Workplace Design: The One Thing Successful Offices Have In Common

Dustin Staiger

4,000 office workers across 11 different industries were surveyed to discover what successful, innovative, and creative workplaces look like in 2016. The evidence points to one major finding: creativity and innovation both follow great workplace design. When it comes to attaining great workplace design, Gensler’s 2016 Workplace Survey discovered which factors play the biggest role in an excellent workplace design.             


To accurately assess the workplace environment, Gensler developed the Workplace Performance Index (WPI). The WPI of a workplace is measured from 4 different angles:

  1. Focus
  2. Collaborate
  3. Learn
  4. Socialize

Each of Gensler’s findings point to one thing: Workplace Design. One such finding, for example, is that companies who prioritize both individual and collaborative spaces perform 5X better than those who do not.

Survey-takers were asked to rate their workplace experience. Here are a few of the statements they measured:

  • “At the end of the day, I feel I’ve made a difference.”
  • “My manager is committed to my development.”
  • “My manager cares about my wellbeing.”

Of course, leaders hope their employees would feel this way about their workplace. Interestingly enough, in companies where workplace design, proper layout and furniture choices were prioritized–almost twice as many employees agreed with these statements.

Companies whose employees rated their managers high on these statements were also the companies whose innovation measurements were at the top. In other words, the most successful companies were  those who demonstrated employees are important to the company and showed commitment to employee wellbeing.


Gensler’s 2016 Workplace Survey makes it abundantly clear that workplace design is what the most successful companies in the US have in common, regardless of the industry they’re in. The research went beyond simply gathering input from employees, however.

The survey takers paid specific attention to the top performers in each company. They discovered that each company’s best employees had things in common when it came to their office preferences. Top performers, those who come up with and execute the most creative ideas, showed a particular interest in the following elements:

  • The look and feel of their workspace.
  • The configuration of workspaces in regard to noise management.
  • Access to people and resources.
  • Close proximity to plugs and excellent Wi-Fi throughout the workplace.
  • A sufficient amount of meeting spaces and their proximity to other workstations.
  • Access to outdoor spaces.

A company’s top performers pay a good deal of attention to the spaces in which they do their work. It’s easy to see how workplace design is a major indicator of successful companies. It helps them consistently land on innovative ideas, attract and retain top talent, and reinforce their workplace culture. Workers notice the investments being made into their facilities and their performance reflects that investment accordingly. 


  1. Among the most successful companies in America, great workplace design is one thing they have in common.
  2. Successful workplace design means giving your employees the ability to focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize.
  3. The best workers notice whether or not management is investing in workplace design.