• sarahhigginbotham7

How To Plan For Your Office Of The Future!

There’s no doubt that COVID19 has catapulted the business world into the future (somewhat prematurely for many organisations). Whilst it has been a welcome acceleration for some, many have found it challenging, particularly concerning finances and employee engagement.

Working from home has been a blessing in many ways, allowing people more flexibility, but it is certainly not a sustainable model, nor is trudging into the office to sit at a desk all day.

Many organisations are using COVID-19 as an opportunity to reimagine the future of their work and office to increase competitive advantage. The future for many organisations will be a hybrid model, but how that is implemented will vary broadly depending on the unique characteristics of each organisation.

The future will be all about the office experience. It must be a genuinely attractive place for people to come, offering something that they truly can’t get at home. The focus will be on peoples’ wellbeing and sense of community, bringing people together to drive collaboration, creativity and innovation.

We believe there is no better time than now, to thoroughly review your future office requirements. It’s an opportunity to genuinely challenge yourself in every area of how your organisation works today and give serious thought to how you need to adjust your existing office space or lease a new one to meet your requirements.

So what do you need to take into account when developing your future office strategy? Here are some pointers to help you get started:

Your business:

  • What is the biggest driver for having an office – Impressing clients? Sparking creativity in employees? Driving innovation? Encouraging collaboration?

  • Will your overall business strategy impact your office requirements in the coming years? Are you expecting growth? We recommend building in 10-20% in the absence of more accurate predictions.

  • Can you go paperless if you aren’t already?

  • Can you reduce other storage needs?

  • What equipment do you absolutely need (perhaps it’s time to throw out the photocopier)?

  • Do your people need to be in the office every day? What work can they complete best at home vs best in the office? What is the ratio of home/office work? Can teams use the office on different days of the week? Plan for how the office needs to be used for 80% of the time, as you can always hire external space for exceptions such as your quarterly meetings, public events.

  • How many private offices do you need (perhaps the payroll team no longer need to be in a restricted access room)?

  • Could you share your office space with another company?

  • What are your design and feature requirements as an organisation? What does your office need to say about you? For example, is it an opportunity to make a statement of your commitment to the environment?

Your clients:

  • How many and how often will clients need to visit your offices? Do they need to come to the office or could you meet them elsewhere?

  • What’s the demographic of your clients?

  • What are your clients expecting from your office?

  • How do you want your meeting rooms to make your clients feel?

  • What facilities do you need to offer your clients?

  • How can your brand come to life through your client meeting space?

Your employees:

  • How will you ensure natural light, plants, inspiring views?

  • How will you give people choice and flexibility?

  • How will you ensure a sense of community?

  • What does wellbeing look like to your people and what space do you need to meet those requirements (is it lunchtime yoga? Weekly onsite massages? Place to shower and store bikes?)?

  • What do your people need from the office space to be their most productive? Is it collaboration in which case you need breakout areas for huddles? Is it innovation in which case inspiring décor/art, white walls and glass for writing on and access to plenty of creative materials? Or is it human connection in which case you should focus on social/communal areas like café, kitchen, open plan desks? Perhaps it’s all of those and more?

  • How will you make the office experience align with peoples moral values across environmental and social initiatives?

  • Finally, remember to meet the legal requirements!

To conclude, there is a lot to consider. In our opinion, the more creative your thinking is, the better and so long as you’re putting your people at the centre of your decision making on the future of your office space, you can’t go far wrong, after all, they are your biggest asset!

Photo courtesy of Ant Rozetsky

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