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The Future of Workspaces: the Workshop

Quick read: we organized a workshop to measure how people chose their workspace. We wanted to know if they choose the workspace by their personal mood or by the task that they want to accomplish. The dynamic of the sessions is based on our work methodology: action (with a strong test and prototyping component), reflection (about what made us chose that space) and sharing (outcomes and experiences between everyone).


The office spaces and collaborative workspaces are still divided up by activities: meeting rooms, individual work areas for focus or meal areas. But do people really prefer doing high-focus work in soundproofed rooms or brainstorming sessions in noisy spaces? Or do we choose the ideal working area in line with our mood, regardless of the work we are going to perform?

To understand how we should organise workspaces to incorporate people into remote and in-person work, we decided to test new ways of organising the space and to prototype new ideas. With this in mind, we involved stakeholders who adopted different post-pandemic working models.

Our goals:

  • Test new ways of organising and thinking about workspaces

  • Prototype new working environments to understand what strengthens the connection of employees to spaces.

  • Provoke and hear reactions, stimulating a discussion about new organisation models for workspaces.

How?

  • By creating scenarios which help us to reflect.

  • Through activities which promoted the creation of solutions in conjunction with stakeholders..

  • By discussing and sharing experiences.


Do we choose cheerful spaces because we are in a good mood, or do we get in a good mood because we choose cheerful spaces?

We wanted to know whether the state of mind or type of work that people had to do on that day was decisive when they chose a working space.

To test out this theory, we constructed 3 spaces with different energy levels: high, neutral and low. We tested the possibility of organising office spaces by energy levels which are more related with the emotional needs of employees during the course of the day instead of creating spaces aimed at defined tasks (for example: meeting room, socialisation space, high-focus space).

We also determined what emotions the participants would feel. We chose 8 positive and negative emotions. These were assigned to participants and the choices during the course of the workshop would be determined by the mood that they felt.

We organised two different activities: one as a team and the other, as individuals. We would like to understand whether the person, with a given emotion assigned, puts the need to complete the team activity before his/her emotional need.

Emotions and spaces

We are not emotionally linear during the course of a working week (nor even during the course of a day!). An interaction with a colleague, a task which appeared without being planned and other personal matters may alter the way we feel.

Whether they are positive or negative emotions (or a combination/variation between both) our perception of space changes in line with the way we feel. The creation of different spaces that allow us to take on board or go against our present state of mind make employees feel that they are being watched and that they can choose where they wish to be.

Dynamic of sessions

Action

This workshop has a strong test and prototyping component. So all the activities proposed have a physical outcome which serves as the basis for shared experiences.

Reflection

We are going to reflect about the way in which we choose a space for working and what personal and external factors are involved in this selection process.

Sharing

We are going to share the outcomes and experiences between everyone to reach conclusions that help us to project workspaces which are healthier and more attractive.

The methodology of this workshop promotes work on small groups focused on the resolution of a common challenge with the sharing of results amongst all participants for joint construction and a comparison of visions and ideas.