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'Hackspaces’: A Future Workplace Essential EVERY Workplace Should Have!

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

So, here it is. Your exclusive high level introduction to the concept of 'hackspaces'!.👇

I'm going to share insight with you on what a hackspace looks like, how you can create your own and some of the great insights you can expect to gain from having them in your workplace.

So, what exactly IS a '#hackspace?'

Ok, so in short - #hackspaces are a simple, adaptable and highly effective future workplace essential that can be easily incorporated into your existing workspaces.

Each hackspace is a specifically dedicated and (sometimes 'zoned area') that not only provides a specific purpose but also provides the most suitable physical environment, tools, tech and furniture solutions your employees will want and need to carry out their specific workplace activities as effectively and accessibly as possible.

The idea behind #hackspaces is that you WANT your employees to hack the areas to make them spaces work FOR THEM.

(I'll explain the importance of this later on)

By introducing a variety of hackspaces you're not only creating opportunity for employee empowerment and workplace independence but a space that promotes choice and flexibility.

(I'll elaborate on 'variety' and what's the point of this shortly)

You're also able to assess and learn through the behaviours when these spaces are being utilised, what exactly your employees want and need as part of their #workplaceexperience.

What's the result of #empoweredemployees?

(You got it!)

Happy people!!! 😃

Happy people = Improved #employeeproductivity, #engagement, attendance and #performance.

Who exactly will a #hackspace benefit?

A hackspace has multiple benefits in multiple workplace settings for multiple workplace scenarios.

(Ok, I'll be a bit more specific...)

Perhaps you have a regular influx of different candidates coming in for workplace training, you're trying innovative ways to entice the youth in your workforce to return to the office one or two days a week, or maybe you have a large workforce comprised of lots of smaller teams that often want to work together in different ways to carry out varied tasks.

Maybe you have a smaller workspace but still want to provide as much flexibility in your workplace as possible or perhaps you have a small budget and are not in a position to invest in an entire workspace transformation right now.

Or, perhaps you have some new tools, innovative tech or furniture solutions you want to try out, test or evaluate before you invest into a supply for the entire workplace that may or may not be effective or fit for purpose.

As part of a fully inclusive design, it's vital to promote diversity of choice and employee independence. By give your employees the opportunity to decide how THEY feel THEY best work with the tools, spaces and environment you can provide them with - you will see the return tenfold through the results.

As employers, it’s not our job to tell employee's how to work, where to work or how to feel at work. (Sorry to say this - OK, sorry/ not sorry because it's true)

As inclusive and diverse employers, is our job to provide the choice, flexibility, tools, technology and support that our employees need to carry out their jobs as efficiently, creatively and effectively as possible.

It's no coincidence that there is a strong correlation of employees feeling empowered with their levels of productivity and performance.

Why bother having a hackspace???

As a result of the pandemic, the drastic move from the workplace to home and hybrid working - the ways our employees work, think and carry out their daily work duties has changed.

Employers are still learning how to adapt their workspaces to better support these new ways of working, what these 'flexible' and 'accessible' workspace solutions should look all whilst trying to work out how they can provide a workplace experience worthy of the commute.

For context around the versatility of hackspaces; we've created hackspaces incorporating biophilic design elements - and assessed the direct impact vs spaces without.

We've created hackspaces specifically supporting those with neurodivergent needs such as ADHD and autism with specialist furniture solutions, booths and sensory accessories.

We've created hackspaces to better facilitate, training related activities and even hackspaces that promote various innovative technology for feedback and further analysis before making decisions that directly impact the wider business.

The beauty of it!

A hack space is as flexible and adaptable as you want it to be and it provides an opportunity to assess, observe and evaluate just how effective the idea and concept of what you're trying to consider is before you roll this out on a larger scale.

Hackspaces create intrigue, curiosity and the ability for you employees to try new ways of working So long as you carefully promote them in such a way - you learn very quickly what works - and more importantly, what doesn't.

