Keeping things as uniform and streamlined as an assembly line might sound like a great way to run an office, but come to find out, it may not be. While management visionaries tout the wonders of the lean office and the clean desk, they forget that employees are people first and cogs in the machine second.

2010 Office Space Study

A 2010 office space study took a close look at how an office’s environment affects both employee productivity and satisfaction. The study focused on four office layouts:

The Lean Office

The lean office is comprised of a spare space that includes a clean desk, a swivel chair, and pen and paper. Study participants were not amused – in fact, they felt oppressed by the everything in its place aesthetic. In the end, you may be the boss of them but you aren’t their mother.

The Enriched Office

The enriched office was just that – enriched by decorative accents, including large photographic prints of plant close-ups and even some potted plants. The modernist trend aside, participants better enjoyed working in these enriched environments and they were more productive.

The Empowered Office

The most successful office space was the empowered office. In this setting, the participants were provided with the same ingredients as those in the enriched office – but they had the opportunity to arrange these pieces according to their own tastes and preferences. Further, they could excise what they didn’t want – and even move their workspaces back toward the lean office if they saw fit. The empowered office offered participants that miraculous elixir – choice.

The Disempowered Office

The most despised office space, as its name implies, is the disempowered office. Here participants were invited to do exactly what participants in the empowered office were invited to do (decorate and organize according to taste), but once they were finished, the experimenters returned everything to the specs of the enriched office setting. Participants were moved to speak out harshly.

Office Success

In the end, the empowered office, with its nod to homey comfort and self-determination, was a huge success. While the clean desk policies sweeping the country – and the world – sound all tidy and productive, employees tend to want their souvenir mugs and ceramic cat collections surrounding them while the work. Employers, be forewarned.

Ditch the Clean Desk Policy by Calling InterWork Today for More Information

You may be drawn to the lean office trend, but your employees are paramount to your continued success and their comfort and satisfaction matter. Allow your employees to find their own workspace sweet spot. InterWork is here to help. At InterWork, we have the knowhow to help you get your office right but we also have a vast selection of office furniture that our professional office planners will help you choose from. For professional help honing your office space, give us a call at 800-821-3522 or send us an email through our online contact form today.