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Engaging workspaces lead to transformation

By Craig Janssen

Surveys suggest that two-thirds of workers are ambivalent or hostile toward their employers, resulting in $1.6 trillion of lost productivity each year.

The question of employee engagement is a big one: when research measures workplace engagement at less than 30% and productivity gains are stagnant, what can companies do to create a cost-effective workplace strategy that effect real change?

As part of the AEC industry, we have seen the role that architecture can play in solving problems, but architecture is only a part of the issue. In 2012, we were invited by Rex Miller to join Haworth, Inc. and Balfour Beatty Construction to grapple with this troubling industry-wide issue.  Other voices were added to the group which became case4space and included companies like Google, Cousins Properties, FOX Architects, BDHP Architecture, the General Services Administration, and Autodesk. The two year exploration was about asking difficult questions, uncovering blind spots, finding paradigm-busting innovators and testing their insights. The goal is to share the best of what we find. All of the participants have demanding leadership roles at their home firms. This work was done in the margins by talented, committed people with a passion for being part of the solution.

The result of the findings resulted in a book: Change Your Space, Change Your Culture available this week via Amazon.com. The book explores the learnings from two years of study about engaging workspaces and shares the stories of the firms who are defying the statistic.  If you are a designer of workspaces or an employer who wants to improve engagement, the book is a must-read.

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