Do creative companies build cool offices, or do cool offices boost creativity?

Though the former certainly may be true, research from global architecture and design firm Gensler confirms the latter.

Gensler survey of more than 4,000 workers across 11 industries revealed a statistical link between an organization’s workplace design and how innovative its employees believe the company to be.

Companies with high Workplace Performance Index scores (Gensler’s proprietary tool for measuring workplace functionality and effectiveness) are ranked more innovative by the people who work there, proving that workplace design affects the future of an organization and its ability to adapt and stay agile.

This conclusion is not at all surprising, considering the workplace’s proven impact on satisfaction, engagement and performance. What’s noteworthy, though, is the data-backed advice on how to make your workplace (and thus your people and your organization) more innovative by observing those that get it right.

This is good news for less traditionally creative firms, namely that innovation can be built. Or at the very least, fostered in the right environment.

5 workplace elements that set innovators apart

By comparing responses from those with the highest innovation index scores with those in the bottom quartile, we can understand what differentiates the high performers from the rest, and see which workplace values are shared by the most innovative companies.

  1. Innovators have higher quality design
    This one’s obvious, but it bears repeating. Whether we’re talking about individual desks, entire conference rooms, physical materials, finishes or even the bathrooms—workplace design look and feel is rated significantly higher among innovators.
  2.  Innovators get away from their desks
    In a given week, people at innovative organizations spend around three and a half days working in the office, whereas those with the least innovative scores work remote for just half a day on average. When they are in the office, innovators spend less time at an individual desk, working instead in unassigned focus areas or collaborating with others in cafes and shared spaces.
  3. Innovators choose when/where to work
    The reason for this flexibility is two-fold. First, innovators are empowered to work in a variety of spaces that are conducive to many different work styles. And second, management allows and even encourages autonomy over personal process, whether it happens in or outside the office.
  4. Innovators balance me and we
    Collaboration is a top priority among the most innovative organizations, but not at the expense of focused work. According to the survey, innovators are five times more likely to have a workplace that prioritizes both individual and group work.
  5. Innovators have more amenities
    Innovators use amenities (coffee, dry cleaning, child care, fitness, etc.) twice as often as the lowest performers and report greater access both in and near their office. Life is just easier—and your mind is less cluttered—when your workplace has the added bonus of convenience.

Innovative companies prioritize these qualities and invest in the workplace because they know the work environment has the power to reinforce employees’ value within the organization. In fact, innovators report more purpose, satisfaction and better relationships at work than non-innovative peers. Though they’re not physical attributes, these positive responses are a result of great workplace design that prioritizes its people.  People who have a sense of purpose in their work will be more engaged, leading to greater productivity and ultimately more space to innovate.

Want more insight on workplace innovation?

Flip through our full eBook on the forces driving workplace change and how your office can stay agile.



About the author

About the author

JLL Staff Reporter, Behind-the-scenes
A team passionate about delivering valuable content and tools about workplace to help you deliver the best experience to your employees.

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