Small Changes in Physical Design Make a Big Difference

June 18, 2019 by Tina Žagar

The physical design of the workspace matters. Details, such as office layout, wall colors and decorations, types of desks, meeting corners for informal exchange of information and knowledge sharing, can significantly contribute to increased productivity, creativity, employee engagement and their well-being. When taking into consideration also the fact that we spend almost a third of our lives at the office, the question of quality workspace design becomes even more important.

Understanding the importance of the physical design of the workspace has recently also inspired colleagues at the Slovene Ministry of Finance to undertake several simple yet very effective initiatives aimed at turning their workspace into a welcoming and pleasant work environment. While designing the perfect workspace can be expensive and time-consuming, the Ministry of Finance staff has proved that adding something just a little less corporate to the working environment helps improve positivity and happiness among employees.

 

The display of amazing photos taken by a staff member and inspirational quotes along the staircase now catch one's attention when visiting the building of the Slovene Ministry of Finance and injects curiosity and fun into climbing the stairs. Having agreed that different departments across the ministry will periodically make sure that these inspirational messages get changed also encourages team work and good conversations. The introduction of blue corners has positively influenced also informal interactions, giving the staff the opportunity to meet colleagues with whom they might otherwise not have the chance to talk to. Apart from being the area to relax and take a break from work, these corners encourage the staff to share suggestions for improvements on work-related matters discretely.

The next step includes creating an area where the Ministry’s staff and visitors will be able to meet and network. The idea behind setting up such an area lies in stimulating knowledge sharing culture among the staff and help open and increase knowledge flows within the Ministry, leading to a better internal cooperation within and across the departments. As part of our efforts to support institutions in becoming learning organizations and knowledge hubs in their own right, the CEF is happy to contribute some of its own furniture that will serve the purpose.