We started off our process by conducting 10 interviews. The majority of the interview objects were under the age of 30. This affected the pain points that we could gather greatly. Inexperienced workers were not feeling as integrated into the workplace as they wanted to be.
Our first iteration of a problem statement regarding this pain point for young workers focused on two aspects: engagement and acknowledgement. Including both aspects in the problem statement lead to brainstormed ideas that were solving one of the problems. The initial problem statement also failed to address that we were looking at young professionals at work, indicating that another iteration was needed.
For the next part of the process the new problem statement produced was more concise, only focusing on engagement for knowledge workers. This narrower statement greatly aided in designing an experiment that could give us some clues to the future of the project.
Looking back, the driving force of our experiments has been the problem statement. After a few iterations and rounds of experiments we have landed in a statement that better suits what we want to solve.
Olin 102 Classroom Displacement Experiment
The experiment that we conducted was based off of our brainstormed idea of having chairs on a conveyor belt. The reasoning was that movement in the workplace will increase engagement and therefore address the problem statement we had at the time. With the help of some extensive observations, both general and specific to individuals, we could easily evaluate the experiment. We found that the engagement went up for people that moved to the front row, and for people who moved back were generally less active. This showed us that the movement of individuals affected engagement, and we knew that there was something to build on. At the same time we observed that the task at hand, a very difficult session in Big Data Analytics, greatly affected the overall engagement of the class. That lesson, that the time and place of the experiment plays a crucial part in what you as a group can take out of it, really guided us in the future steps of the process. Moving forward more experiments needed to be conducted, in order to triangulate a possible solution. This experiment also engendered some ideas for future steps, for example some faculties at Babson recently went through a move/relocation of offices so a basis for further analysis might be found there. Below you can see our observations for the Classroom scramble experiment.
Subjects who were moved to the center of the front row were noticeably more engaged than when placed in other areas of the classroom Members who were moved from front and center to other sections seemed less engaged than usual Joe, Jasmine, James, Guiliana, Alix, Nicholas, Anna, Xiaofan, Akash, and Surbhit all stayed in same position. Hugo was the only member of our group to take a different classroom position. The individuals that we didn’t specifically place seemed to gravitate towards their close friends, rather than sitting with people they knew less well The peripheries of the class were more full than usual when students re-arraigned seating themselves. Professor Nathan Karst was also unaware of what the experiment was intended for. After class, he remarked on the significant involvement of class and high quality of questions asked The majority of the class kept laptops in front of them during class, and most were using them for a significant period of time, although this was not surprising or concerning due to the fact that we were using Modeler This class period introduced new and particularly difficult material, something that may have played a factor in engagement and participation of certain class members Engagement and participation seemed to drop as class went on. Factors could include difficulty of material or longer class time as compared to others
Michelle and Mike, who were moved to the back row, had obvious difficulty seeing text at front of the class and turned to focus on the TV behind them. This impacted their engagement and eye contact with the professor Cam specifically did not appear bothered or affected by shift to rear of class John moved closer front of classroom, but was far on the periphery, and seemed focused and involved throughout class period Monica, while usually an active and vocal participant, was even more involved and stimulated more discussion when moved to the front of the classroom Mayura, who usually sits off to the side, was in a central position in the classroom, which appeared to enable her to foster discussion and engage better with peers around her Chanika, who is traditionally quite focused throughout class periods, was equally focused in the front row, but the shift did not seem to impact her inclination to speak in either a positive or negative way Andrea, usually sitting centrally and directly under air conditioner, remarked on the temperature difference and its positive impact on her comfort Carlos, who usually has unbelievable posture, seemed to be more relaxed and slightly slouched while in the rear of the room, at one point even yawning (something we didn’t think he did) Het had an easier time gaining the professor's attention to ask a question or make a remark with his more prominent position Rahul and Hayley were noticeably more vocal than when in their usual seating positions
Name: Laurie Krigman
Current Office: Tomasso hall 321 Department: Finance Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. How do you like your new office? It’s exactly same as my old one. I really like it. I have just moved across the hall and don’t feel much of a change but it's nice to have a different space.
