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From Building-Centric to People-Centric Workplaces

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Workplaces|From Building-Centric to People-Centric WorkplacesFor decades, corporations put little thought into employee workspaces. The mindset of “one person, one desk,” left workers imprisoned in a sea of grey cubicles. More recently, organizations have played with open office plans and Google and Facebook-esque spaces that include beanbag chairs and basketball hoops, all in a ploy to attract and retain younger workers.

While the overall look and feel of an office space from an architectural and interior design standpoint can have its appeal, the true crux of the matter is how well the space enables and facilitates work.

Even before the pandemic required most workers to work remotely from their homes, employees were making demands for more flexible work situations and escape from the 20th-century office straitjacket. Agile working, hot-desking and the gig economy were already shifting attitudes away from the limitations of that one desk mindset.

Today, with good connectivity widely available, easy access to the internet and effective file sharing, any space can become a workplace and the pandemic proved that to all the remaining hold outs. At the same time, the pandemic also revealed the advantages and efficiencies of occasionally coming together face-to-face.

In the post-pandemic era, business leaders have an opportunity to shift the office space paradigm and give consideration to how their offices can operate in a way that enables and facilitates work. Specifically, the workplace can become a tool for organizational change. A 2019 Harvard University study revealed that organizations with a more employee-centric approach to office space see a reduction in absenteeism and staff turnover, and experience as much as a 16 percent rise in productivity.

Use these strategies to embrace 21st-century fit-for-purpose workplaces:

  1. Consider user experience. Creating a productive and innovative working environment requires understanding when, where and how people need to interact. Offer diverse work settings for the different functions people perform, along with areas to collaborate with colleagues, socialize or just take time out to think and relax. Ask yourself what behaviors you want to encourage, and then construct a setting that promotes and supports them.
  2. Create a dynamic ecosystem. Old attitudes about the office as a place where people merely put in their time must be replaced by new impressions of the office as a place where employees can up their game, give their best and deliver greater creativity and innovation. The challenge is to create workspaces that enable knowledge and information to be communicated effectively in an open and collaborative environment. This may mean bringing technological infrastructure up to speed and fit for purpose. To deliver 21st-century workplaces, there has to a joining of the dots between property, people and technology.
  3. Design workplaces to support wellbeing. Alongside employee productivity, take a holistic view toward engaging your people. For example, if people make use of the office regularly, they will value having a workspace they can personalized as opposed to relying on hot-seating arrangements that can lead to musical chairs. In a nutshell, a great workplace must be an investment in space and an investment in people in equal parts.
  4. Allow flexibility in where people choose to work. Put people in control of their work-life balance. The extent to which you empower people to make decisions about how they interact within their teams will foster a trusting employer-employee relationship and result in a boost to employee engagement. Further, this leaves you free to concentrate on the constructive management of aspects that contribute to the bottom line.
  5. Make decisions that reflect corporate values. The ubiquitous nature of social media means that society as a whole has its eye on your corporate values. Considerations such as engagement with the surrounding neighborhood, use of sustainable building materials and other socially responsible practices can meaningfully contribute to your brand’s status.

Every organization must now formulate its strategic thinking around turning placemaking into profit-making and creating new, more meaningful solutions for the workforce and the workplace. In order to deliver 21st-century workplaces, there needs to be a convergence of approaches to create workplaces that inspire employee engagement, foster creativity and increase productivity, while also improving a company’s capacity to compete and create value.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Chris KaneChris Kane has worked in the Corporate Real Estate sector for over thirty years, having operated as the Vice President of International Corporate Real Estate for The Walt Disney Company, before acting as Head of Corporate Real Estate at the BBC. His new book, Where Is My Office? Reimagining the Workplace for the 21st Century (Bloomsbury Business, Dec. 22, 2020) investigates innovative corporate real estate thinking in the modern workplace. Learn more at www.whereismyoffice.com.

How To Create A Productive Office

StrategyDriven Talent Management ArticleSometimes it’s hard to stay focused when you’re at work, especially if you’re inside a stifling office space on a warm day. Of course, you’d always rather be somewhere else than at work, but what you can do is make your working environment more appealing, more fun, and a productive place to be. If you’re an office manager and you’re considering making changes to the place in order to boost productivity, then your first port of call should be to ask your staff members. Once you’ve got a good idea of what needs changing, and you’ve assessed the suggestions, you can then get to work.

