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How does Workspace Design Influence Employee Experience?

A management scientist, Frederick Herzberg formulated a two-factor theory that was way ahead of its time and perfectly encapsulated what governs employee engagement and experience with respect to workspace design.

He categorized the factors that affect employee experience into two heads- Hygiene and Motivators. By this, he quashed the normative understanding of employee behavior, which stated that monetary compensation is majorly responsible for how interested an employee is in his work.

Under Hygiene Factors he listed the bare minimum aspects of a workplace whose absence reduced satisfaction levels of employees but their presence didn’t induce positive motivation in them. They were a clean working environment, the appropriate level of pay and conditions for the job, and good staff treatment.

Motivating Factors/ Motivators are those qualities of a workplace that increase employee engagement, motivate them, and enhance their experience. These factors were the enjoyment of the job, career progression, and a sense of achievement.

In the current environment, attrition is increasing rapidly and the main reason for it is the fact that employees are not connected to the work they do and thus do not engage in the workplace. Around 1/3rd of all workers across 17 of the world’s most important economies are disengaged and that is hurting business. There are numerous measures to counter this issue and increase enhancement but what we are going to focus on is – Workplace Design. Herzberg was aware of the massive impact workplace design has on employee experience and listed it as one of the motivating factors, a part of the workplace dynamic that has a significant impact on employee engagement and satisfaction.

Workspace design is often overlooked and sometimes omitted from discussions and measures to improve employee satisfaction. Multiple pieces of research and anecdotal evidence suggest that the level of control an employee has over his physical workspace- access to private spaces, no restriction regarding work style and seamless transition from focused work to collaborative work directly correlates to his engagement and satisfaction.

Explore Exotic Innovation’s Human-centric Workspace design – Case Studies


Employees who are highly satisfied with their workplace are the ones who are most engaged. This is because they have a sense of control, they aren’t confined to a cubicle with a desktop and a landline. Workspace design should facilitate frequent movements from and to workstations in order to maintain the workers’ health. Time and again, Medical Research has shown that frequent breaks and physical movements are necessary for better decision making and to let those creative juices flow. Additionally, the workplace should have separate areas designated for focused work, team discussions, presentations, and social interactions. This will inculcate a mindset in employees and prevent multitasking which has been proven to be ineffective.

Workspace Design should be such that employees feel comfortable in it. They shouldn’t hesitate to be themselves and perform work as per their own style. Cozy corners with an acoustic soundproof environment should be installed for uninterrupted focus work, contrary to tradition, the company CEO shouldn’t be the one with the largest office and a secretary outside, spaces should be reserved where employees can unwind and form informal groups.

The physical surroundings can shape employee behaviors, feelings, and attitudes towards their employer and experiences at work. To maximize performance, organizations must think about the workplace as an ecosystem of spaces that allow people to have choice and control over where and how they work. Only then will they feel fully supported and able to perform at their best.

Offices are a second home to people and in the era where most of them hate their jobs, workplace design has a positive influence and huge potential to impact their well-being and job satisfaction. The present and future hold successful companies considering consultation from professional workspace designers.

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Check out the recent blog on “Why work from an office (WFO) has to be reinstated?

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