The two key elements in WeWork’s better office environment

Edited excerpt from Meet the man who re-designed work: WeWork’s Miguel McKelvey by Will Reynolds:

What are the secrets of WeWork’s design? How does the physical space itself contribute to productivity, inspiration and positivity?

WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey, a trained architect and interior designer, highlights two key aspects: glass and natural light. “We like to ensure that there’s lots of natural light. We intentionally seek out properties that are on a corner or that have a lot of light, and then we make interior walls out of glass, or if that’s not possible, we’ll plan out where to place solid walls so we don’t block people’s access to daylight. Another benefit of glass walls: it adds an element of transparency and accountability. When you’re surrounded by other people who are working hard, you’re more likely to work hard, too.”

(1) At Seeking Alpha we learned that there are three key factors in successful office design. First, you want to give people a sense of privacy, cosiness cosiness and quiet, so they can concentrate on their work. Second, you want to maximize the amount of natural light. And third, you want to provide opportunities for unscripted interaction.
(2) The problem is that the need for quiet and cosiness conflicts with the need for natural light and unscripted interaction. At Seeking Alpha we built interior glass walls, used large plants to provide cosiness without blocking out light and interaction, and created inviting common areas.
(3) See (i) How to create a healthy office , (ii) Office design: two tips to get seating right, (iii) The problem with open offices, and (iv) Startup office design: Time to reconsider cubicles?

2 thoughts on “The two key elements in WeWork’s better office environment

  1. “The value of the coffee break

    Waber et al. studied the effects of synchronized coffee breaks for call center employees at Bank of America. The results showed conclusively that employees were more cohesive and less stressed as a result of taking their ‘coffee’ breaks with colleagues. The experiment did not require employees to communicate, they did that naturally. The orchestrated communication made employees feel more cohesive. These factors increased productivity and significantly decreased employee turnover. All significantly increasing BoA’s bottom line.” – From my review on People Analytics by Ben Waber.

    Rest of the review–

  2. Pingback: The problem with open offices | A Founder's Notebook

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