In the hectic stages of hypergrowth, accurately forecasting the shape and size of your company six months down the line can be complicated. Hypergrowth doesn’t just represent rapid, continuous growth. For a lot of businesses, there will be an ebb and flow with stop-and-go rates of acceleration and expansion. While a business can set predictions for its expansion, having the option to build flexibility into your plans always allows more room for change and fluctuations.
The scenario will be different for every company planning for hypergrowth. For some companies, taking short-term leases and relocating offices might work in terms of helping attract talent and support their plans at each stage of their business growth. Co-working spaces like Fora and WeWork present excellent short-term options for companies that know they will be expanding but don’t want to take on the additional risk of a lease.
Other companies may be in the position to invest in their property early on and therefore occupy an office that they can design and develop to suit their needs. Moving into your office that you can then design to help enable hypergrowth gives you control over the functionality and performance of your workplace.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to selecting space for a hypergrowth business, depending on where you are on the S curve. There is value in developing long and short-term strategies for your space as companies will be in different positions when it comes to selecting the right type of workspace.
When it comes to weighing up which types of space are best suited to hypergrowth, one of the common challenges is around lease terms. Taking on a lease for a property that isn’t suited to your long-term plans might result in your business becoming trapped in spaces that are no longer fit for purpose. Plus, with the potential for change to happen at a rapid rate, the requirements you have one month, may be radically out of date with what you need within six months.
To help a business avoid taking on spaces that will quickly become cramped, landlords and property developers have launched new types of space that give the occupiers greater control over their space. Space options such as Core & Flex and Super-Flex can support your company when you need overflow space or even want to acquire a larger space within the same property without relocating.
When it comes to designing workplaces, most organisations have a series of complex systems. For example, a company typically has connected hardware (file storage, data centres, servers, printers, IoT sensors, “smart” appliances) within a physical infrastructure.
This building contains a workforce that uses tech (workstations, laptops, tablets, phones) to track departments and business operations (R&D, ops, sales, marketing, finances, HR, payroll, operations, accounting, IT). And today, the very definition of “workforce” is greatly expanding as companies connect employees and remote workers, contractors, vendors, and other partners into their workspace.
And this is just the shortlist. As you can see, this is a lot to organise and plan, particularly at scale when rapidly acquiring and integrating these elements. Understanding how these systems can work harmoniously with each other (as well as what doesn’t work) is the key to a robust workplace map.
After intensively studying the activities of people at work within a range of industries, sectors and office environments – we’ve found some analogies. Most people will be involved in similar activities and follow routine work paths throughout the day: meetings, focused work, dining, collaboration and breakout.
Ensuring your office layout accommodates these different modes of work helps create an engaged workforce. These were the findings in a 2018 UK study by furniture company Steelcase. The report suggests 88% of highly engaged employees had control over their work experiences. To help optimise workflows and activities, your people need different areas to support these tasks. These can include:
Huddle and project rooms for focused, ad-hoc group work.
Cafe and bar areas for influencing new encounters, office-wide communications and spurring company culture.
Conference and pitch rooms for formal collaborative working sessions.
Breakout zones for socialising, relaxation and contemplation.
Private focus rooms for individual concentrative work.
Shared workspaces for work that requires larger screens and heavier tech.
Open touchdown spaces for informal work and small group catch-ups.
Quiet pods and phone booths for quiet, comfortable places for online and on-phone meetings.
The key to encouraging staff to adopt these new ways of working revolves around two factors: choice and control. These can be dissected further into architectural and cultural considerations.
Provide employees with a workplace that offers a variety of work settings for employees to choose to meet their specific needs for focused work, concentration, collaboration and social dynamics throughout the day.
Create a culture where employees understand they have the autonomy, power and control to choose and use the spaces and work settings offered to get the most out of their tasks and activities.
There is no one-size-fits-all template for creating your space. Just as your mission, vision, and service offering are unique to your business, your workplace (and the strategies underpinning it) should reflect and exhibit these distinctions. And when it comes to your space, ensuring your people are supported through adaptable, flexible, and responsive spaces is fundamental to any company’s evolution and growth at scale.
For more information and insight on the types of space that benefits hypergrowth businesses and how to enable growth and expansion with your workplace, download our Guide to Scalability.download now