So what should a hackspace look like?

The first thing to remember is that you need to ensure you create clear boundaries between the hackspaces and the workplace layout.

There are tons of suitable flexible furniture and flooring or even partitioning solutions available you can use to do this.

(They don't need to be expensive - we've just delivered some of these using items the client already had elsewhere in their building that weren't being utilised that they hadn't even considered using!)

But the key is that you keep the spaces accessible and visible. It's very important to be able to see in and out ...

(for the measurement and evaluation process which I detail about further down)

It's SO important that your hackspaces are are easily accessible and inclusive.

You want to attract and encourage as diverse an audience as possible into these areas - those with hidden disabilities included.

You will also want your hackspaces to provide the appropriate environment for the activities being carried out in that particular area.

For hackspaces where you want to promote creativity and collaborative style activity working, think inspiring and engaging spaces that create intrigue and depth.

You want to provide a mix of easily moveable and flexible furniture solutions such as moveable whiteboards, zoom functionality, moveable screens and charging facilities.

For solo and focus style working think calm. Pods or booths, an environment that represent nature and retreat - away from the noise of the hustle and bustle of the open workplace or hallways and social areas in the building.

My experience tells me that there are a number of key components when creating effective hack spaces, all of which i can share with you in more detail as part of our workplace consultancy - one of which is making these areas bookable.

You want to be able to gather as much insight and data on the utilisation, occupancy and frequency in which these spaces are being used and visited.

Data such as duration, occupant number and which hackspaces specifically are being more frequently booked amongst many other useful insights will come in very useful later down the line.

In terms of technology, hackspaces provide a great opportunity to explore the tech you want to try out first and gain invaluable feedback having tried and tested with specific teams.

Or integrate with specific styles of working before blowing an entire budget on a supply for the entire workplace that turns out actually isn't fit for purpose after all.

Observation, evaluation and the learnings

The most important element of a hackspace is the people using them.

Therefore it is vital you gain feedback, insights and data.

This way you can learn what works and is effective and what is actually contributing to your employees workplace experience - and provide more of that, and less of what doesn't.

Have your employees SHOW YOU how your workspace of the future should look - instead of guessing and blowing your budget on something you think 'looks nice.'

By implementing hackspaces and evaluating them thoroughly you learn very quickly how you can adapt your workspaces more efficiently to better support your employees work activities and experience.

As part of our inclusive design process, our architectural interior designer associates carry out pre and post occupant analysis a number of ways when we assess our clients spaces.

It is worth noting that hackspaces are just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle when it comes to creating inclusive and productive workspaces but it’s definitely a great start in the right direction.

The results (the best bit..!)

By providing your employees with inclusive and more productive working environments and even introducing just some of basic biophilic design principles, here are just SOME of the results you can expect to see..

· 13% improvement to workplace wellbeing

· 15% improvement to productivity

· 22% reduction in use of medication in health care environments

· 23% increase on what hospitality customers are willing to spend

· 25% improvement to learning in education environments

· Significant reduction to neurodiversity symptoms, ADHD for ex

· Reduced staff turnover

· Larger and more diverse talent pool

· Improved sense of community & unity

· Reduced absenteeism & sickness

· Employees (particularly the youth) actually WANTING to come back to the workspace…

Our sustainable and environmentally friendly way of designing workspaces means you're increasing biodiversity, reducing your carbon footprint, running energy efficient workspaces (more savings!)

All whilst helping to conserve natural materials AND do your bit for net zero.

It’s a WIN.WIN.

Creating your own hackspaces

If you want to learn more about how to successfully implement or monitor these spaces, our workplace consultancy can further support with this.

Or if you’re ready to begin creating your fully inclusive workspace, our market leading architectural interior #biophilicdesign associates can start supporting you to adapt your workspaces to be healthier, happier and more productive.

What's Next?

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For now, over and out.

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