What Can the Classroom Teach Us About Efficient Workplace Design?

Learning environment

The best environments in which to learn are also the ones in which we are most productive. With this in mind, for more efficient workspace design, should business centre operators take a closer look at the classroom?

This infographic by PodSpace makes the case for correlation between learning and working.

Based on the findings of a JISC report, which looks at the effects a student’s surroundings can have on learning, the infographic focuses on the advantages of creative space which enables learning without boundaries. These spaces, which are immersive in nature and aided by technology, are seen as more conducive to productivity.

As the workspace world well knows, that is a boon not just for learning environments, but for commercial ones too.

Take a look at the advice of JISC – an organisation focused on helping Higher Education sectors to operate more effectively. While they may not be an expert within the field of business centre dynamics, this alternative angle shares the same objective – that of creating stimulating environments to enhance productivity.

In its infographic, PodSpace neatly summarises the key elements and offers a number of parallel points that could help workspace operators to re-think their space:

– The Right Tools: Students need certain ‘essentials’ to get the job done such as a place to sit and work, whiteboards, and technology. While every business centre offers essentials such as furniture and lighting as standard, a more prudent approach might be how to transform these everyday essentials into tools that aid stimulation.

For instance, how can you improve your lighting to enhance the working environment? Why stop at white walls when motivational posters or wall art could transform the space? Could you revitalise the standard desk-and-chair combo with new ergonomic seating, or even adjustable height desks?

– Colour Me Happy: We’ve discussed the topic of decorative spaces before, and the merits of wall colour to aid productivity. But what if you could focus on the colour of your furniture instead?

As far as stimulation goes, the infographic refers to yellow chairs as “lively” and red furniture as “warming and comforting”. This may be true, but there’s also the question of branding – not to mention personal taste. A client with bold blue branding may balk at a serviced office filled with green furniture – yet it could be the perfect fit for a client with sustainable interests.

Some operators do allow clients to make the choice themselves, complete with furniture and decor. But flexibility can only go so far on a short lease – and where do you draw the line?

– Workplace Design: Creative learning spaces should be spacious, not sparse, yet free from clutter. In education, just like in workspace, large open-plan environments are commonplace. And yet, the best learning spaces also have smaller secluded spaces hidden away for quiet revision or distraction-free reading.

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While few serviced office suites have the capacity for their own private spaces, it’s not uncommon for workers to seek out quieter areas – perhaps for sensitive phone calls, or to work through a document without interruptions. While some may knuckle down in a quiet corner of the cafe, the obvious choice is a private meeting room.

This begs the question, how visible is your meeting room availability? Do you offer the choice to reserve a meeting room online? Do clients have instant access to availability and pricing? Essentially the more barriers you remove, the easier it is for clients to make better use of your amenities – and for you to make the most of this valuable resource.

Food for thought, no less. Above all, there are no bounds to learning – and for workspace operators with a thirst for education, many lessons can be acquired by taking a closer look at the environments in which we learn.

For further reading, take a look at this study by Carole C. Wedge and Thomas D. Kearns – ‘Creation of the Learning Space’.

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