Busting the workplace myths
The best workspaces are ones that are closely aligned to the real – not assumed – needs of the organisation and its people. This requires a clear understanding of people, processes, space, work settings and technologies, and the way these all interact, to build a true picture of your workspace needs.
In any business, it’s not unusual for workplace myths and preconceptions to spring up, which may not always fit with reality. It may be assumed that you’ve run out of space, when in fact space is underutilised over the course of the work week, but with bottlenecks on certain days and at certain times. You may think that you don’t have enough meeting rooms, when in reality some meeting rooms are oversubscribed while others are underused, or that the booking system doesn’t make it easy to cancel or reallocate bookings.
Separating fact from appearance requires a systematic approach, which is the goal of workspace analysis.
The workspace analysis toolkit
Workspace analysis brings together data from a range of sources to give a true picture of how your organisation currently operates and how space and technology is consumed. It combines quantitative and qualitative information to build up a holistic picture of your workspace needs and the beliefs and attitudes of your people towards the workspace.
Occupancy survey – quantifies the real usage levels of desks, meeting rooms, breakout spaces and other areas versus perceptions
Space utilisation – looks more broadly at how the space is divided up between individual desks, meeting rooms, breakout and social spaces, and other kinds of spaces and furniture, and how effectively this maps onto the day-to-day activities of the business
Storage audit – measures how much storage space you have, both shared and allocated to individuals, and how much of it is in active use
Process mapping – understands the different activities your teams undertake, how they interact and aims to build a picture of dependencies between departments and teams
Employee questionnaire – analyses the specific needs of different users and user groups, the work settings they use, their work styles and preferences, and the level to which they feel supported by the workspace
Stakeholder interviews – gather qualitative information about the attitudes and opinions of different users towards their workspace
Technology analysis – builds a picture of the technologies and devices currently used, how effectively they’re deployed, how easy or otherwise they are to access, and what might be missing from the technology overlay
These sources of data and insight are then combined to build a complete picture of how the workspace is used now, what is working and what’s not, and where the biggest opportunities for improvement are. This information is combined to create your ideal workspace blueprint.
Your ideal workspace blueprint
The results of the workspace analysis process feed into your ideal workspace blueprint, which defines the ideal amount and combination of spaces, work settings, tools, technologies and furniture for your organisation.
This blueprint highlights where your current workspace falls short, and what needs to be improved. It also helps you prioritise your needs, using a performance v importance matrix to highlight the biggest gaps between your current and ideal workspace.
This information is then used as a benchmark for evaluating different workspace options – including whether your current workspace has the right amount of space and attributes to be effectively remodelled, or whether your business will be best served by moving to a new space.
Your chosen workspace consultants can take this process to the next stage, helping you to build comparative evaluations of different options, including remodelling your existing space, and benchmarking the possibilities of other office spaces on the market. In some cases, they may also be able to help you negotiate with landlords and ask the right questions when reviewing alternative spaces.
Ultimately, the decision whether to refurbish or relocate will depend on a variety of factors, including financial drivers, the specific spatial and operational needs of your organisation and your people, the importance of location to your business and brand, not to mention the impact different locations will have on attracting and retaining talent. But working with experienced workplace consultants will ensure you make the decision armed with the best information and insight available.
Whether you choose to stay or go, making the decision based on analysis, insight and engagement with all your key stakeholders will ensure you make the right decision.
Choosing to move premises, or to remodel your existing space, isn’t one that you make that frequently. You need to make sure you make the best possible decision, as you will have to live with the outcome for years to come.
Experienced workspace consultants can help you quantify how the changes happening in your business affect your workspace needs, and identify the ideal combination of space, technologies and work settings to optimally support your people, processes and business goals.
The resulting workspace blueprint can be used to help you compare your existing space with potential new spaces, inform negotiations with your landlord, and act as a brief for professional partners, from property agents to interior design and fit-out partners.
Whether you’re growing, downsizing, restructuring or adopting innovative new ways of working, your workspace is one of your most important assets, and taking the time to make sure it optimally supports your people and the work they do will ensure it drives productivity and performance, both today and in years to come.
We can help you start on the journey
At Office Workspace, we have over 40 years of experience helping clients create their ideal workspace. From workspace consultancy, through to design and build, furniture, technology and ongoing support, as well as helping businesses find the right space for their needs and negotiating with landlords, we can help with every step of the journey.
Speak to our workspace consultants today for an initial no-obligation conversation, by calling +44 (0) 20 8309 0000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.