Facilities professionals face a myriad of challenges. Keeping up with the maintenance and security of the physical infrastructure, ongoing document management, and staying current with various regulations are just a few to mention.

One challenge that can get overlooked is the overall design of the workplace, and how an optimized work environment can enhance workplace engagement, creativity, and innovation.

According to a recent survey conducted by the global architecture firm Gensler, “two-thirds of employees believe that they work in spaces that stifle creativity and innovation.”

“We found a total correlation between certain core design factors and the level of innovation in a workplace. Was it a surprise? No. But we were able to unpack the why, the what, and how.” Diane Hoskins, co-CEO of Gensler

The online survey drew more than 4,000 people from 11 different industries, which included tech, government, finance, media and biological sciences. From the results, Gensler uncovered several culprits that hinder employee creativity and innovation.

First, many work environments fail to connect with the company’s mission. It’s imperative to reinforce why people work for your company as this not only helps drive workplace engagement, but it also impacts the overall quality of the work they produce.

Architectural and decorative ways to express what your company is all about can go a long way. For instance, if your firm has a long history, then you can use graphics throughout your facility to communicate your company’s past to the present.

A lack of diverse workspaces is another culprit that may be negatively impacting employee performance. From the survey, companies that were more innovative emphasized the importance of both individual and group work, and the companies that had spaces to accommodate collaboration were five times more innovative.

From an architectural standpoint, creating spaces that “promote chance encounters, like communal areas for working or socializing” is important. Teams must be able to exchange ideas often and easily during these impromptu meetings.

Of course, having an appropriately designed space to foster these interactions can only go so far as most large enterprises operate with employees spread across the globe. This is why having the right collaboration technologies that are easy-to-use can help facilitate these interactions with employees who are globally dispersed.

Work environments that make it difficult to focus, and don’t give employees choices to work where they please were the final two findings Gensler revealed that are negatively impacting workplace performance.

On average 30-40% of a person’s day involves solo work. Creating quiet zones and placing individual workstations away from noisy areas where employees gather is an important design strategy to implement.

Also, giving employees a choice to work wherever they feel like working within the office, or outside of the office, can help fuel some of their best work.

One popular design many companies have implemented that addresses this need is Activity Based Working (ABW). Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), a leading global platform for professional learning and knowledge, has implemented this model.

Employees at GLG start their workday by collecting their belongings from overnight lockers, then choose where they want to work inside the office. If employees want to work in isolation, then they can work in a quiet area versus one that is filled with workers who are collaborating on creative ideas.

GLG has also set up their ABW model to incorporate areas that they specify as “neighborhoods.” These neighborhoods come equipped with tables, and individual workstations, adjustable standing desks, different types of chairs, and enclosed glass pods to better support the activities employees will embark on.

Lastly, another major challenge facilities teams face is working with IT to move away from outdated technologies that infuriate instead of facilitate collaboration. Everyone knows how frustrating it can be when participants experience poor call quality, or when members of the call are consistently dropped. It is also frustrating when employees have to jump through several hoops to push their content through when sharing their slides.

Studies show a staggering $37 billion is wasted each year on unproductive meetings. And if you do the math, a nine-minute delay for one meeting a day equates to 37 hours of lost productivity each year per employee!

Fortunately, newer solutions such as Polycom Pano ™, a wireless content sharing solution that is centrally managed and cloud connected, solves these issues, especially on the content sharing front.

Polycom Pano works virtually with any existing HD monitor. You can simply attach the small box to the monitor to allow users to share their content. In seconds, users can connect wirelessly with Apple Airplay, Windows Miracast, or with the Polycom Pano app for Windows and Mac.

Polycom Pano also allows users to share content from multiple users at the same time. Users can share up to four streams of simultaneous content side-by-side, allowing for more efficient and natural collaboration. Also, built-in whiteboard capabilities allow users to easily annotate.

Implementing a workplace design that fuels greater employee performance is no easy task for facilities teams. Incorporating a design that connects employees to the company mission, includes diverse work areas, and has the right collaboration technologies can have a significant impact on driving creativity and innovation.