aspect of individuals and their needs within the organization.

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