How can we improve productivity? Spacelab tell the Parliamentary Design Commission how...

By Hannah Mellow on 30 March 2017

We all interact with the buildings and spaces each and every day but these are only on the fringes of government policy. The ‘People and places: design of the built environment and behaviour’ report by the Design Commission – the research arm of the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group – sets out a number of innovative policy recommendations for a healthier and more productive society.

Spacelab’s Rosie Haslem, Ros Pomeroy and Dr Kerstin Sailer were on the panel of experts making evidence-based recommendations about how the design of buildings and spaces can foster productive, innovative and creative behaviours that drive innovation and improve efficiency in workplaces and communities.

What did we recommend?

We advised them to gain an in-depth understanding, through our tried and tested methods, of how a business and its people use and move through space. Using this evidence, they can do much more than simply improve productivity. They can make people feel happier, more motivated and have a better sense of wellbeing.

We also brought to their attention that access to daylight is key to enhancing wellbeing and productivity at work. Forward-thinking countries, such as Germany and Sweden, already have clear rules and regulations for the maximum distance any desk can be from natural daylight.

We explained how the way you plan a building impacts people’s patterns of movement and that a well-planned layout can lead to productive patterns of interaction, communication and information flow. 

So what will this mean for government policy?

As a result of the panel’s recommendations for creating productive, innovative and creative workplaces, the Design Commission proposed that the government should establish a formal cost-benefit analysis of how design impacts people's behaviour. And, in cooperation with the right experts, the government should work to ensure that employees have control over their own working environment.

Read the full report here.