Is your office a waste of space?
Research indicates that up to A$2.2 trillion dollars is being wasted globally on poorly designed office space.1 This waste can be attributed to the lease costs of unused real estate and the money spent on maintaining that space. Evoke Projects has some tips for ensuring your commercial real estate dollars are well spent during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.
Like so many things in life, success is in the planning. Many businesses lack a workplace strategy when it comes to space planning. They have sales and marketing strategies to grow the business but overlook the infrastructure to support and foster the talent of the people who need to deliver the strategy. It is worth your time to develop a short and long term workplace strategy.
Evoke Projects recommends these considerations for your space planning strategy:
1. Ensure every square metre is being used to its best ability. Consider flexible working or Activity Based Working (ABW) during your next office fit-out or refurbishment. If working from home suits your business or you have a mobile workforce, hot desking is a good option. Hot desking means that desks don’t ‘belong’ to people but are used on demand. This reduces the number of workstations and office space required.
ABW involves creating zones for specific activities, such as computer work, collaboration, confidential work or creative thinking. Give staff the autonomy to move to the area that best suits their needs during the day. No more empty (i.e. wasted) private offices and meeting rooms! For employee motivation, it’s also good to have breakout areas to recharge their energy levels – games rooms and gyms can be incorporated into the office environment. These rooms encourage informal collaboration so don’t regard time spent there as wasted work time.
2. Buy modular furniture, wheeled storage cabinets, office partitions and dividers that are easy to move and change. Choose an office furniture style and design that can be easily added to over time. Modular partitions are perfect for ABW and zoning as you can configure the office layout according to work task.
3. Get a bang for your office interior design buck by introducing your brand into the office design. That doesn’t just mean a logo. Ensure your office design reflects everything you love about your brand from the customer experience to the cultural vibe. Story boards, brand or product colours, industrial textures, photos, ambient lighting, nutrition stations, bike racks and showers, treadmill desks – these are all ideas that have been used in clever space planning. You don’t need to be a big brand, just one to be proud of.
4. So many of our office buildings were built before the advent of smartphones and Wi-Fi, and space planning for the future can be difficult with technology changing so rapidly. However, a lot can be achieved during a new office fit-out: more power outlets, integrated data cabling and charging points in partitions, Wi-Fi charging stations and smartboards. Don’t ditch the traditional whiteboards – they are convenient for a quick brainstorm or group meeting.
5. Saving space and using space well are different concepts, and the space planning workplace strategy should take into account the people who work in it. Research into wellness and employee engagement and productivity speaks for itself:
– Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability, while 89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work.2
– Healthy building features resulted in improvements in employee satisfaction and engagement for 69% of businesses.3
Bring nature into the office with biophilic office design and increase employee exposure to fresh air/good quality indoor air and natural light for a healthier workplace. Even better, consider people-centric office design during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.
6. Coworking isn’t for everyone, but it is another way to reduce wasted office space. New players are entering the industry, taking control of the real estate contracts, while businesses have the flexibility to rent desks or entire offices. From a financial point of view, coworking gives companies flexibility as they do not have fixed overheads or office fit-out costs, and the leases tend to be shorter than traditional commercial leases. It also reduces the amount of office design planning required. For more information about coworking, click here.
7. Finally, sustainable office space planning can lead to cost savings, less waste, health benefits and more motivated employees. Lighting and air-conditioning are obvious targets to reduce the business footprint. The Proud Green Building report states that Deloitte accomplished a 50% reduction in the space required per employee in The Edge building in Amsterdam compared to its previous premises through effective use of smart technology.4
For help with space planning for your next office fit-out or office refurbishment, please call Evoke Projects’ office design team on 1300 720 692.