Recently, a client asked me about choosing the priorities in creating a productive environment. How do you choose where to start? Where you start may not be quite what you think. 

There are fittingly five P’s to the Productivity Process.

1.    Problem
2.    Partnership
3.    Possibility
4.    Plan
5.    Productive Environment


The designer partners with all members of the team to ensure a positive outcome and a smooth as possible process. I say as possible because stuff always comes up on projects. It’s inevitable. The rug installation gets delayed or the plumbing unexpectedly needs to be repaired behind the walls or the client changes his/her mind. Professional office consultants, whether designers or organizers, are familiar with these challenges and will help you through them. Make sure when you choose your project management consultant that he or she explains the process and then is willing to partner with you.


It sounds a bit basic but the most important thing we do is first look at the problem. In a home office, this could be a client’s inability to locate important files. In a growing small business office, it could be the needs for a larger space designed for a more corporate image. I assess the problem in meetings and via questionnaires.  Sometimes the  problem is different for the team than management. The C Suite may think it’s best to move their top execs to one corporate area. But in interviewing the team, we could discover that the engineering department greatly values their manager and wants him located with them. That’s a real-life example from one of my clients. He opted to stay with his team.

In fancy design speak, assessing the problem is called Programming. Yes that’s another P but other than people in the design/architecture/construction world, who uses the word Programming? Programming is the initial information gathering phase, which includes assessing the space, determining goals, budget and time frame as well as a host of other variables. You can read more about Programming here .

If the team doesn’t take time to determine the problem, then the solution may not fit their needs.


When it comes to productivity systems and design, the possibilities are endless. There are countless project management systems from Asana to Base Camp to a customized solution. There are dozens of desks and conference tables and office chairs. And are you feeling overwhelmed yet? The infinite possibilities can make the process feel stressful. When I work with clients, I show high, middle, and low – price options. Most clients will mix and match – an expensive ergonomic chair with a middle end desk and low-priced accessories for example. Possibility needs to be seen in the framework of a budget and a timeline.

This phase is called the Schematic Design Phase. It’s where the solutions to the problem meet the endless possibilities for solving it. It’s schematic because at this point nothing is final. So scheme away because when it’s still only on paper the sky is the limit!

I don’t want you to be here reading all day. Who has time for that? Stay tuned for the next ezine for the next 2 P’s of the Productive Environment Process.

Ready to spring into the third quarter with greater productivity than ever? Please contact me for a Workplace Assessment  Let’s get on a call  I would love to help.

Productivity by Design™



Designed by Brand Scrubbers
@2018 Productivity by Design™

Catherine Avery
Productivity by Design
357 Commerce Drive, 1104
Fairfield CT, 06825.

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