Human-Centered Design: Prioritizing People at Work

See how to implement human-centered design in the workplace for a happier, more productive workplace. Discover the benefits and key strategies.

Human-Centered Design: Prioritizing People at Work
Hybrid Workplace Expert
May 1, 2023
• 5 min. read
view of a hybrid work office

Human centric work design What does this mean and how can it be implemented?

The concept of human centric work design has received increasing attention in recent years. In the wake of automation and digitalization, we need a human-centered approach to workplace design that puts people's needs and capabilities at the center of the design of workplace environments, processes and systems. Human centric work design aims to create a work environment that maximizes employee:s well-being, productivity and engagement. In this blog, you will learn what human centric work design is, the benefits it offers, and how it can be implemented in different work environments.

What is human centric work design?

Human centric work design is a design approach for work environments that puts people at the center. It takes into account the needs, abilities and preferences of employees when designing work processes, technologies and spaces. It incorporates a deep understanding of human behavior, cognition and emotions, and aims to create work environments that promote the physical and mental well-being, productivity and engagement of employees.

The human centric work design approach is based on the idea that work is not just a series of tasks to be performed, but a holistic experience that affects the physical, emotional and mental state of employees. The approach emphasizes the importance of designing work environments that support employees' needs for autonomy, competence, and connectedness. It recognizes that employees are not mere resources, but unique individuals with different talents, skills, and preferences.

According to studies, employees who work in a human-centered environment are 3.8 times more likely to be high performers, 3.2 times more likely to be willing to stay in their jobs, and 3.1 times more likely to be less fatigued than when these practices are not implemented. Three key elements for the successful implementation of human centric work design are flexible work experiences, intentional collaboration and empathy-based management.

When we talk about human-centric work design, we are talking about the "user experience" at the workplace. However, employees should be perceived less as users than as people with needs.

Therefore, human centric design has the following four principles:

1. humans at the center

workplace design must focus on people and their context in order to create a design that is individually suitable for each.

2. symbiosis

Human centric design tries to create a system in which all parts are interconnected and equal in importance to each other.

3. understanding problems

In order to solve basic problems, they must be understood. Try to understand what underlies the problematic symptomatology and find solutions that change the root causes in the long run.

4. Intervene small and constantly

It is not about finding the ultimate solution and the perfect approach all at once. Design your work iteratively and try to achieve a good result more and more with small interventions. In the process, proposals and changes need to be tested and continuously refined. This is the only way to find out if your solution approaches really meet the needs of the people who are your focus.

What are the benefits of human-centered workplace design?

The concept of human centric work design offers several advantages, which will be presented in the following.

Increased productivity

One of the main benefits of human-centered work design is improved productivity. When work and the work environment are designed to match the capabilities and limitations of workers, they are more likely to give their best.

For example, if a task is too physically demanding for an employee, this can lead to fatigue and thus to a loss of productivity. However, if the task is designed to be easier, the employee can perform it more efficiently and effectively. But this doesn't just apply to physical overload. If a task is too complex and thus requires a high level of concentration, this can lead to errors and thus again to productivity losses. By simplifying the task or providing support such as training or tools, the employee can perform the task more accurately and efficiently.

Increased job satisfaction

Another advantage of human centric work design is higher job satisfaction. When employees feel that their work has been designed with their needs in mind, they are more likely to feel valued and to be more engaged in their work.

Want an example? For example, if an employee has the ability to set his or her own hours or work from a home office, he or she may be more satisfied with his or her work and feel more committed to his or her employer. If the work is designed to be challenging yet doable, employees may feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when they successfully complete their tasks.

Increased wellbeing

Human centric work design can also lead to a better well-being of employees. We're talking here about a way of designing workplaces that minimizes the physical and mental strain on workers and thus reduces the likelihood of work-related injuries or illnesses.

For example, providing ergonomic workstations and tools can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. However, this is also about mental health and stress reduction, which can be achieved, for example, by reducing noise levels in the workplace.

When work is designed to be less stressful and physically demanding, employees are also less likely to experience burnout, which can lead to absenteeism and lower productivity.

Lower fluctuation

When human centric work design is implemented and work is designed to meet the needs and capabilities of employees, companies can reduce employee turnover and absence. When employees feel valued by their employer, they are more likely to stay and show up for work. In addition, companies can avoid mistakes or accidents that could damage the company's reputation by providing employees with the tools and support they need to work effectively.

Increased customer and client satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is also influenced by workplace design. If companies give their employees the right tools and adequate support to perform their jobs effectively, they can improve the quality of their products and services.

For example, if employees are trained to deal effectively with customer complaints, it is more likely that problems will be resolved in a satisfactory manner. In addition, through efficient and effective workplace design, companies can improve the speed and accuracy of work processes, leading to shorter delivery times and thus higher customer satisfaction.

In summary, human centric work design has many benefits for employees and employers. By designing work and the work environment to meet people's needs, companies can improve productivity, job satisfaction and employee well-being, while benefiting from lower turnover, reduced absenteeism and higher customer satisfaction.

To implement human-centered workplace design, companies should involve their employees in the design process and provide training and support so that tasks can be performed effectively. In doing so, workplace design must be regularly evaluated and adjusted to ensure that it remains effective and relevant.

How can human centric work design be implemented?

To successfully implement human-centered workplace design, some key strategies must be followed, which will be outlined below.

Prioritization of wellbeing

The basic approach of people-centered workplace design is to prioritize the well-being of employees. It is about creating a work environment that promotes the physical, emotional and mental health of employees.

Culture of trust

Human centric work design is synonymous with a corporate culture built on trust and respect. It is about creating a workplace where employees feel valued, respected and supported. This includes promoting open communication, listening to employee feedback and involving employees in decision-making processes.


Employers should empower their employees to take charge of their own work and thus make them the focus of their own responsibility. This includes giving employees the opportunity to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their work. As soon as employees have the feeling that they are responsible for their work, they are more likely to get involved and invest in their work on their own initiative.

People centered design approach

When designing work processes, it is important to consider the perspective of employees. The tasks that are most important to employees should be identified, and processes should be designed to support their ability to perform these tasks effectively.


A crucial aspect of human centric work design is the assurance of comprehensive flexibility. Employees have different needs that should be addressed flexibly. This can include offering flexible working hours, the possibility of remote working or the consideration of other personal needs.

Opportunities for growth

Providing opportunities for growth and development is essential to creating a people-centered workplace. Employees should feel that they are constantly learning and developing. This leads to higher engagement and motivation.

Human-Centered Design: Prioritizing People at Work
Hybrid Workplace Expert
Hybrid Workplace enthusiast • Growth & Marketing Manager at PULT