Related Article: The Future at Work, Condeco Flexible Work Strategy
Hybrid work has created a new opportunity for businesses to reshape their workspaces for the future.
Hybrid work has created a new opportunity for businesses to reshape their workspaces for the future. With fewer people spending every day in an office, this cultural shift presents a chance for leaders to invest in office design that better serves their business purposes and provides the types of spaces that workers desire.
It also provides an opportunity to find cost-effective ways to reduce their current square footage. To help achieve these goals, digital workspace management software can play an indispensable role in building an adaptable office that is ready for the future of work.
Step 1. Build Around Business Needs
Step one in reimagining your workplace will require putting some thought into what kinds of functions are essential to your business, and how an office can better support those needs. What kinds of spaces are integral to the work you do, and the various roles performed by your employees? What is the ideal balance between meeting spaces (both formal and informal alike) and individual desks? The answers to these questions will differ for every organization, which is also why it’s so important to obtain tools that can help customize your office based on your company’s unique needs.
Does your business host a lot of clients or other visitors? A digital visitor management system can ease the workload of your front-of-house staff while also tracking detailed data on the comings-and-goings of guests. You might also want to consider what types of spaces you’ll need to better host visiting clients, both to make them feel comfortable while at your office and provide spaces where they can get their own work done between meetings.
What portion of your workforce do you expect to be in-office versus remote on a given day, and is your office enabled with the right tech tools to support collaboration between both groups? This is an important consideration to keep in mind when deciding on both the quantity and size of meeting rooms available. There’s no reason for two people to occupy a 12-person conference room to dial into a virtual meeting with the rest of their team, but smaller breakout rooms should be equipped with the same tech to support video calls.
Step 2. Address Employee Desires
The right digital tools can not only be used for scheduling, booking, and visitor management, but also produce data that helps you learn about employee and visitor behavior. What kinds of spaces are employees using most? Are communal tables consistently booked up, with single desks often left unoccupied? Reducing the number of cubicles and replacing them with additional shared workspaces could be a more effective use of valuable office real estate.
A higher level of employee check-ins compared to booked spaces might suggest many employees are taking advantage of unstructured workspaces and setting up shop at the office coffee bar between meetings. If days with high amounts of traffic are also the days that meeting rooms are booked up, that could indicate that employees are using the office primarily for in-person collaboration. Do you need more dedicated meeting areas to accommodate those behaviors, and would having more such spaces available actually encourage employees to come into the office more frequently?
Step 3. Be Adaptable for the Future
The ideal workplace of the future is an adaptable one. As you plan for an office that will better support changing ways of working, you’ll likely be kicking things off with some immediate design updates based on what you already know about your business’s unique needs. That’s all well and good, but you should also prepare to continually adapt the space as you learn more about employee and visitor behavior.
Digital workspace management tools offer an incredible opportunity to gain insights that can lead to more efficient uses of your space, and in turn generate cost savings. In recent research, 78% of business leaders agreed that the pandemic has made them realize that the way they conduct business could be streamlined.
We’ve learned a lot about what makes an office desirable over the past few years, so certain investments are a safe bet: bringing in natural elements like plants and daylight, creating more informal and communal areas, and offering a greater variety in the types of workspaces available to use. So go ahead with your plans to build that new coffee bar and sign the dotted line on the contract with the sustainable design team.
But as you budget, consider leaving room for future updates you might want to make in a year or two and be mindful of any major architectural or structural commitments could be difficult to modify. Creating a physical distinction between individual workspaces and collaborative spaces might seem like a great idea now, but you may discover down the road that the big wall you put up separating the lounge from the cubicles is actually discouraging people from booking those desks.
Consider creative (and less permanent) ways to differentiate spaces, like using different colors, separating areas with plants, or even choosing distinct styles of artwork. Remember: it will always be easier — and more cost effective — to build new structures later than it will be to take them away.
Regardless of your company’s size or business purpose, having the right digital tools is essential to effectively managing your office and gaining insights that will help you create a more effective workplace. Condeco can help you build your ideal office and make sure you’re ready for the future of work.
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