2. Is there anything that you would change if you could about your new workspace? Absolutely nothing. It doesn’t matter.
3. How do you think this relocation has affected your engagement with your colleagues? It has not affected at all. Probably the only big change is the green walls.
4. Would you like to switch a work space often? Why? No. There is so much work when you switch your workplace. You have to pack and then unpack and everything needs to be organized. Who would want that?
5. What is your ideal office? Is the new office is above or below your expectation? It’s good, see I have two windows now. But otherwise it isn’t much apart from my last place.
6. How does your new office affect your productivity? My new office has had no effect on my productivity or my level of engagement. I have been here 14 years now I know all the faculty, change in workspace won't play a huge role.
Name: Matt Allen
Current Office: 310 Blank center Department: Entrepreneurship Email: email@example.com
1. How do you like your new office? I think it's nice, especially because I did not have a workspace for 6 weeks in between and it was so inconvenient.
2. Is there anything that you would change if you could about your new workspace? Not really. I like it it has a window, my earlier office space did not have a window.I like it when I get some light in the office.
3. How do you think this relocation has affected your engagement with your colleagues? It has affected negatively.I was on the 2nd floor that’s where all the action happens. Thats where all the work is always going on and 3rd floor is comparatively quiet and I think my engagement with my colleagues has lessened.Though I do speak to people in the building from time to time but it doesn't always mean it's for common projects or always networking.
4. Would you like to switch a work space often? Why? Not really. I do a lot of research work and It is time consuming if my work space switched often it would be hard to concentrate.
5. What is your ideal office? Is the new office is above or below your expectation? This is fairly nice. Considering my productivity was highly affected in the 6 weeks in between this feels a lot better.It is not entirely done, but its good to have your own space. 6. How does your new office affect your productivity? It hasn’t impacted much but its private and gives me time to concentrate on my work.
Name: Amy Blitz
Current Office: Olin 308 Department: Economics and Management Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. How do you like your new office? I really like it a lot. It’s bright, warm, in a great location, love that I have Pandini’s downstairs if I need more space for a meeting or need to get a quick snack. There’s also a lot going on in Olin so I stumble on students, events, colleagues, etc. I might not otherwise. Really a great location for me.
2. Is there anything that you would change if you could about your new workspace? Overall, no, it’s really good for me. I do currently share with someone though - she’s smart, engaging, well established at Babson and has been extremely generous and welcoming but until recently I found myself staying away out of politeness in case she needed it. Now I just go and figure I can move if she arrives and needs the space, which has not yet happened. I could also check in with her beforehand but because of Pandini’s and other options if needed, it’s easier to just take my chances. But I overall I’d prefer my own office. Also so I could completely set it up how I like.
3.How do you think this relocation has affected your engagement with yourcolleagues? I used to be in Tomasso and really liked my colleagues there, but we less frequently bumped into each other, as we do in my new office, partly because of the cafe downstairs, partly because I’m on a hallway with people who more frequently use their office. I also often had to avoid my previous office because it was literally right under the big construction site and the drilling and shaking of the building made me a bit sick, and was very distracting.
4. Would you like to switch a work space often? Why? No, I’ve already had to change offices every year since I’ve been here. I didn’t mind it and it did allow me to get to know people I might not otherwise have, which has been great, but I would strongly prefer at this point to settle in with my books, arrangements, and routines, so I can use the space effectively, get to know my colleagues and also so people know where to find me. When you’re not sure how long you’ll be in a space, it’s harder to invest the time and effort to make it fully suit your needs.
5. What is your ideal office? Is the new office is above or below your expectation? Pretty close to what I already have, maybe just to not share, again so I could have the certainty that no one else may arrive and need the space, and also so I could set it up to my preferences.
6. How does your new office affect your productivity? Very much actually. There was a lot of construction in my home neighborhood last summer, and I used the new office throughout the week to do my work. I’m writing a book and the quiet comfort and brightness of my office was incredibly helpful. It’s also made it much easier to meet with colleagues and students, where before I was a bit out of the way and too close to a construction site, so often just met with students or others at Pandini’s, etc., now I feel the meetings are much more productive. I also feel like my networking, access to events, etc. is better because there’s so much going on in Olin, a less measurable performance measure perhaps but it feels like a boost on many levels.
