What do you say to the worker who wants to leave the open floor plan office for some “heads down” time and privacy, and who ends up working in a Starbucks for the rest of the afternoon?

According to Brady Mick, architect and workplace strategist for BHDP Architecture, “in this scenario, the worker is able to exert personal control over interruptions by merit of anonymity in the workspace and is less concerned with the ambient noise or the security of information. For him/her, privacy has connotations of control.”

Corporations today face a number of challenges to creating the workplace in which workers will be the  happiest and most productive. Even that is a step forward, recognizing that how employees want to work is something that should be considered.

But how to go about it? Companies have a mix of needs they are trying to provide: healthy workplaces, areas for collaboration, zones for private conversations and places for quiet work.

“The answer appears simple,” Mick writes, “construct a working arrangement that has adequate square footage of both private and public spaces with frictionless access to whichever is needed for the function and the role in question. Yet the allocation of square footage isn’t the only consideration in a strategically designed workplace.”

Mick suggests thinking in terms of a workplace’s “hardscape” (walls, cubicles and doors) and “softscape” (colors, materials textures), analogous to computer hardware and software.

“Designing environments that affect the key behaviors necessary to achieve strategic results can be done with effective engagement in the design process. That process includes a strategic analysis of the organization’s needs, their employees’ work behaviors, an analytical appraisal of the current and an intuitive imagination for the future work. Human behavior in the workplace is complex, and when utilized, positively impacts the bottom line,” Mick writes.