Refurbish

If your office space is looking outdated and is showing signs of wear and tear, then now is the time to consider a complete refurbishment. As long as your budget permits it, gut the entire office in favor of new flooring, freshly painted walls throughout, new and improved desks and chairs, and a reworking of the oppressive overhead lights. Pile the accumulated waste into a dumpster provided by a Dumpster rental Phoenix, so that it can be disposed of responsibly. Clean out your office and strip it back to basics to rebuild an attractive and productive environment.

Encourage Socialization

When it comes to decorating, try and create communal spaces that encourage your team to talk to each other and build relationships. When designing the staffroom, opt for large long couches so that the team has to be convivial and sit next to one another. Prepare group work, and ask that small teams work together to create a final result. Praise the teams for their effort and consideration of others.

Improve Air Quality

Without proper air ventilation, it’s very easy to become unfocused, tired, and to overheat – all of which aren’t going to help your team in trying to be as productive as possible. So, install new ventilation units if the current ones are somewhat lackluster, and keep plants in every available space throughout the premises. After all, not many people object to flowers, fresh greens, and other plants that keep the air clean. Having said this, always makes sure to ask about allergies before adding foliage around the office.

Offer Tea And Coffee

If you work in an office, you’ll understand the importance of caffeinated beverages to power you through the morning. Recognize that your team work hard to achieve their targets and reach their goals, so help them along the way and offer free coffee and tea whenever they might be in need of a pick-me-up. Create an inclusive, friendly environment for your employees, and you might just find that productivity increases tenfold.

Have An Open Door Policy

Your employees need to know that they can approach you whenever they need to discuss something. So, with this in mind, consider operating an open door policy whereby you’re on hand whenever the need arises. Tell your staff that you care about their welfare, their opinion, and possible suggestions about how the office is run and how the company performs. If your team know that you’re there to offer assistance and help them, then they should feel more relaxed, understood, and willing to work hard.

Corporate offices: How to make them fit for purpose for clients

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Corporate Office|Corporate offices: How to make them fit for purpose for clientsAs we all know, offices come in all shapes and sizes. There are some huge companies that still operate in very basic facilities (or none at all) – and have absolutely no plans of adding anymore glamour to them, despite of their huge revenues.

However, there are also some much smaller companies who have invested heavily in their office space. This isn’t necessarily because they just feel the need to work out of snazzy offices, but it’s quite often related to clients. In other words, if they are regularly inviting clients for meetings, they need an office that is fit for purpose. And, fit to impress them above the competition.

So, how can you achieve this without breaking the bank? Today’s article will now investigate some of the ways you can achieve this.

Show off with digital signage

Once upon a time, companies may have left leaflets and other paper evidence of their achievements in the reception area. Suffice to say, technology has taken this over.

Now, bigger things are almost expected by clients. Digital signage solutions from Cenareo certainly falls into this category and if you can show off your business in the most visual form as soon as a client walks into reception, you’ll have done wonders for their first impressions.

Try not to lead them through the main office space

Admittedly, this next point might be somewhat out of your control. However, if your office space allows, try and have separate areas for meeting clients and the space in which the main bulk of your work occurs.

It can be really awkward for clients to tiptoe through the main office space, with all eyes seemingly on them. Not only that, but this is something that also tends to showcase all of the bad parts of your office. Whether its papers strewn all over the desks, or just general clutter, day-to-day working environments aren’t going to do your image any favors.

Provide them a working area

This will differ between industries, but there can be occasions where clients need to work from your offices.
What’s the worst thing that can happen to them in this regard? Being perched on the end of a desk, like a spare part.

As such, have a designated area for clients to work from. Ideally it will be enclosed, and offer them all of the facilities they would have as if they were working from their usual environment.

Sometimes, it’s just offering convenience

We appreciate that budgets are small, and not everyone is going to be able to afford new desk areas, or digital signage. For those of you who fall into this category, don’t discount the power of convenience. From a client’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than not having access to the regular Wi-Fi, or not being offered a hot drink on arrival. These are tiny tips, that won’t cost you much, but can make the world of difference to a client who is visiting.

Why Your Premises Should Emulate Your Brand

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
In the twenty-first century, offices are much more than a set of booths, each one with a tower computer and a waste paper bin. Working environments are now much more user-friendly with opportunities for collaborative working and they are designed to consider the needs of employees to a much greater extent. Your office should emulate the ethos of your brand, be an open, welcoming and bright space, and be the optimum area for the most productive working. Take a look at how you can create your perfect premises no matter what industry sector you work in.