Name: Caroline Daniels
Current Office: 015 Blank center Department: Entrepreneurship Email: email@example.com
1. How do you like your new office? I did not move, though I do love my space and its private across the conference room and is well lit. They moved a lot of people around me but I am glad they somehow missed my office.
2. Is there anything that you would change if you could about your new workspace? Absolutely not. My workspace is something I have had for a while and I wouldn’t want to change it.
3. How do you think this relocation has affected your engagement with your colleagues? Not much. Depends on the kind of work you are doing too. Sure if you are working in the Accelerator or want to explore business Ideas then the networking or higher engagement is useful. For me I need my space to be private and I like that.
4. Would you like to switch a work space often? Why? No I wouldn’t. I have a nice and spacious place why would I want to give that away.
5. What is your ideal office? Is the new office is above or below your expectation?
6. How does your new office affect your productivity? (Has the change in the environment affected your productivity?) Sure new people have come into the building but not much has changed where my office is and I don’t think it has impacted my productivity in any way.
Name: Ken Mattsson
Current Office: 310 Olin Department: Career Development Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. How do you like your new office? I have moved thrice in my 2 years here and this is the best office I have had. It is more spacious than my earlier offices and is also a easily accessible place by the students to whom I have to converse with the most.
2. Is there anything that you would change if you could about your new workspace? I keep moving my furniture from time to time but I would like it if it was a little less transparent. The glass makes me feel like I am being watched always.
3. How do you think this relocation has affected your engagement with your colleagues? Oh definitely. When I was new here, I had a corner office and felt like I am always less available now I have Danielle around also people across my office, it makes it so much easier to be available for work or conversation at any time. Earlier my doors used to be closed all the time. That’s not the case anymore.
4. Would you like to switch a work space often? Why? I have already done that a lot. I think once you grow in an organization the work location switch is inevitable, so maybe when the time comes for it I will have a bigger workspace. But I have just moved in march and wouldn’t want to change anytime soon
5. What is your ideal office? Is the new office above or below your expectation? It is better than I would have expected. But I would love to have had a couch in the office. Where my conversations would perhaps be less formal with the students and they would feel more comfortable approaching me for guidance.
6. How does your new office affect your productivity? Yes it does. People see me through the glass and start a conversation about what they need help with or if they want to consult on something. Students have to reach out if I am in a place further away from them. Change in location enables me to better deal with my meetings and juggle work.
Third Place Observations
To stimulate further insights into how knowledge workers engage within a workspace we opted to expand beyond a professional or academic setting, and observe individuals within a variety of “third places”. “The third place (or third space) is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place"). Examples of third places would be environments such as cafes, clubs or parks.” We believe that transitioning to observations in this realm is important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, these are the environments in which knowledge workers are choosing to work in their free time, and therefore must have certain aspects that resonate with them. Additionally, by observing several different environments, we will also be able to contrast the differences between them and if there is a certain type of persona that is drawn to a certain type of environment. Finally, we insinuated that the unique locations would have a different atmosphere with regards to traffic and stimuli, another important aspect to consider when contemplating engagement in the workplace. For this test, Hugo and I traveled to several well traversed locations where knowledge workers tend to gather in our local Brighton, MA. This area was tailor made for our observations as it is a hub for young knowledge workers, most of whom commute into Boston. Between the morning and midday sunday we visited Starbucks, Cafenation, and Boca Grande Taqueria. Our observations are noted below:
Alternative Workspace Observations
There is one large table where people seem to be congregating and working together Everyone has a piece of technology, or multiple pieces of technology with them There are some people wearing large, noise cancelling headphones which would signal that they work better when isolated from the exterior surroundings Conversations are quiet, people seem to be affected by noise There are four large, comfortable chairs in the corner This area is more isolated, and there is what appears to be an interview happening in two of them People may be more comfortable having conversations in a private, isolated, and comfortable location Besides technology, minimal other pieces used for work-people may be adaptable to changing environments without needing significant amount of other pieces Some are working without desk space-perhaps different sitting situations enable people to work in different ways Place is packed-the offerings within starbucks seem to entice people to want to work here Workers seem to be uninhibited by the noise made by the baristas and the activity of people placing orders or waiting in line Many people are using their phones or starbucks cards to pay-especially the younger generations-technology and ease of use seem to be essential to these knowledge workers Prefer to have as few goods as possible Besides some people having backpacks, there is a distinct lack of goods and clutter, maybe