Venture Magazine, Author Lisa Starkey.
We all know the feeling: another management-inspired workshop, offsite or, worse still, an action-packed rope climbing, abseiling and orienteering festival, with blindfolded individuals placing their complete trust in their fellow workmates, or heaven forbid, the boss.
Will all this activity in casual clothes really improve workplace culture? Can it actually build trust in a workplace, and more importantly, can it build trust between management and staff?
Workplace environment and culture
Swinburne academic and world expert in an emerging area of workplace design research, Dr Agustin Chevez, doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but his research might just cast some light on a new path to lasting improvements in workplace culture, without a rope or a cliff anywhere in sight.
“My research,” says Dr Chevez, “is about trying to understand the social dimension of space in work environments … how people interact with space to perform work activities.”
A key social dimension, Dr Chevez suggests not surprisingly, is trust. He is researching the issue of trust at work, with his current project in partnership with design consultants, Geyer and its workplace director Laurie Aznavoorian, and Great Place to Work, an organisation that focuses on building trust in the workplace.
The research project is exploring the relationship between trust and the physical environment. What role does the physical environment play in building and maintaining trust?