Embedding culture through the design process

By Katie Mitchelmore on 16 August 2019
VR-Joe 2

We spend over a third of our waking hours at work. So it’s important that our workspaces are tailored to work for us, both in terms of aiding productivity and supporting our mental and physical wellbeing. 

So when designing a space, it goes without saying that the end users should be able to test the space throughout the design process to ensure it truly works for them. After all, who better to help shape and feedback on the space than the people who will be using it. Yet traditionally this isn’t the case, and the majority of users won’t get to see the space until it’s physically built. 

So we’ve developed a fully immersive research and design process for all projects to ensure that the space is truly tailored to the individuals who will be using it, and so that everyone is familiar with the space before they’ve even stepped through the door. 

We identify a cross-section of users early on in the project, who act as representatives of the various teams and users, and who we then work closely with throughout. Our proposed design solutions are modelled within a VR environment and then tested by these users to inform iterative ‘cycles’ of development. The fully immersive and engaging nature of the experience helps them to really understand the qualities of their future working environment, and consider how the space would work for them. Their feedback then informs the next iterative design cycle.

For example, on a recent project for a global tech business, the receptionists were able to virtually sit behind the reception desk, helping us to refine the positioning of the reception to ensure the best view of all entrances. They were even able to test the placement of drawers and sockets to achieve optimum functionality. 

Any potential user can learn how to find their way around and get the best from their environment. Rather than relying on a major change management programme to help people adopt new ways of using the space, people are already familiar with it and the various different areas within it, helping to fully embed the working culture into the team before they’ve even moved in. 

Topics: design, team, spacelab, architecture, workplace productivity, Office wellbeing, employeeappreciation, company culture