And the Survey Says….
Research shows that people are better at conceptual thinking under high ceilings and better at decision making and execution under lower ceilings. Think furniture stores where you can imagine your entire house with new furniture under high ceilings and then are guided to a counter under dropped lights or lowered ceiling alcove to select the fabric for the sofa and sign the purchase agreement. What does that mean for office design? Different job descriptions? Different tasks? Different departments?
Research shows that you are significantly more likely to launch a social relationship with a stranger each time that you run into that same person in the same place. Research also shows that “I have a friend at work” can be a component in retention. What if you created an area in the office that allowed for people to run into strangers and have a few moments of waiting that might encourage connections across departments.
Research shows that people build trust more quickly with members of their own tribe and that they recognize members primarily through visual cues including the physical environment. When someone is waiting in your lobby, a new hire or important customer, they are already deciding if they will trust you, if you are a member of their tribe. Your furniture, paint colors, light fixtures, and style are setting the trust baseline before you ever walk in the room.
Research shows that people have less stress when viewing either real or fake plants and that people perform better and more consistently with lowered stress. Check out this combination of wallpaper and real plants in the PCA Skin cafe. Since they moved into the new space, sales are up, retention is up, global distributorships are up, absenteeism is down, training times are down…I’m not saying it is just the wall paper but every little bit helps.
There was a TV show that was popular from 1976-1985 called Family Feud. In it, there would be two teams made up of family members. The teams would guess the most popular answer to a survey of 100 people. Then the host Rick Dawson(that guy from Hogan’s Heros) would call out in his slightly British accent, “and the survey says”, revealing the response to the cheers or jeers of the audience depending on how well the team had guessed. Office design today follows the same (lack of) strategy. The CEO or facilities manager or designer likes blue and so the office is blue. The leadership team reads a great article on open offices in the Wall Street Journal and suddenly the plan is to rip out all of the cubicles. It sounds great and the family around them are jumping up and down all excited waiting for the annual report and its actual performance based numbers to reveal….”and the survey says”…