Sylwia Pędzińska Opinion about: One office – many needs

Two different personality types in one work place – how to reconcile needs of introverts and extraverts? read full article >

While designing a new office for Colliers International located in Metropolitan, we took different personality types of people employed in our company into consideration. These types are related to a certain kind of work which is performed by them. We were concentrated on distinction concerning needs of particular groups performing a given type of work. For instance, people engaged in sales are often extraverts, open for contact with other people – in fact, they crave it. On the other hand, employees engaged in finances and property appraisal are usually introverts who consider loud surrounding and constant contact with other people distracting and less desirable.

 

Division of office into quiet and loud work zones has its justification. Not all people work the same. Creation of a uniform space for the whole team will not certainly satisfy all needs. Nobody cared about it in the past. Nowadays, we realize how important it is to adjust the office to the needs of employees and how great are the profits resulting from it. Introverts do not need a lot of impulses, they work more effectively when they are provided with proper conditions. Extraverts, in turn, draw inspiration from contact with other people which is an occasion to creation of non-standard ideas and innovative solutions. By taking care about a good well-being of our employees, we are aware that we do all our best so that people with different personality types could be satisfied with their work.

 

Before we started to change the arrangement of office space in Colliers, some research was needed in order to show how different our office is in comparison to the real needs of the company and what exactly people with different personality types expect from us. The research was conducted three-pronged. Firstly, we conducted an internal survey among employees and we asked about their perception of work. The next stage consisted in intensive observation of employees, the way of realization of tasks, time actually spent at desk and away from an assigned work post, level of interaction with other employees, per cent of individual work in isolation. The last stage of research was workshops with our employees. We confronted the results of the survey and conclusions from the observation. The appointed group of people took part in it. They represented particular departments of the company and the teams were not accidental. They were divided into extraverts and introverts because the opinions of both group were equally important for us. The workshops were a place where we discussed the results of the conducted survey, explained differences between imagination of certain people about the way of their work and observed realities. Moreover, we listened to the ideas of employees about the arrangement of the new office. On the basis of the results and common arrangements we were able to create a plan of a new space.

 

It is worth emphasizing that designing of office space is a made-to-measure service. The reproduction of solutions applied by others – without earlier research and taking needs and plans of a certain organization into account – will not bring expected results. And one more thing – no force is needed. If a certain idea does not meet acceptance of all employees, we should not force them to adjust. We have such an example in our own office. In our new arrangement we resigned from individual rooms for partners in order to arrange only one and common place, so called partner room. Although the idea was initially controversial, it was accepted by the majority of our team with the exception of two introverts who decided to stay in separate cabinets because they are more concentrated in silence and isolation. This example shows how flexible one should be in arrangement of office area.  

 


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