Workspace design

Workspace design


Workspace design plays an integral part in employee satisfaction, according to UK-based research agency Leesman. The company has, so far, surveyed over 40 000 staff in the UK and found that only 54% of respondents believe that their workspace enables them to work productively. In addition, 86% of respondents feel that the design of their office is important to them.

Despite this overwhelming research linking office design with employee satisfaction and staff productivity, South African companies are generally not changing their workspaces in line with these findings. So why do businesses across the country continue to be such traditionalists?

According to Peter Townshend, Managing Director of Know More, the research and consultancy arm of workplace specialists Giant Leap, the two main reasons are cost and ignorance.

“There is a tremendous lack of knowledge around workplace effectiveness and staff satisfaction,” says Townshend. “The majority of companies simply do not know how their staff want to work and what spaces they need. Those that do know are scared to make changes to their office design and upgrade their workspaces due to the expense involved. The reality, however, is that if a new office is designed based on in-depth research and analysis, its cost will quickly be recouped with increased productivity, lower absenteeism and lower staff turn-over. A well designed office also increases morale, engagement and pride, which further enhances loyalty and staff productivity.”

This refusal to change is costing South African companies millions of rands, according to Townshend. He goes on to explain that while the way we work is rapidly changing, our workspaces are not keeping pace. One key driver of this change is the rise of knowledge work as the predominant activity in our economy, which has resulted in a class of workers that apply information and knowledge.

“We not only need to design workspaces that enhance the production of those doing knowledge work, but we also need to create spaces that attract knowledge workers. These spaces need to support both focused work and collaboration,” says Townshend.

Know More, says Townshend, was created to research workspace theory and to show companies in South Africa the benefits of changing the way they work and creating effective workspaces.

“Through our research, we have a solid idea of how offices are being created over the world. We’re also starting to get a strong idea about the South African office space climate. We find out as much theory as we can and then combine this with information we gather from our clients. Based on this, we then recommend the best possible workplace design for that particular institution.”

Know More uses a range of data-collection tools, including a workplace satisfaction survey, space optimisation analysis, workshops and interviews, and analysis tools to paint a comprehensive picture of a company’s physical environment.

Know More’s workplace satisfaction analysis is an online survey that provides in-depth information on how satisfied staff are with, as well as how important they consider a range of workplace activities, features and facilities. With this data, Know More can provide a thorough analysis and provide the organisation with firm recommendations on how to best design their offices to increase staff satisfaction.

Says Townshend, “The workplace satisfaction survey is a quick and easy tool to set up and run and yet it is tremendously powerful. It gives us a wealth of data that helps us get a very solid idea of not only how staff are interacting with their current space, but what space will best increase satisfaction and therefore staff productivity.”

Is your staff happy with their workspace design? To find out, and to see the benefits of evidence-based office design, contact Know More on 011 880 1490, email or visit

More information about Know More, division of workplace specialists, Giant Leap

Know who we are and what we believe

Know More is a workplace intelligence company. We believe that an effective work environment makes people happy and happier people work better.

Know what we do

When your business has to perform, you need to see how it is working, measure it, compare it to other factors, find best practice and then improve it. We combine in-depth knowledge of workspace theory and accurate analyses of staff wants and needs, with an empirical evaluation of organizational workflow.

We challenge business processes/operations to bring about positive, possible and profitable change.

Know our services

Our consultants help clients align their physical space and organisational requirements to support their business goals.

To do this, we provide the following services:

•                 Workspace Consultancy

•                 Space utilisation and efficiency analysis

•                 Staff satisfaction analysis (The Leesman Index)

•                 Change management


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