a clean and simple workplace is best for focus The seats at the bar are least desirable, with the chairs being the number one commodity, followed by the large communal table, people prefer environments where they are facing and surrounded by others as well as a comfortable seating position Chairs and comfort seem to be number one desire of workers rather than desk space The music here is loud but for the most part peaceful and not genre specific, could think that some level of background noise can help with productivity, not loud enough to discourage communication There is a significant amount of art, with many earth tones and darker colors, perhaps this is best for knowledge workers surroundings It seems that people are only engaging with those they know, or in the instance of the large table, people that are directly around them, not likely to talk to people in line or approach people unless immediately present Baristas note that this location has less seating than normal Starbucks, yet many of the people that come in are looking to stay for significant period of time People who are here working seem to get one item from register at a time, leaving opportunites to get up and move around and break up work, people don’t want to be sitting still for a long period of time Starbucks has placed merchandise and food items throughout the store, signaling that people working are drawn to items within sight and more likely to engage or therefore purchase them-need the things we want people to use/engage with to be within eyeline The lighting is rather dim, yet there are many, many lights, mostly on the periphery or lighting artwork, creates calm lighting atmosphere with eye drawn to most desirable areas, could incorporate this into work space With seating scarce, people are standing and congregating at bar-seems to stimulate discussion People working seem to be here for between 1 and 2 hours, with only one or two being here longer than that Dress, even on an early Sunday morning, is mostly in the business casual realm, perhaps this is the dress that people most prefer Colloquial tone and atmosphere, people standing up and talking People working in groups very talkative, not just individual work Long tables more talk than smaller ones, bigger groups? Better for cooperative tasks? People can still be by themselves, many here just doing there thing Customization, being able to do what you want is key Should be able to handle the music, what is the effect of that? New people keep coming in, affects the workflow of the place
Themed significantly more for younger, urban, hipster crowd The music is louder and trends towards the more punk/rock trends The walls are mainly a deep red with earth tone accents, more vibrant The tables and floors are lighter wood as opposed to the darkness of starbucks The lighting is more centralized but more dim at the same time-fewer lights but the ones that there are are brighter, changing the atmosphere This location is bigger than starbucks with significantly more seating area-all tables and wood chairs, no comfortable chairs Bigger mix of people working and not working-people working may not be affected by those around them not working Larger amount of people wearing headphones-those that are working are not as engaged in conversation or as casual than the people who are clearly trying to work Again , few other pieces other than technology This place incorporates waiters and waitresses for some of the food items but this activity doesn’t seem to have an affect on those who are working More lively atmosphere People seem to be in natural groups but not engaging outside of those, although we said at a table with people who were cordial and engaging, not doing any work however though No one here is working alone, all here with a group of friends or coworkers to do work The people who are working almost all have drinks or simple foods, but not any of the more complex menu items The people eating or drinking in all have glassware which changes the vibe of the place, makes it seem more comfortable according to the people I asked, maybe home touches can help make the workplace more comfortable and engaging The bar is in the middle with seating places in the front and back of store, back is more private and quiet but the people working seem to be at the front near the window- 2 assumptions- people want to work in areas with more light and they are not bothered by the increased hustle and bustle People are on their laptops, studying.. Not everyone studying at this place, louder music Knowledge worker might be affected by the ambiance One guy has headphones in, can still work here. Likes the atmosphere but wants to focus still The place is divided into two sections, one is more work and study and the other one is closer to the street/entrance and therefore more laid back People don’t move around a lot, they stay in their places if they want to The key is that they can choose were they want to sit/study, the different places affects their work More studying è sit down at a table, possibly with headphones A taller table would give a more colloquial tone Not as much artwork here but more mirrors, is this better or worse for work? The cafe got less busy the longer we stayed, this did not seem to have an effect on the workers but the energy when it was busy seemed to have a positive impact on everyone and led to more conversations Less merchandise throughout store, people are only buying what they want original, less moving once they are seated
Boca Grande Taqueria
Less people working but some still doing activities with laptops More spacious, better tables Lack of drinks seems to negatively affect popularity More formal atmosphere than other places seems to turn people off People seem to want to work somewhere that is more popular No music Bright colors and airy and spacious Better and local décor, could this affect workspace? Met with Andrea and friend Subdued nature of location did not inspire them to do work Perhaps for millennials and young professionals action around them is beneficial to focus Having distractions in workplace can actually help with focus Peer nature of engagement Do I want to stay engaged because people are watching me?
