11 Mar, 2019 | Written by Premis

Boosting Employee Engagement Through ‘Functional Inconvenience’

I hear you ask what is functional inconvenience?  

In a nutshell it’s about designing your workplace to encourage interactions with your colleagues.

How it works is by drastically changing the traditional office, with lifts replaced by central staircases and atriums, seating arrangements based on project teams rather than departments, and employees forced to take roundabout routes to access amenities.  These changes force staff to get out of their seats and travel beyond their immediate work area throughout their day, encouraging them to bump into and communicate with colleagues who they may not typically interact with.

Here’s some ‘inconvenient’ ideas on how you can shake up your office design, and ultimately end up with a more engaged workforce.

Dividing Office Seating Into Teams

Typical workplace seating arrangements sees staff divided up based on departmental lines.  In larger organisations this can result in entire floors – or even buildings – comprising staff from the one department. 

Through ‘functional inconvenience’ employees are divided into groups based on project areas, mixing staff from different departments.  This means that they work as part of a team – regardless of department – towards the one goal.  They will also need to travel to other sections of the office to meet with their colleagues from their own department.

Making Staircases and Atriums the Centrepiece of the Office

Central staircases are becoming the feature of many new offices, creating a visual and physical connection across multiple floors within a workplace.  Escalators are replacing lifts to help bring people together.  These escalators and staircases typically lead to an atrium or “town square” that all employees must pass through to get into and out of the building, leading to further social interactions.

Adding Distance to Get to Key 'Destinations' Within the office

Instead of adding additional amenities in new offices, many organisations are reducing the number of facilities to create larger, centralised destinations for employees to utilise and interact with a broader range of colleagues. 

These amenities – such as kitchens and coffee stations - are often placed in the most distant locations in the office from people’s workspaces, taking inspiration from department stores who compel customers to take the longest route to complete their shopping.

Contact Us

Are you considering a new interior fitout for your workplace?  Contact the Premis team on 1300 773 647 or take a look at some of our commercial interior fitout projects for some inspiration.

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