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A West Perth business has taken a positive approach to its work environment, and results so far are promising.

p Catie Low

WHILE a well-designed work environment can play a vital role in the success of a business, sadly, it’s often not very high on management’s agenda.

Market Equity’s new office in West Perth is an example of how management goals can be achieved through a carefully designed work environment.

A push for better communications across Market Equity’s different departments has led to the open-plan design.

And despite initial concerns about the open-plan style, designed by Marshall Kusinski Design Consultants, the new space is leading to some interesting business outcomes.

Market Equity director Julie Beeck said one of the goals of the new office design was to cut down on inefficient communications, including excessive use of inter-office

e-mail.

“From a production point of view there’s no doubt people feel like they’re using their time more efficiently,” Ms Beeck said.

“At each stage we got employees involved and got their input … so people could buy into it (the design) and take ownership.”

Staff were asked to consider aspects of the old office that they wanted to take with them and to consider what should be left behind.

The natural light that floods the new office is testament to the importance of contact with the outside world.

The open-plan design allows staff to work more closely as a team and cuts down on unnecessary communications, as information is disseminated almost by osmosis.

“What we saw was the opportunity, through the physical design of the office, to facilitate greater contact between people,” Ms Beeck said.

“The implicit knowledge of who’s around – it’s almost a hidden level of contact.”

Market Equity managing director Dean Harris said that, as the core of the business was to help other people make profitable decisions, this provided the opportunity to better support that exchange of knowledge.

“Our previous office environment was nice but people worked in isolation, although we were looking for outcomes of a team operation,” he said.

The warm reds and greens and bright open spaces work well with the balcony space and quiet rooms, all designed to offer staff a number of options depending on the nature of each day’s work.

Marshall Kusinski Design Consultants director Kathy Kusinski said Talia, the designer, had an affinity with colour and wanted natural colours to flow through the space.

“It was an exciting project because we had a client who gave us a brief we always wanted,” she said.

“We’re always trying to push clients beyond the norm. It’s another example of good design and strong management

principles coming together to create a more effective work environment.

The unusual V-shaped workstations actually allow for better use of floor space without sacrificing a sense of personal space.

This clever design has enabled Market Equity to include a telecentre in the new office, not a common feature at other West Perth addresses.

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