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Productive design

Is there a relationship between the design of, and productivity in, offices? Frank Duffy, Matthew Bell (of CABE) and Nigel Oseland of Swanke's were not quite able to put their finger on what it really is that makes an office more productive. Bell cited research by CABE showing how educational achievement is higher in well designed schools, and that people get better faster in hospitals that don't look like prisons. Why shouldn't better designed offices produce more successful businesses? Oseland quoted research showing that you had to get the basic things right first, like temperature and light, but after that it was hard to see what produced benefits, and difficult to separate design from other business issues like incentives, pay and company culture; on the other hand, 'Just because we can't prove it it doesn't mean buildings don't have a big effect on productivity.' Frank Duffy noted a study DEGW has undertaken with CABE into all the available research on office efficiency and design. He described the literature as 'perplexing'. More work needed.

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