Photo Credits Marcus Loke on Unsplash

What is Work Design

Materializing your Future of Work

are developing the practice of Work Design to help teams, organizations and communities to design how to work tomorrow.

Work is an element that has always been ‘made’ and never really designed.
The workplace has always been the focus of design. Work as a holistic human and intellectual experience, indeed, is treated by different disciplines — HR, strategy, management, human sciences, architecture, etc.- through fragmented interventions.
Work Design look at the idea of the ‘second place’- work environments- bringing awareness on the physical, mental and social impact they carry on individuals and teams.
We observed that there are discrete designable elements of work that, if curated purposefully, allow workplaces to be platforms to design and deliver successful product and services, while create fulfilling human experiences:
Methods and processes; tools and spaces; governance and policies are the tangible and intangible elements that we shape together with our clients when we intervene to innovate in their work environment.
We found that orchestrating these elements help our clients navigate the necessary cultural and structural changes to be a successful organization.

Why design?

The humanistic qualities of design, allow to build a structured and systemic way to shape work around the worker’s need. Borrowing from knowledge and patterns that design culture have used to shape social and built environments, bringing humanistic qualities to areas that were just ‘made’ like software, products, communication; we apply a work design framework that allow to evaluate the socio-technical dynamics of your work environment, test new ideas to improve the functions of your workplace and the experience of your work processes, and scale the solutions that allow to reach your strategic and productivity goals.

How we do it? In a designerly way.

Depending on the project, our services have a stronge focus on either space or process redesign. Either way, we always gradually build the relationship with our client following similar stages:

  • We analyze current capacities and typical project scopes — through consultation workshops and shadowing of projects, partaking work sessions and provide help when needed, we immerse ourselves in the work routines of our client, understanding what is truly important to them in their business as usual.
  • We identify thinking and language patterns — to establish an internal line of communication and common understanding of the areas and elements that will undergo changes. On one side these patterns will be peculiar to the organization and its culture, on the other side they will align to reliable Design Thinking and Lean methodologies principles.
  • We ‘objectify’ the work elements — we design mini programs structure specific research, ideation, prototyping, implementation (or any other non-design operation) of each work element. Based on material and space exploration, we co-design tools that fit your requirements and needs, and work session and formats that leverage the richest usage of existing spaces or its redesign for the purpose.
  • We socialize the new framework — we share the new methods , processes and way of working in open sessions and with specific stakeholder groups. Testing them on projects, we refine them and implement the necessary changes in the organization while training teams on their application and implementation of the necessary physical and digital infrastructure.

To do this, Work Design brings together theories and methods from Service Design, Speculative Design and Design Operations. Through a multidisciplinary approach based on service dominant logic, it incorporates contribution from a number of disciplines such as instructional design, data visualization, space and organisational design.

Work Design Objectives and Benefits

  • Improve the Employee Experience: by setting up spaces and tools that naturally facilitate the processes and methods of work in your organization, your workplace will be inlcusive and fulfilling for all.
  • Reach workforce full potential: by curating work holisticaly your workforce community will be enable to produce their best results.
  • Readiness to the future: by adopting collaborative ways of working, you will anticipate the challenges that your near future will present, and update your workplace culture and infrastructures for it.

Work Design is a living toolkit and body of knowledge.
We will publish new editions of each post as we evolve the theory and the framework applied to new projects.

Work Design Portfolio

An emergent practice to design future work environments, curated by Studio Wé.

Work Design Portfolio

This is Studio Wé’s archive on Work Design, curated to showcase projects, methos and critical reflections to design new ways of working and happy work environments.

Antonio Cesare Iadarola

Written by

Co-design consultant | Design PhD | Narrative Environments. Notes on coworking, service design, facilitation, design education | Studio-we.com

Work Design Portfolio

This is Studio Wé’s archive on Work Design, curated to showcase projects, methos and critical reflections to design new ways of working and happy work environments.

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