The office has undergone a rapid transformation and the way we occupy our workplaces has evolved. These changes have been formed out of new ways of working like hybrid working as well as employee preferences of working from home for part, or all, of the working week.
Flexible working arrangements have been influential to these new working patterns and now our workplaces need to respond to these new demands. Many organisations have opted to reconfigure their office space and assess their requirements as a result of more people adopting hybrid working. The Office of National Statistics in the UK reported that 84% of those who had worked from home during lockdowns planned to hybrid work long-term.
Where offices were previously being designed to be occupied 5-days a week from 9am to 5pm with individual desks for each member of staff. While trends have evolved in recent years, the rise of flexible working has changed how we interact with the office, with employees demanding more flexibility at work. JLL has stated their estimation that “due to changes in workplace management and use, by 2030, 30% of all office space will be flexible.”
There is a focus on companies rationalising their office space and restructuring large floorplates to get more out of their space and save on rental costs for underutilised space. Reducing overheads and enabling hybrid working are some of the common reasons for companies to replan their office which will allow them to either reorientate their layout or downsize to a smaller space.
Office space planning is the optimisation of a workplace based on maximising available space to meet user needs.
During the office space planning process, it is important for a business to analyse how their people use the environment and how the furniture and technology all physically fit into the workspace. Understanding the activities and functionality that your workplace needs to cater for will allow you to create a space that maximises space and provides an office that benefits the business and its people.
With more companies embracing hybrid and flexible working policies, there has been an increase in space consolidation and restructuring to reduce rent overheads and save money. Here are some of the other benefits of office space planning:
• Creates a balance between people, space and technology
• Improves efficiency and productivity
• Enhances communication between departments
• Accommodation of future growth
• Reduces floor space
Every workspace should be designed to suit the specific needs of the user which means that every office will look different and operate in its own way. However, when it comes to planning and designing an office space, there are certain steps and methodologies that should be deployed in every office. To ensure that your office is designed efficiently and maximises available space, you should analyse your current workspace, define your needs and then plan your new office space.
Before starting any design work, it is important to understand how your current office is performing. Depending on whether you have surplus office space or too little space, there will be different options available to you. Review your current workplace and look for opportunities to repurpose areas with the help of workplace data, so you can analyse your space based on evidence.
It’s a good idea to carry out a workplace survey to uncover what works for your team members and what could be improved. Asses how much time is spent in each area, factor in IT and communications infrastructure and consider how your staff communicate. If you want to reduce your space or optimise how you use your office, you will need to take the findings of the workplace analysis and use them to drive meaningful change in your organisation.
Once you’ve analysed your workplace, you will need to establish how you want your office to perform and the types of activity it will need to support. Do you want to encourage cross-departmental collaboration, encourage agile working, provide employees with private spaces for high-concentration work or allow space for future growth?
An office can be designed to encourage creativity, improve connectivity or accommodate growth. There may be an opportunity to reduce your office space if your needs can be accommodated in a smaller space. The process of defining your needs is about assessing your ambitions and aligning those with your workplace.
The planning phase is about exploring how your new space will look and feel as well how your workplace can support your business. If you haven’t engaged with a design and build company by this stage, it’s a good time to partner with a specialist so they can help you execute the ambitions for your office. They’ll have a much clearer idea of how the space can be tailored to suit your needs and what the best options are for your ways of working.
The evolution of new working practices is forcing companies to reconsider their office space and search for ways to optimise their environments. While some companies are looking to entice staff back into the office with benefits and other incentives, the big question remains around how companies make the most of their space with reduced occupancy rates throughout the week.
For companies that have extra office space, there will be ways to reduce space to save money on rental costs and overheads. For companies that don’t have enough space, they might not be getting the most out of their staff as the environment could be preventing them from being effective at work.
By analysing your workspace, you can gather usage and experience data based on how your people use the office. This gives you the evidence required to make design decisions which will ensure that you’re getting the most out of your space. You should be regularly checking in on the performance of your office and efficiency within your space.
Speak to a workplace consultant or office design expert to begin your discovery session and look for opportunities to ensure that you’re making the most of your office space.
Whatever your reason for moving, learn what to look for in your new office building, how long your property search will take, and the challenges and opportunities commonly associated with a move.Download now