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  • Writer's pictureDavid George

Office Design & Spaghetti Throwing

Spaghetti is still popular on the office design menu it seems. 

I’m drawing parallels of course. 

The “throw spaghetti and see how much sticks” approach to designing flexible workplaces, while tempting, can be seen as wasteful and demoralizing for employees and those funding the projects.

Spaghetti Approach: “let’s drop in this funky furniture that the vendor says worked at XYZ company, so it should work for us."

Can you imagine how this bizarre approach plays out in other industries?

Imagine being a food buyer for a top hotel chain; a supplier chef lays out the most perfect looking bowls of spaghetti bolognaise. The hotel buyer walks past a row of dishes with slight variations with the assurance from the chef that all the customers love these dishes – here’s a wagyu beef one, vegetarian one, a vegan one, a gluten-free one, one without onions, one without salt- the list goes on.

The buyer thinks these looks delicious, tastes one and tells the boss that it's great! 

Next after approval from the boss, keen to show their authority, the supplier suggests they have 50 of each every day sent to their hotel.

That’s 300 spag. bols.

The glossy menu looks fabulous, the dishes look great. The opening day approaches.

Guess what?

Disaster! Only to find that their customers prefer Caesar salad, pizza, tacos, burgers, and only 75 spaghetti bolognaises, and most of those need gluten-free, and they haven’t got enough. 

So customers start shopping around, going to other restaurants and cafes, and soon they have a virtually deserted restaurant and lots of unwanted stock. 

The boss isn’t happy again; time and money has been wasted, and the customers have left.

This is what we see companies doing time and time gain when it comes to configuring workplaces, throwing the metaphorical spaghetti at the wall and hoping and praying it’ll be the right solution.

We must do better. We can do better.

You can't use other people's data to design your offices.

Engaging with employees and using data sets that inform their needs shows that you’re genuinely interested in creating a high performing workplace and experience that works for them.

Capturing tasks, activities and interactions provides the basic data along with location preference and performance provides the best data. 

Following this approach you will have the range of work settings employees need to be productive, not what the a supplier/designer says works for others. 

Worksettings that truly align to and enable those in-office activities.

Yes, it takes time; and ideally there should be some informed, iterative trials and then you will create the highest performing workplace that enables productivity, one that helps attract and retain employees.

And not waste money, time or lower morale.

If you’re looking to create a high performing workplace for your company, skip the spaghetti course and reach out to us.


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