Location

If you run an advertising agency, you need to be in the thick of a city center environment; close to the big brands, next to excellent transport links and amongst other like-minded businesses. Clients will be attending your offices for meetings, to view your latest presentations and to brainstorm ideas for their next marketing campaigns. It’s vital that they have confidence in your credentials the moment they work through the door. Your interior needs to be sleek, modern and a hive of activity. City center premises can be older and more traditional, or you could opt for an office in a more minimalist and modern building depending on the ethos of your brand.

Space

How you use the interior space is up to you. You could opt for a more traditional zonal system where you cater to those colleagues who need to knuckle down alone in more private spaces as well as providing meeting rooms for those brainstorming sessions and collaborative meetups. You may forego the tried and tested cubicles, for a more open, transparent office environment. If you’re implementing something new, you’ll need to utilize the services of an outfit like BCI Worldwide international logistics company who can kit out a brand new office without you having to lift a finger. They use intuitive project management systems and logistics platforms to track all tasks required throughout the lifecycle of your project installation. By outsourcing a project like this, you are tapping into external expertise and networking with fellow professionals to achieve your desired office environment.

Technology

For some businesses, the latest technology is vitally important. For others, it is more of a luxury. Don’t get too hung up on having the biggest, best and latest gadgetry. What’s more important is the staff team that you surround yourself with and the minds that you manage to merge together to think outside the box and create initiatives that enable your business to grow. Having an attractive premises and office environment will hook those perfect candidates attending an interview for a role within your company. They’ll be eager to work in a dynamic space and one that is conducive to being at the forefront of your particular industry.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Your premises can reflect your brand in the most subtle of ways. If you are an honest, transparent and collaborative company, show this off in your office space. By doing this, you can reflect your company’s core values and promote your business vision effectively.

How to Select the Right Office Space

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | How to Select the Right Office Space

The office you choose can determine the success of your business. It is important to find a space that provides the right balance of affordability, credibility, space and facilities. To avoid making a big mistake, find out how to select the right office space for your company.

The Right City

Do you want to compete with your industry rivals? It might be a smart move to find an office space in a flourishing city. For example, a London or New York office space could set you apart from your competitors located in unknown cities or towns, as it will prove you are a force to be reckoned with in business. Picking the right city is just as essential as choosing the right office since it can help boost your business. San Francisco’s CRE market is an excellent example of a diverse area that has a lot to offer. And when looking for an office in this city, you can take some pressure off of your shoulders because you will surely find your dreamed one.

A Safe Neighborhood

Not only must you choose the best city to compete in your industry, but you must also select a safe neighborhood. For instance, if you run a technology company, you will undoubtedly store expensive gadgets and devices onsite, which you will want to protect. A safe neighborhood will not only protect your office equipment, but it will also ensure the health and safety of your employees so that they can travel safely to and from work each day. You must, therefore, discover a safe neighborhood, as well as one that has a professional ambiance like London. Turn to The Workplace Company for help moving your tech company to London.

Transport Links

Transport links are another factor that should influence your decision, as you will need to ensure you can provide an easy commute for your employees. For example, is there a subway or train station nearby? Could employees commute to the office by bus or car? Identify the different routes for different employees and visitors to ensure your workplace is accessible.

Local Amenities

Employees will want to stretch their legs and grab something to eat on their lunch, and you may also want to take clients for a coffee, drinks or a meal to discuss business. That’s why it’s important to make sure there are local amenities close by, so you and your staff are not stuck inside the office, which could impact employee morale.

Building Maintenance

Are you leasing a space inside a serviced office? You will want to ensure the building is well-maintained. Unsightly exterior or peeling wallpaper in the reception area will not impress your clients or visitors, which could create a wrong first impression of your company. Ask current tenants about the building maintenance services and security before you sign on the dotted line.

Room for Growth

Every business owner will want their company to grow from strength to strength, which is why it is important to plan for growth when selecting an office space. For example, if you currently have 20 members of staff onboard, you might want to invest in an office space that accommodates 50+ people, so there is room for growth; otherwise, you might be forced to move offices once again in a year or two.
Do you have any top tips for choosing an office space? Feel free to post a comment below.