Guest post by Chris Jenkins, Workplace Director at Peldon Rose
In recent years, the value of effective workplace design has been recognised at boardroom level and increasingly, businesses are acknowledging that an office transformation can positively impact productivity, employee wellbeing, staff attraction and retention and – ultimately – their bottom line.
For a business of any size, an office redesign can be a minefield – particularly when a workplace caters for a range of teams, each with specific requirements, under one roof. Embarking upon an office transformation is a daunting prospect, leaving many businesses wondering how to involve employees, what the process should be and what mistakes to avoid. Without the right approach, an office revamp can become an expensive and time-intensive mistake.
With any office redesign, however small, there are common pitfalls that can be easily avoided. Failing to follow a clear formula for success can lead to delays, mistakes and ultimately an office which does not support the needs of the business as well as it could. Too often, businesses launch into a transformation without the backing of the boardroom, failing to get the support of a leadership team whose responsibility it would be to see the project through to completion. A further risk to a project’s success is not being clear about the motives and drivers for a transformation – hoping for success, but without a clear picture of what success looks like.
Our formula guides businesses towards a forensic analysis, leading to a true understanding of the opportunities for improvement and capitalising upon them by embracing variety and flexibility, avoiding a traditional one size fits all approach. Our blueprint for success also helps steer a redesign away from one of the most fundamental pitfalls – failing to engage the people most affected by the change: employees and failing to take their concerns, requirements and working behaviours into consideration.
Steps to transforming the workplace
Put the A-Team in place
From the conception of a project to its completion, an office transformation needs a leadership team in place to drive a plan forward and over the finish line. A project of any scale will be a challenge and requires a team to take the time to understand and fully identify the drivers of change and foster the project to its successful conclusion.
For a successful transformation you need the A-team assembled – the boardroom, HR, facilities management and IT – the key players to help recognise problems in the office, develop solutions and dodge the obstacles.
Hold a mirror up to the office
Many organisations simply aren’t aware of how their workspace is truly used, but this directly impacts how well it functions. The second step towards a successful transformation should be to hold a mirror up to the business to observe the space and how it is currently working.
Providing a work space that not only accommodates but supports the varying needs and approaches of a host of diverse teams and businesses can only begin by observing them.
Continue to the next page for more steps on how to transform the workplace
Get under the bonnet of a business
Having observed the flows, movement and usage of offices space, the next step is to analyse the information with a view to providing a deep understanding of the inner working of the office, from use of workstations, meeting areas and breakout spaces to ‘in-between’ spaces like reception areas, in order to guide a design that meets the needs of all employees.
To get down to the DNA of a workplace, businesses should carry out a full audit – from a headcount to comprehensive evaluations of how departments, teams and business units interact. By understanding the dynamic of different individuals and teams across an office, you can ensure the future workplace will foster interaction and deliver efficiencies to the business.
Be inclusive and engage employees
For an office transformation to be successful, employees – ultimately the users of the space – should be consulted even before the first designs are drawn up. As part of any project, workshops and interviews with members of the office should be fundamental in shaping the vision of the transformation – to understand the requirements of workers and platforms for different ways of working.
By engaging employees or occupiers from the outset, the project becomes something they are part of and that they have shaped, rather that something that is happening to them without their support or participation.
Develop a data-driven plan
Office design is no longer just an art, it is a science with data driven design creating bespoke workplaces tailored directly to the business and employee needs. Using the data gathered in the initial stages of a transformation, the leadership team and the design team can develop clear solutions and goals for a new workplace and compromise over any conflicting requirements.
At this stage of a project, the new office concept can become a visual reality – revealing a workable, practical and aesthetic workplace design, guided by meticulous analysis to fit the differing needs, approaches and workstyles across different businesses, teams and individuals.
All the strands, from interviews with employees to forensic analysis of the workplace behaviours, should be pulled together to deliver the design blueprint.
Deliver the blueprint
Finally, having completed the observation, analysis, engagement and data assessment phases of the project, a blueprint can be developed. With the support of the leadership team, the design, creative, technical and build teams can come together to seamlessly deliver an office transformation.
Benjamin Franklin commented that, ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. The formula above ensures that businesses considering an office redesign will be in the best possible position to avoid common and costly pitfalls and deliver a workplace which supports the efficiency of the business and ultimately benefits its bottom line.