Workplace Strategy.
Why is it necessary when creating a new office?

Planning a new office is a significant undertaking, especially since this is usually connected with planning the next 5 years of the company’s activities as well as substantial costs. At present, when remote work is a common feature for employees, a discussion is still on at companies whether to return to the office and under what conditions. This decision requires profound consideration of a multitude of aspects, thereby the process of office space planning has become even more laborious than so far. So, how to plan a new office based on new rules? How to avoid wrong decisions and unnecessary costs? Who should take part in the process and why workplace strategy is the answer to all the above questions?

When a need arises to change the office or have the current office space rearranged, customers usually address real estate agencies that support them in the process of searching for an optimum building and dealing with formalities associated with the lease contract. They usually engage an architectural design studio, which prepares the entire spatial arrangement design.

Both entities, at the needs research phase, ask the following questions:

⚬   What do you expect as a company from your new office space?
⚬   What role is the office to play?
What are the needs of your employees?
What are the greatest problems in the current space? What changes are of top priority?
How many meeting rooms and of what size do you need
What additional zones do you need?
Where and how should particular teams be located? What are their specific office needs?
What is the company’s development plan?

These seemingly easy questions bring about numerous problems for people running the project. Who should answer them? How should the above information be well and objectively prepared? Whose voice should be included – the President of the Managing Board, the Directors’ or the employees?

Decisions regarding guidelines influence the project of the new office space where the company is going to work for the subsequent 3 – 5 years. It is worthwhile creating it in cooperation with experts, based on objective data and specialist knowledge. Making project decisions based on facts and not opinions or beliefs allows to reduce the risk of mistakes or unnecessary expenses. Referring to a workplace strategy and research results is very useful when settling disputes in the project team, at later phases of the project and when implementing and preparing employees to work in the new office.

What is workplace strategy?

A Workplace Strategy is a “plan”, based on research of your company and defined needs, which allows to create an office in an optimal way, adjusting it to business needs, required behaviours and culture, workstyle, and the needs of your employees.

Such a strategy is supported by theoretical know-how and specialist experience of consultants as well as the result of research carried out in your company. When placing employee needs and business goals in the centre of the process we ask the question: “How can we change your office into an effective tool for work?”.

The emphasis on “your” is very important. There is no single, proper and universal workplace strategy or any golden rule of how to create an ideal office. However, there is a way to create an office for your company – and that is to analyse real needs and adjust solutions to them.

Photo by Thirdman via Pexels

Workplace Strategy helps in predefining and planning the office in the following situations:

⚬   the return of employees to the office and adjusting the office to the hybrid model of work,
⚬   end of the lease contract and the possibility of carrying out rearrangement,
selection of new office space,
change of location and moving to a new one,
change of office layout (e.g. moving from a cellular office to open space),
organization restructuring,
merger with another company, and organisation of common space,
introduction of new ways of working,
cultural change.

Workplace strategy – phases

Creating a workplace strategy is a process that we base on the following phases:

  1.   Analysis – this is a phase of gathering customer requirements and researching the end users’ needs as well as their work environment. The more information one can gather during this analysis and the more profound the entry into the company and its needs is, the better the realisation of the subsequent phase is.
  2.   Planning – on the basis of conclusions from the previous phase, the concept of the new space is created. The principles, goals and the new office project framework are defined. The same goes for employee needs that are to be included in the design of the new office space layout.
  3.   Consultation – the worked-out recommendations are presented and discussed with the project team and the company’s stakeholders. This is a moment for a joint discussion about the created plan and making final decisions regarding the design of the new office.

What does the analysis phase look like and how long does it take?

We base our strategy on researching the work environment and end-user needs. Such research is designed on the basis of our own methodology and many years of experience. The variety of research methods we use allows to select the best possible set for a given project. Which methods we apply depend on the goals and deadlines in the project, the organisational culture and agreements made with the design group. The standard duration of research and creating a workplace strategy is 4 – 6 weeks.

Does the Workplace Strategy extend the project time?

Our customers, frequently worried about the project schedule, ask “Do we have time for research? Doesn’t this extend the entire project?” Our answer is always the same: “Do you have time to make wrong decisions? Do you have time to introduce changes that will not be needed by anyone? Is there time in the project for introducing corrections to the product, which is the office, after this goes live?

Research and workplace strategy based on this constitute a valuable source of knowledge and inspiration on the basis of which real estate agents and architects can select solutions that are the best for the company and consistent with the project goals. By giving yourself time for this phase in the project, you are bringing about the possibility to create office space that genuinely suits your needs.

Why is it worth investing in an office based on Workplace Strategy?

Should you decide to take advantage of Workplace Strategy, you will:

⚬   make the office an effective tool to realise the company’s business strategy,
⚬   optimise costs by deciding on solutions that are really needed by you,
create an office supporting the final work model in your company,
engage employees in the process of creating a new office,
gain effective space, tailored to the needs of your employees,
create space adjusted to the organisation’s culture thereby building the brand image.

The survey and the Workplace Strategy Report were very helpful because they brought together all the needs that had been emerging over the last five years. We are still using the results today.

Kinga Hachuła, Head of Management and Administration, Lafarge in Poland
Photo by Yan Krukov via Pexels

How can Workplace Team support you in the process of creating a new office?

Our team of experts supports customers on a daily basis in the process of creating their workplace strategy. The competencies of the consultants are unique as they have the know-how and experience from different fields (e.g. psychology, work sociology and group processes, wellbeing, architecture). It is worth taking advantage of the skills at hand at an early stage of planning the new office and avoiding surprising problems later.

As an independent company, we cooperate with different real estate agencies and architecture design offices. Preparing clear guidelines for searching for a new building or office layout project facilitates the entire process and finally allows for the creation of effective space.

Get to know our workplace services and find out how else we can help you.

The project carried out by the Workplace Team company was conducted in a professional and reliable manner and the project objective was met. In particular, we would like to emphasise the highest quality of communication, openness to changes during the project, flexibility and full commitment of the Workplace Team.

Piotr Kowalewski, Chief Operational Officer, KRUK S.A.

When is it a good idea to engage an external consultant to work out a workplace strategy?

⚬   When you want to research your office needs profoundly and objectively,
⚬   when you want to balance different perspectives in your company and base the final decisions on an objective opinion,
when you want to decide on solutions that are really needed in the office,
when you feel that you may require the support of an expert and are open to some inspiration,
when you want to optimise project costs and turn the office into an effective tool for work.

Do you want to know more?
Contact the author of the material!

Ewelina Solecka
Your Workplace Partner