Rethinking our Workplace Design

Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun Sprinkles Her Magic

Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun, a vibrant Director and Experience Designer, has worked across the globe designing modern offices to internal concert tours. This innovative powerhouse knows how to build and design a space that fosters creativity, productivity, passion, and enjoyment; which is why she has caught our eyes. Touching down last week in Australia, Ben Hayoun spoke in Sydney delivering her experience to employers wanting to know how to make their workplaces happier, safer, more productive, and friendlier to their staff. In a recent article published in the Sydney Morning Herald and written by Anna Patty, Ben Hayoun discusses how the environment of a work space has impacts on creativity, productivity, staff satisfaction, and retention. One of Ben Hayoun’s key points is that an ordinary or dull working environment will have negative productivity impacts across employees. In particular, Ben Hayoun notes that “the more disciplinary … the work practice … the more innovative I would be.” This is an interesting point, and shakes up traditional approaches to the industries we view as more rigid like Financial Services and Legal, where popular perception centres around a serious corporate environment and professional stoicism. With an extensive list of awards substantiating her methods of space design, we would love to see what Ben Hayoun comes up with in the next few years and will be watching her career with anticipation.

Nelly Ben Hayon, taken with thanks from her website

Further in her interview with Ben Hayoun, Patty discusses the idea of throwing bean bags at an office to magically inspire a creative and cool corporate culture, the thinking being that if Google does it, it must be good. Patty points out that to effectively instigate cultural shifts within the workplace, managers need to apply nuance and not cookie cut an external model that does not necessarily mesh with their teams. At a surface level, the idea of ‘edgy’ quick and easy approaches to office environments, like inclusion of bean bags, might be appealing and fun, but will it really create solutions rather than problems? There is an ergonomic risk to consistent use of bean bags as a work station, and if the culture has shifted to more informal structures, staff may be reluctant to limit their use of their new toys, creating a gap in safety for managers. On the other hand, any staff with poor backs or other injuries will be unlikely to go want to use unsupported seating, opening a division between who can meet where and creating a barrier. Instead, by consulting with the team about their needs, preferences,  desired changes, and desired continuities, managers can create a working environment that caters to everyone. The focus on consulting with staff about their needs demonstrates the employers interest in their staff and improves morale, rather than prescribing company wide solutions to problems that potentially only some staff face and at times can feel forced for the purpose of ‘looking creative’ or modern. This is where we light up with excitement, and where we would love to help.

To Productivity Matters, this is our kind of challenge. We are passionate about creating healthy, safe, and productive workforces, and we understand that this requires a balance of cultural approaches, sensory styles and ergonomic application.