Andrew Burns
Andrew Burns Managing Director
28 July 2019

Designing a workplace that drives performance

Business performance drives a company’s growth and success. But what drives performance? Purpose, profits, success – yes. But it’s people who get things done. Andrew Burns, Managing Director here at TSK, explains how designing a workplace that works better for people is the key to achieving better performance.

How does workplace design affect performance?

A workplace strategically designed for employees is guaranteed to inspire and support them into producing great work. It’s pretty simple, if people do well, the company will too.

Activity Based Working (ABW) is an approach that gives people different spaces and settings for a range of activities, ways of working, and personalities. Unlike traditional offices, people aren’t forced to fit with the office. The workplace fits around them.

Designing a workplace that drives performance


It’s an approach that cleverly aligns people with place, enhances engagement and improves business performance. But you have to remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Every business is different, with its own tasks, people, and mix of personalities.

For office design to make an impact, it must be strategically tailored around these (and many more) elements. Which requires deep understanding of the business and its people at all levels.

Where’s the best place to start?

Business leaders have to do better. They need to start thinking differently about their workplace. They need to understand the relationship between people and place. And they need to value it. Rather than seeing buildings and people as overheads measured by how much they cost, they need be considered as assets, adding value to the business and driving its success.

Organisations also need to shift their focus from the quantity and cost of office space, to how well it helps people realise their potential. Only once this attitudinal change has happened can the real fun begin.

What’s the problem with a traditional office?

The nature of work is evolving. It has no choice. It has to respond to an ever- changing world. Modern advances in technology are giving us the flexibility to work in different ways, at different times, around our different lives. People don’t just want this level of freedom from their workplace, they’re starting to expect it. And traditional offices simply can’t deliver, they’re operating in a different era.

Conventional office setups were never designed to empower people at work. They were designed with hierarchies, productivity, and austerity in mind. Speed, structure, and standardisation were the orders of the day. People had a desk, they had a place, and they stayed put – sometimes for their entire working life.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like that anymore. We live in a smart, agile, and connected world. And now the places we work can reflect that and can inspire. Problems only arise when businesses expect the best from staff who are stuck working in an office that’s essentially holding them back (which also happens to stop the business from moving forward).

quote mark quote mark

"Business leaders have to do better. They need to start thinking differently about their workplace."

Good for people, good for business

Everyone deserves a great place to work. A place that gives us all the things we need to be our best, do our best work, and keep pushing the limits of our potential. Companies already doing this have discovered the real value of people, and the power they have to drive performance.

Ultimately, designing a workplace that’s good for people, is good for business too.

Related content

Would you like features like these direct to your inbox?

Sign up for our newsletter

    You will be able to opt-out of these emails at any time. By signing up, you understand that the information you provide is subject to Google’s privacy policy and terms.

    Download for free now