Hollow Square Classroom Experiment
For the finale of our investigation into workspace, we are able to conduct a second iteration of our first experiment, this time choosing to make more drastic changes to the classroom environment. While we put a great deal of contemplation and planning into the experiment, in the end we have to say that in many ways our initial ideas fell apart. However, the experiment took on a life of its own and allowed us to gain unexpected and lucid insights into engagement.
During the group work and brainstorming session of class this past Wednesday, we hatched up what we thought to be a brilliant experiment. Venturing up to Danielle’s office, Hugo and I persuaded her to allow us to schedule the Needham/Wellesley room during our LEAP class session on Monday. After explaining our problem statement and first experiment with her, she suggested that the experiment would be best if we were also able to change the setup of the desk as well. Eventually, the three of us concurred that a hollow square would be the most unique design that differentiated from our classroom set up in 102. Originally, the plan was that Sebastian would be the only professor aware of our plan and that on Monday we would spring the news of the classroom switch on everyone-both the class and the professors. At the time, we thought that this would be the best way possible to observe the engagement of the actual knowledge workers (our LEAP teachers), as well as once again observing the behavior and engagement of our peers.
Upon further thought, there was a major hole in our logic. By springing the idea on Zach and the other professors, there would be unexpected consequences. The major issue would become that we would be compromising our own test due to the fact that our test would end up testing knowledge workers adaptability along with their engagement. While adaptability is undoubtedly related to engagement, this test would now be expanding outside the context of our developed problem statement; it was clear that our experiment would need to be altered.
To remove the aspect of adaptability from our experiment, it became clear that Zach would have to be alerted to the room change in advance of class on Monday, a fundamental shift in our test. On Friday, we were lucky enough to encounter Zach at the Entrepreneurship forum and discussed the room change experiment with him. He was kind enough to agree to the room change and facilitate our experiment. At this point, we thought that the experiment could now test the engagement of the students in this new foreign environment, as well as the other faculty who usually observe and are fringe participants in the class. Zach alerted the class as well as the other professors on Sunday before the impending class on Monday.
On Monday morning, we arrived on campus early to ensure the environment was set up in a way that best tested the factors being analyzed. At this point, we were confident that the test would run as plan. As individuals started filtering in, another wrench was thrown in our plans. As it turns out, most of the professors were not present in class on the particular day, with Caroline being the only professor observing. Despite this, we are confident stating that the experiment was a resounding success. This once again reinforces the line of thinking that even when experiments do not run according to plan, the result can still be as good (or potentially better) than initially believed. We gained deep insights and observed numerous factors that played a role in engagement that had not been previously considered. These insights played a monumental role in the development of a “best solution” at this stage of the process. The detailed observations from our second classroom experiment are as follows:
Needham/Wellesley Room Experiment Observations
Xiaofan and Nicklas were the only person who opted to sit at the end of the classroom When Betty described the Rocket Pitches, she was better able to provide eye contact to everyone in the circle Zach did a great job of engaging all sides of the classroom, but tended to stand in a forwards orientation Rather than sit at a place in the square with a table, Caroline chose to sit on the outside without a desk, perhaps she thought that to get the most work done she needed to be isolated from the conversation People tended to group with their friends or learning groups, much as the same that we observed with the past experiment There were less people using their laptops with the new, more intimate setting Zach was more mobile than usual, constantly pacing and changing his orientation Not having the televisions behind the class meant that zach had to turn around to see the people rather than being able to look directly forwards The lighting is bright in this room but either recessed or towards the sides with the wall sconces, the lighting seemed to aid in peoples attention Being uninhibited by space the small space at the front of the classroom seems to be aiding zach greatly The atmosphere of the classroom is less formal, more inviting for people to talk. Zach is pacing around, joking with people. Monday morning at 8:30, could that affect the outcome? People more tired? The closer proximity of students is affecting both their engagement as well as zachs engagement with them Students are engaging with those or either side of them more actively in a more intimate environment