It is no secret that the business and technology environments have evolved dramatically in recent years. With everything else rapidly changing, the physical workspaces that organisations occupy need to respond as well. At TMS, we are taking proactive steps to align our workspace and workforce so that we can optimise our performance moving forward. Effectively designing your workspace to enhance engagement, collaboration and innovation is an important step to increasing the ROI on your office space!
Many offices and workspaces are, unfortunately, viewed as one and the same. Organisations still view the workspace as a costly but necessary asset. As a result, they tend to focus on the cost-efficiency of the premises, as opposed to the value it may be able to produce.
The Harvard Business Review article ‘Workspaces that Move People’ states that “Once a company has identified the pattern it’s trying to achieve and how the pattern affects outcomes, it can begin to calculate the value of workspaces, not just their costs”. By this reasoning, not all office designs will produce a positive ROI. For example, attempting to design the workspace to improve sales may differ from attempting to foster creativity and innovation. The objectives of the workplace design must align with the organisation’s strategy and the organisational culture must also evolve to meet the challenge of the new ways of working.
At TMS, we understand the importance of collaboration and innovation to the long-term success of a firm. In order to nurture these key values, we encourage our workforce to be more agile, work remotely, and spend time building relationships and collaborating on important work rather than being captured in the ‘office’ or ‘at the desk’.
What you can do?
How can you design your space to enhance engagement, collaboration and innovation? Forbes recommends, in their article “Avoiding the Digital Dustbin”, to ensure that your space is:
- Suitable for teams
- Reflective of your culture and brand.
A flexible workspace encourages spontaneity. This will help design the space for the “innovation you see when people collide” (Scott Birnbaum, Vice-President of Samsung Semiconductor). An inspiring office plan which utilises natural lighting and exterior views is shown to spark and maintain creative thinking. It is believed that the most effective collaboration occurs in teams of up to 8 people. Your workspace should enhance the effectiveness of small teams by providing areas dedicated to their use. Employee engagement and willingness to change will be developed by enhancing your internal culture and developing your workspace to connect the individual’s efforts with the team’s achievements.
Additionally, TMS believes your organisation should adapt their culture as technology evolves. It is now crucial for companies to design their workspace and operations with technology ‘built-in’, not ‘bolted-on’. Forward thinking companies are designing their workspaces to incorporate a physical and digital presence that works as one.
Take the revolutionary New York HQ for the marketing agency “Barbarian Group” for example. This space incorporates a 400 square metre ‘hot-desk’ that can accommodate almost 200 individual employees, team meetings and recreation. The firm’s infrastructure is almost completely wireless, portable and securely accessible. Each employee is encouraged to use this flexible working arrangement to suit them personally. This workspace is a great example of building a workspace to foster collaboration, technology and brand culture.
These principles can help you remove physical and psychological barriers to collaboration and teamwork. Once you view your office and work habits to be critical to your company’s success, you can start to improve the ROI of your workspace.
To learn more about how to get the most value out of your workspace and workforce, contact the team at TMS Consulting via email@example.com.