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Workplace Design Thoughts…

“…Schachtel further suggested that it is the security of the mother’s love that provides the background for such openness in the child. According to him, when that love is provided, the child is capable of tolerating uncertainty and newness in the environment. When such love is absent, an unchanging environment becomes a substitute source of security.” (Israel, T. (2003). Some Place Like Home)


As a child, the love of our parents helped us deal with our changing environment. Anchored in the surety of their unchanging love and protection, the child is open the outer environment changing. The absence of this process creates a lack of surety in the child and the child then associates love and security with the steadiness of the environment that has now become a source of love and protection. When that is changed, the child become lost and begin to feel out of place and unsafe.


Workplace Design Process

As designers, asking questions is part of our creative process. In workplace renovation and design, we need to ask specific questions such as, “How long have the tenants worked within the existing space?” Tenants who have been in the space longer will have a greater attachment to the environment and change will be a sensitive process. Similar to the child, if the company (parent) has shown love, appreciation and support towards the employee, then changing the environment will not be a traumatic process. To the contrary, if the employee feels unloved and disconnected to the company (parent), then the employee will associate belonging and security to the workspace (home), rather than the company (parent). The threat of change to that environment can cause trauma, confusion and a sense of alienation. The resultant emotions, behaviors and overall well-being of the employee will be negatively altered and the relationship will be strained. The company should expect the loss of relationship with the employee (quitting) or the distrust of further changes in the company (pessimism and discontent).

We need to consider the ‘resident’ of the space we build, design and renovate. These individuals have experiences and anchors attached to their workspace that need to be considered. As designers, we need to remain sensitive to this reality and refrain from flippant disregard of the ‘old’ for the trendiness of the ‘new’. Relationships and client well-being are the ultimate trends and foundations of a healthy, successful design.

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