Informed office design
Some grumble that Hawai‘i’s corporate culture is static or behind the times, but it’s just the opposite. We are all part of Hawai‘i’s multicultural melting pot and our business community inspires diversity, innovation and accessibility. In 1993, scholar David Ralston and his colleagues formulated the “crossvergence” theory, which describes the cross-pollination of cultural influence and business ideology in multi-cultural societies. Their theory asserts that new value systems are created through the synergistic interaction of these influences. Let’s apply crossvergence to your business model and office design.
Think of your organization as a melting pot of ideas. Group your departments as if they were different cultural populations. Take human resources and accounting—do these cultures interact?
Do their duties overlap? Would HR benefit from understanding accounting practices and vice versa? Is the current layout of the two departments enhancing the triple bottom line or countering it?
Understand the productivity levels of your organization and whether synergy or separation of the two departments is beneficial to the whole.
The way your office space is designed is crucial in keeping them either synergized or separated, physically as well as operationally. Once you determine what is effective, then the most efficient office design solution will be easy to achieve.
Open workstations are the latest innovation in workplace communication.
Yet all too often, I hear that employees love the idea at first, but they take issue with the absence of privacy. Strike a happy medium with additions like divider screens and chest-level panel separators, which allow for brief interaction while keeping employees focused on individual task completion. HR and accounting can work together when needed but they ultimately stay on top of their internal duties. In this way, the layout of your office can promote crossvergence among your company’s various departments to create a shared culture of engagement, communication and productivity.
Chris Dittmar is the vice president of business development at Infinium Interiors. An O‘ahu native, he earned a BFA from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, and recently received his Executive MBA from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Shidler College of Business.