The need for a new office could be driven by a range of factors – business growth, new processes, increasing productivity. The list goes on. But where do you start when considering a new workplace? Do you understand your workplace requirements and what your people really need to be able to do a good job, and are you providing it?
One size fits one when it comes to workplace design. So before you even start thinking about potential locations, buildings and how much office space you require, understanding your company goals and people’s needs is the first step. You are about to make a significant investment, why would you base any decisions on what you think you need, rather than what you know you need?
What should you think about when considering a new workplace?
Our workplace consultants have experience working with organisations all across the UK to help plan, design and deliver bespoke office spaces which transform performance and culture. Here, they provide advice on what businesses should be thinking about at the very start of your office redesign process in order to really understand your workplace needs.
A top priority is making sure your office space is cost efficient. Are you weighed down by a huge overhead coming from your lease or facilities? Are you paying over the odds for your office space? Is your office energy efficient? Do you have too much space? Answering these questions will help guide your decision on whether a move or refurbishment is needed.
- Working model and habits
Figuring out how much space you need can be done by reviewing your working model and working habits of your team members. If you’re operating a hybrid working model where remote working is frequent, are you wasting money and energy by still providing a desk-per-person 100% of the time, just because that’s what you’ve always done? It’s unlikely this is necessary and you could be wasting potential profit on providing space which just isn’t needed.
How do people across different teams need and like to work in order to be productive and deliver to their best? For example, collaboration tables may be preferred by creative teams, such as marketing, whereas HR or accounts teams may need more privacy and prefer individual working areas which are well sound proofed. The typical modern office is designed with agility in mind, and combine traditional desk space with quiet pods, areas for group work, relaxation zones etc.
By reviewing typical occupancy levels at your current office, you may find that you don’t need additional office space to provide these types of agile work settings. You may be able to reconfigure how you use your existing space, replacing some of your traditional desk space with alternative settings. On the other hand, reviewing working habits and occupancy levels may reveal a need for additional space, or better facilities/amenities, which only a relocation to a new office space can deliver.
Your business’ most important asset is your people. So it’s essential when designing a new office to understand how your people feel about their working environment and the various day to day activities they perform. Do you know how, where and why they work at their very best? Could you improve your employees’ experience?
When thinking about your potential office move, your people should also be at the heart of any decision about location. Where are the majority of your workplace based? Is the new space you are considering near your previous location? Is there free on-site parking? Are there local transport links?
If you are considering an office move to a new location which may increase the cost or length of commute for your team, and impact their work life balance, you must be able to justify the move to reduce the risk of people leaving. Don’t just think about the latest new building in the most central location, with the best amenities because that’s where initial research has guided you. Where is best for your team and your business long term?
- Talent pool
Who does your business need to continue to thrive? Where is your top talent based and is your workplace located near to them? For example, city centre locations located nearby to universities often attract fast growing businesses which need regular access to the next generation of talent. Circle Square in Manchester city centre is a prime example of a popular new business district which has developed over recent years. Thanks to its ideal location nearby to Manchester’s main university campus, the development has seen an influx of fast growing tech companies as they look to capitliase on the access to the nearby talent pools.
What resources do your people need to work effectively? Does your tech and AV set support flexible working? As well a personal desk spaces, are agile work settings such a quiet pods or meeting rooms all equipped with the tech needed to allow colleagues, clients and customers across multiple locations to work effectively and productively?
- Diversity & inclusion
Catering for a range of background, behaviours and neurodiverse needs is vital in meeting employee needs, to create a community where everyone, regardless of their needs, feels inspired, respected and valued. It’s not about ‘designing for all’. It’s about understanding your current and future workforce, being considerate, and adapting design where necessary to create a space where everyone feels comfortable and is able to work effectively.
It’s estimated that around 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning their thinking and learning styles that differ from what’s considered typical. Workplace consultants can help businesses navigate this often overlooked and complex area.
Workplace design can have a huge impact on company culture, and research shows that company culture is crucial to employee satisfaction. In fact, in our recent study of UK office workers, a positive company culture came out on top of a list of 10 factors when we asked people what’s important to them at work, placing ahead of learning and development opportunities and feeling valued.
An office lacking in inspiration, colour, comfort, and where people work in silos is unlikely to ignite an exciting and friendly culture. Effective space planning, branding, colour and social spaces can really inject personality into a workplace which filters down through the team. Think about what your company culture is, and how this could be mirrored through your next workplace design? How do you want people to feel and act when they work in, or visit, your workplace?
How can workplace consultants help you understand your workplace design needs?
Workplace consultants are experts in understanding your business and your people. They learn about how you operate in order to evaluate your current office space and utilisation, and advise on your next move. The process typically involves gathering a combination of qualitative and quantitative data via strategic workshops, employee interviews, wellbeing and inclusivity analysis, space rationalisation, analysing the business structure, and reviewing high level company goals.
They will turn this data into actionable insights in order to create unique workplace solutions. They ensure that the recommendations they make, by using recent data from your business combined with knowledge of workplace psychology, space planning, and office design, deliver tangible improvements directly aligned with your business’s needs.
Do you have an upcoming lease expiry? Do you think your workplace could be delivering more for your people and your business? If you need help answering any of the questions posed in this article then it could be time to talk to a workplace consultant.
Our consultants work with clients across the UK to create transformational workspaces, starting with our in-depth consultancy process. If you think we can help your business., we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with our team easily here.