Over the past few months I’ve been working with an organisation to redesign their work space. This project wasn’t about just making the office look better it was about creating a functional space that would be great for their members, enhance their own team working and creativity.

20150420_135927Many organisations would have just commissioned a designer and created a space to their personal taste but not this one. Community Housing Cymru engaged with all their staff asking them questions like: how do you want to work? how could this be the best space possible for you? how do you want to relax? what would re-energize you? how could it work better for our members and visitors?
At times some of these questions were too big for people to contemplate as ways of working can become fixed. Luckily they were able to break out of their thinking and embrace the challenge. Ideas were put forward, pictures of their favourite spaces from magazines or from their life were brought in and added to the vision boards in the staff room.

Designers were then commissioned with staff ideas forming the key requirements of a limited budget.

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cvmgw5cxeaaqaqvIf this wasn’t enough, staff were also offered the chance to create some art for the new space so that they could put their own mark on their new environment. The art was to be inspired by the staff away day- climbing Pen-y-Fan.

Armed with sketch books they climbed the mountain jotting down thoughts, ideas and scribbles as they walked. Their words are now on the walls.

 

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Their ideas around team work and how they translate that visually resulted in a 4 piece art work. All staff painted a section of the work which now hangs in their new staff break out area.

As people worked on the painting there were new conversations, people discovering their creative sides, people taking a well earned break from work and very often laughter!

Today the work was hung in their new work space as they start their first week of: hot desking, informal meeting spaces, booths, sofas, grassed benches, wifi…and the huge possibility of what they will now create in their new space.

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‘It’s been a real pleasure to work with Prith who not only guided us (& walked with us up Pen Y Fan) on our journey, but also challenged and inspired us in our thinking and planning.  The new offices are amazing and only three days in, we are already seeing and feeling the benefits of our new environment.  We simply love our new work home.’

Phillipa Knowles, Director of Resources and Organisational Development, Community Housing Cymru

 

Staff engagement in workspace design