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The design of a functional workplace is based on its users

Post-it notes of all colours cover the conference room wall. On the notes, employees have written where they work in the office during the day This is Martela’s workshop that addresses the changing workplace.

 “The workplace specification process begins with people’s ways of working. Various workshops are a great way of identifying these,” says Eeva Terävä, Martela’s Workplace Consultant.

Each workplace has its unique culture. This is created together by individuals, operating methods, and the industry rules. The specification workshop determines the ways of working within the organization.

 “In the past, workplace designers required much less detailed information of each location. This was because offices mainly consisted of identical workstations and meeting rooms. This is not the way to design a user-oriented workplace, because a modern office must accommodate the specific kind of work done there,” says Terävä of the changes in designers’ work.

Workshops are useful in managing change

People spend a lot of time at work, so modifications to the workplace can easily stir strong feelings. During the workshop, employees consider their workplace from their own and other people’s perspective. This helps individuals understand needs and preferences that are different from their own.

In Martela’s workshops, employees also analyse whether there are different ways of doing the same tasks.

 “This helps workers understand their workplace as a whole. They understand that there could be other ways of doing their job. This is true for all staff, including managers,” Terävä says.

From the perspective of change management, workshops are a means of creating commitment. Based on the feedback Martela receives, managers and other staff are all pleased with the participatory workshops.

 “People want to take part because most of them are interested in their workplace. During the workshop, even those with the strongest prejudices start to understand the reasons behind the change. This makes it easier for them to embrace it,” Terävä explains. 

Martela’s workshops

In the specification workshop, information is collected and the workers are involved in the changes that are being made. They also learn about the new opportunities relating to working. The workshop is used to find ways of improving the working efficiency and wellbeing at work. It also supports management of change. Martela’s workplace specialist uses the information collected during the workshop for preparing a workplace specification report and space use plan.

In the design workshop, users are involved in the planning. Various oral and visual group work tasks allow users to develop new ways of working and to find the activity-based office solutions that provide the best support for these. Martela’s interior designer uses the information collected during the workshop in the workplace planning.

In the implementation workshop, different user groups work together to develop joint practices for the new premises. The workshop helps everyone to commit to the new working methods and practices.

Read more about Martela workshops

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