Workplace designs should focus on improving productivity and employee satisfaction. Today there is a renewed focus on creating flexible, or agile offices, that feature a variety of work zones and accommodate the five major personality types and allow employees to change their environment in relation to the task they are performing.
Workplace design is complicated by the fact that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Furthermore, one source says there is insufficient evidence to show different personality types respond differently to the office environment in terms of distraction, job satisfaction and performance.
However, other studies have found the environment can impact performance and job satisfaction in employees that are performing specific activities. Common sense and personal experience confirms this is a true reflection of workplace environments.
Ultimately, it is regarded that different personality types have preferred ways of working. Whilst some people thrive in open-plan offices, others prefer single space offices.
However, to design offices that accommodate an entire workforce, it is important to understand the various personality types because we adopt qualities of each type depending on the type of task we are performing.
ACTIVITY-BASED WORKING AND PERSONALITY TYPES
Attempting to design an office that enables every personality to thrive is impossible using traditional methods. The conception of activity-based working, on the other hand, creates a variety of work settings that supports the needs of individuals when they need it.
In effect, ABW is a people-centred office design which fits into the agile office model. It accommodates the fluctuation of workflows but also delivers personal preferences that are influenced by personality traits.
Extraversion deals with the extrovert vs introvert conundrum. Whilst the former thrive in collaborative spaces, the latter perform better in quiet environments where they have a place to think.
In the current paradigm, it is extraversion that is mostly dictating office design. The agile office, for example, encourages dynamic interactions between extroverts to brainstorm, discuss and innovate whilst accommodating introverts in quiets nooks.
Creating spaces with extraversion in mind will form the basis of modern office designs. However, in-between spaces are also required to accommodate conscientious workers and neurotics.
AGREEABLE, OPEN AND CONSCIENTIOUS PERSONALITY TYPES
Individuals that are agreeable are, quite clearly, the easiest to please. However, because this personality type is co-operative and encourages social harmony, they are more susceptible to distraction in open-plan spaces.
Agreeable personality types are typically ambivert and fall somewhere in the middle of extroverts and introverts. They adapt easily, feel at ease with social interaction but also want quiet spaces where they can focus, rejuvenate and refresh.
Individuals that are open to experience, on the other hand, enjoy variety and change. They thrive in a flexible working space and tend to be more imaginative and creative.
NEUROTIC PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE
Neurotics are very sensitive to environmental stimuli. Bright colours, high noise levels, busy spaces overwhelm the senses and impair cognitive function. When the senses of neurotics are overloaded, it invites stress and negatively impacts performance.
Employees with neuroticism need a balanced environment where they can have their own space but speak to co-workers they feel comfortable with. Enclaves, private rooms and cosy lounge corners are ideal for neurotics.
Like introverts, neurotics need to be encouraged to seek out places that enable them to focus and perform at their productive best. The conscientious neurotic will not let you down.
WORKSPACE DESIGNS SHOULD CONSIDER SPATIAL DENSITY
When considering office designs that are best suited to personality types, designers also have to consider psychological influences that affect space.
The amount of personal space individuals have in the workplace has a significant impact on performance, job satisfaction and general wellbeing. Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) which includes temperature, humidity, air quality, lighting, daylight and views to the outside all impact the overall comfort of employees.
THE IMPACT OF AGILE OFFICE DESIGNS
Creating a variety of workspaces that accommodate the needs of the Big 5 personality types is key to improving job satisfaction and ultimately productivity.
The focus to establish social areas and stimulate interaction between employees has been reinvented. Modern office designs maintain the principles of open-plan offices but also incorporate traditional layouts that support workers when they need to focus their concentration.
To ensure you find the right workplace balance, consult Dreamspace interior office designers that understand how space impacts cognitive behaviour in people with different personalities. Office design is a major step towards improving employee satisfaction and increased productivity – so it’s worth your while getting it right!