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Workplace control

Choice and control are an essential foundation to employee well-being, stress-reduction, and improved engagement. Control is the capability of individuals, groups, or entire organizations to modify features of the physical workplace, and choose location, type of workspace, time, and how to work, to better support their work needs and business goals. Having the ability to work at locations other than the office, such as the home, or other locations such as co-working space or a satellite office, using room reservation technology, is a growing part of user control.


Research shows that lack of control over lighting levels and air quality can have a negative impact on satisfaction and performance. 

The availability of environmental control can give people the capability to directly respond to a work situation that constitutes a “threat” to well-being, and potentially mitigate the intensity of that stress response. The concept of control includes: knowledge of how to act on capabilities (technologies, location of space types, etc) that provide control (provided through programs and training), policies that support control through choice of location and time of work, and design characteristics of the workspace and technologies that enhance control.


Offer a room reservation App and backend technology to allow users control to select the best space type and location for work as needed.


Stay on top of changes in technologies that will allow users to fine tune their lighting and air quality environment to suit their needs, and to building control systems that “learn” about user needs and adjust the air and lighting systems accordingly to protect performance and well-being.


Control can be provided through a wide variety of architectural, interior, and furniture design features (such as flexible meeting spaces, movable partition walls, unassigned workspaces, movable storage units, seating, adjustable shelving, task lighting, monitor arms, etc.).


At the floorplate planning level, the availability of zones or a “territory” offers a sense of ownership/control to teams or departments control that can mediate the impact of stress associated with crowding or density.


At the micro (workspace) level, a worker may be able to define their personal territory within their workpoint with objects or arrangement of furnishings if the existing walls or partitions do not provide adequate boundary control.

Read more

If you want to learn more, we suggest the following resources:

How to create a legible workplace. WorkDesign Magazine. 2015.

De-Stress the work experience with a new language for office design. M. O’Neill, 2020.

Jayson DeMers. Research says this is the secret to being happy at work. NBCNews. May 22, 2017.

Daniel Wheatley. Autonomy in Paid Work and Employee Subjective Well-Being. Work and Occupations, 2017

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