Aligning property, people and processes to support business ambitions
Imagine you’re the leader of an organisation in 2021. Your organization is looking to permanently adopt a more flexible way of working, and you are not sure yet what this means for your property needs.
You might be asking the following questions:
- How can we successfully establish a new way of working within our organization- one that supports our goals as a business e.g. to be more collaborative or innovative, or to improve our talent attraction and retention
- What types of work spaces and facilities should we invest in now, and in what quantities, to support this new way of working?
- And how much space do we actually need going forward? Should we upsize, downsize or relocate? It’s costly to have too much space, yet it can also be detrimental to have too little.
It’s impossible to answer these questions without a detailed understanding of the organization’s ambition, culture and work.
This is where a workplace strategist can assist. The workplace strategist will recommend a workplace solution that will help the organisation meet their current and future needs.
These needs might include reducing property costs, improving business performance, merging two or more organisations or cultures, and relocating or consolidating occupied buildings.
In an ideal workplace, the amount of space required, and its design characteristics would reflect the and support the work being undertaken, as well as align with the organisations values, culture and business objectives.
The development of the strategy is tailored to the unique needs of the organisation.
It begins with a conversation with leadership to understand the current situation and corporate strategy. And, as with any major organizational change process, the backing of leadership is vital to ensure the strategy is developed in line with their ambition, and supported through to implementation.
Key to the process is participation from all corners of the organization, working especially with different organisational and estate stakeholders (for example, HR, IT, FM) to explore, align and formalize the new workplace processes, policies and practices.
The workplace strategy development can also include these aspects of research, analysis and prototyping:
- Vision development: workshopping and other means to establish a vision for the project, with stakeholders
- Spatial programme development: working with stakeholders to establish the set of spaces and functionalities to be designed for.
- Spatial analysis and building appraisal
- Space utilisation studies, which can include sensor technology or manual qualitative methods
- Spatial demand modelling – projecting future spatial needs
- User experience research – such as workplace experience surveys
- Space budgets and space standards
- Pilot fit-outs (test fits)
- Change management support
- Post-occupancy evaluation
Dependent on project, the development of the workplace strategy can take anything from several weeks to several months.
It’s important that it be completed before any major property or design decisions are taken, as the workplace strategy is what will help shape those decisions.
Depending on the project, the workplace strategist can also play a role downstream in the design process, facilitating and fine-tuning the physical workplace and process as employees experience the new way of working and are able to give further feedback for improvements.
It must be understood that new workplaces rarely work perfectly immediately, the concept needs to be treated as new and should be monitored and tested regularly. The workplace is, like the business, a living system in a constant state of evolution.
The process of developing and implanting the strategy can be a hugely insightful and empowering process for an organization, and help to galvanise leadership and employees around positive, lasting change.
The optimal workplace strategy sets out the priorities required to enable the organization to achieve its ambition, while utilizing space and resources efficiently and effectively.
The resulting workplace solution can help organisations to attract and retain talent, support culture, amplify brand, manage costs and gain a competitive edge.