Guest Post by Kirsty Shearer, Development Director, Agilité Solutions

There’s no shortage of conversation around the need to create a workplace which suits the needs of all those who use it. The events of the past two years have shown not only the importance of a versatile space that works for all who use it, but also how much environments can impact the productivity of colleagues.

In a recent downloadable guide, Lucia Prado, design and consultancy project manager at Agilité Solutions, has been exploring workplace strategies in depth in a bid to help organisations achieve a collaborative culture which is instilled in the very fabric – quite literally – of the building. And here’s how to get started. . .

1. Gather insight

To begin, it’s important to benchmark where your organisation is now vs. where it wants to be in one, five, or even ten years’ time. By understanding what’s offered to colleagues currently, it’s easier to assess how that might adapt and evolve in line with current and planned headcount, as well as the floorspace and surfaces available.

An experienced workplace strategist should be able to guide you through this qualitative research using a range of face-to-face interview techniques, combined with questionnaires which survey the wider employee population.

2. Conduct a detailed survey

The second phase of the process should collate a raft of data from employees in terms of their first-hand experience of day-to-day life within the workplace. This can cover everything from the daily commute – or lack thereof – to grumbles about clunky technology and outdated systems.

While the results of this feedback can be far-reaching – and sometimes tough to hear – it’s one of the most vitally important elements, given colleagues are the lifeblood of any organisation. By establishing patterns, looking for consistent positive and negative feedback themes, and applying that information to how current time and space is being used – a strategy can start to emerge.

The indicator of success on this phase is determined by the information on how employees use their time in the work environment, and whether the survey reveals the employee behaviour patterns and trends. 

3. Define your deliverables

Once all findings have been collated, processed, quantified, and interpreted, the work on building them into a brief can begin.

This situational analysis allows for reflection to take place prior to the establishment of a new programme – which can result in a simple workspace redesign, right through to a complete office restructure, expansion, or downsize.

4. Implement the new model

This is the moment when theory becomes practice and usually involves the top-level design of ‘macro zones’, which consider the needs established during stages 1-3. After this, it’s possible to identify and map potential space solutions, while establishing the adjacencies needed between departments or areas of the physical workforce.

For example, does the finance team need to be located close to procurement? Would research and development heads benefit from being beside the entrance to a factory or assembly line? Such spatial awareness feeds directly into the creation of a floorplan which complements the needs of each department – and can be used as the basis for micro-zoning following a capacity and space plan.

To find out more about creating a sustainable workplace strategy, download our latest guide.

Kirsty Shearer is Development Director at Agilité Solutions