The flat nature of the room seems to put everyone on a level playing field, aids in engagement Zach standing vs everyone sitting lower than him gives him a better platform and makes him seem stronger, enables him to approach the student asking the question Zach moves towards the slides as he changes and introduces them, and away from them and towards the class when the discussion of new slide takes place Besides us, only 6 students use their laptops in class Zach mainly stays in the center of circle, leaves the square when activities are taking place, creates clear differentiation of when he is speaking and when he is not To engage with students at front/facing backwards, zach exits square Engagement is notably higher than on a monday morning in usual classroom People who don’t normally speak that much interact more Zach can give students the word, even though they don’t hold their hands up Caroline is further away than normal and seems disconnected Zach is having an easier time engaging all students of the class is and is making a more fluid, conscious effort to get everyone involved Zach being closer to students seems to make hand gestures and body language more important, he is doing even more than usual. Building on this, he can also make jokes easier that relates to the audience. The way the light is recessed, he seems to stand under one center which projects liight onto him, improves his effectiveness Not nearly as much cell phone use with more open, airy, intimate setting Perhaps a streamlined office and desk setting can free people from distractions and make them more engaged More informal room provides more information discussion format People are able to more easily engage with each other- better eye contact around the room Everyone seems to be doing a better job of building off of each other's points and agreeing/disagreeing with each other, how does room play a role in that? People that sit next to other students that interact a lot are more inclined to jump in. Look at chanika, monica, hugo, carlos. The lack of laptops is helping people focus on videos and the media that zach is showing The two screens are helping people focus on the videos Zach sat on table at times, made the room feel more informal posture is better in this class because the chairs don't recline although people have slouched or leaned forward more over time When working on rocket pitch hooks, the hollowed square enabled people to engage and make eye contact with peers Speakers opted to stay on outside of circle rather than go to the hollowed area, some people did not change their body position to see them better
Insights from “Hollow Square”
When conducting the last experiment, which we would like to call “Hollow Square”, we made some interesting observations. Firstly, the level of interaction was remarkable, both among the professor (boss) and the students, and also between students. The fact that people were facing each other made eye-contact possible that further fueled the engagement of the students. The idea is that people who are working on a common goal in a room when in large numbers have a better chance of reaching the desired outcome when they face each other. This enables higher engagement and equal contribution from all, thus making sure the resource the company hires is leveraged. In working environments, from time to time knowledge workers work in groups, which should be executed in a similar environment to the hollow square we used in the experiment. This is something that our target persona, a knowledge worker of the millennial generation around the age of 26 in an industry such as financial consulting would appreciate since it would address their pain points. It is important to note that our experiments and observations supported the fact that different workers, age groups, and industries had different needs and preferences in the workspace. Based on this insight, we have concluded that while there are certain workspace changes that cater to our persona, trying to paint the workspace with one broad brush, or only looking at it through one particular lens, can be dangerous. For this reason, our proposed solution is flexible and would need to be adjusted based on individual workers or a workplace culture in general.
Building off the observations, the lighting that was in place in the Needham/Wellesley room was brighter in the center of the room. This put even more emphasis on the professor and helped the students to focus on him when he was talking. The lighting is therefore part of our basis for the solution, since the lighting and placement of workers were seen to have the most impact. This would most likely be true for a lot of workplaces, the key is to find out in what manner
A similar idea as the hollow square could be applied to the work environment for a knowledge worker. A version of the solution could have been to just arrange the workplace as a hollow square, with the boss/supervisor in the middle. After going over old interviews and observations from the experiments comprehensively, we determined that adding the lighting aspect would make it an even more effective solution. The lighting solution would then be to instead of having evenly distributed lighting in the office, the center of the room where the boss sits would have more lighting. The peripherals of the office would have a dimmer lighting, with the ability to be changed if needed.
From observations made at the three different “third places/spaces”, the coloring was also imperative to the ambiance and engagement of the people present. Adding customization in this regard to the workplace, for example an introduction of temporary wall-papers or backgrounds for different office styles would add further value.
Apart from coloring, the background noises were shown to have a part in engagement and interaction from our observations. Adding a customization in this regard, such as optional background music in certain areas of the office would be part of the overall solution. The basic solution of the boss in the middle and area specific lighting would be accompanied by adjustable coloring, background noise and other activities to produce a comprehensive office customization solution. The customization should focus on the demographic of the office as well as the task that the knowledge workers are performing. At this point in the process, this is the best solution we have but we know that future experiments are needed to uncover what the most optimal solution would be.
One aspect that would be crucial to test in future steps would be to see the different reactions to the solutions to different office environments and tasks. The previous experiment “Classroom Scramble” showed us that the task can have a large impact to the engagement. This could imply that different companies or divisions might react differently, simply because the task at hand is more or less complex. An interesting comparison could be between a smaller design focused tech company and a finance department of a larger investment bank. An initial step moving forward could be to test small, incremental changes in the aspects of lighting and coloring. Lighting could be to increase lighting in the middle or adding dimmers to the peripherals of the office. In regards to coloring non-permanent wallpapers could be put up, to find out what effect this would have on the professionals in the office. Many interviews have touched upon a subject best described as the ability to customize the work environment. “When I need to really focus and do work, I go to my office to be alone.” A step in the future would be to brainstorm how this solution could use the concept of customization to its benefit, and therefore being more effective in increasing engagement when wanted/needed.
If this project would continue beyond today, some external source of feedback would be beneficial. Up until this moment we ourselves have been observing the experiments and even the professors in the experiments (Nathan and Zach) have been aware of what was going on, albeit not entirely informed of the purposes behind the experiments. In forthcoming experiments, decreasing the role of our LEAP team could give us a broader understanding of the implications of the experiments. In an ideal situation, we would setup an experiment and observe it progressing, but then receiving feedback from e.g. the boss at the office without any risk of us biasing them in their responses. The experiments play such a vital role in how we would be move forward, it would give us far more insight if we opened up for other perspectives when evaluating the experiment.
LEAP Final Presentation
Engagement in the
Alfred Schofield, Hugo Oftedal,
Rishita Shah & Arabella Purwada
Engagement and Acknowledgement
Young professionals in the workplace
Engaging knowledge workers in the workplace
Evolution of Problem Statement
Students at the back shifted towards the front, affected their
Interaction undoubtedly went up, Professor Nathan Karst
helped to confirm this analysis
Location and the task at hand impacts the ability to engage
New Classroom Arrangement
Interview and Analysis
We spoke to knowledge workers who experienced a
change in environment due to relocation:
Laurie Krigman - Finance Faculty
Matt Allen - Entrepreneurship Faculty
Caroline Daniels - Entrepreneurship Faculty
Ken Mattson - Career Development
Amy Blitz - Economics and Management Faculty
Small sample size and age group of the knowledge workers gave us only a gist of what impact
relocation had on their engagement.
There were mixed responses to the relocation.
Relatively new professionals felt more accepted after the relocation.
People who have been working for a while thought that relocation either didn’t affect or negatively
affected their engagement.
Higher engagement not necessarily meant higher productivity.
Emphasis on an open and well lit workspace
Relocation had more impact when workplace was drastically different, minor change didn’t impact
much.(Eg: Building change, new location.)
Redesign the workplace, emphasis on lighting and central
placement of the boss
Would simplify engagement for knowledge workers,
especially our target persona
Addressing several pain points discovered over the course of
Customization in regards to color, background noise and
How can it be implemented in an office setting?
How would people react in a working setting?
Try in different settings, possibly better viewed
People might enjoy customization of workplace more than engaging with workers, put emphasis on this
aspect when observing future experiments
Increase point of view from outside of the LEAP team, receive observations from other participants