Company owners and stakeholders seek guidance for their business in many forms. Consultants are often used to help generate sales, oversee the marketing function, or to impart financial advice. However, when it comes to improving the business environment, the advantages of appointing a professional workplace design consultant are often overlooked.
In most cases, its an office relocation, or a pressing need to refurbish an existing office space which drives a requirement, but a business can benefit from having a professional workplace audit at any time.
A full analysis of how a business functions within the space it occupies, will reveal inefficiencies in the use of space, measure the productivity of the people and any barriers within the workplace which prevent them from performing better. It will assess whether the workplace represents the visions, values and culture of the business and appraise the health and wellbeing of everyone.
The results of this audit will give the workplace design consultant an understanding of how the business is performing and where it needs to improve. This provides a roadmap for change which will underpin the strategy for the subsequent design phase.
Many businesses have fallen into the trap of viewing an office move or refurbishment as a capital outlay which needs to be kept to a bare minimum. Historically, this outlook was more acceptable, with everyone being given a contract quality desk and pedestal and as many desks being crammed into an open plan space as possible. This way of thinking has become redundant. A workplace design consultant, through planning, strategy and data analysis, can demonstrate that developing a clear vision for the future use of your space, can generate significant returns on a project outlay. Here’s how:
Attracting and Retaining Talent
In the age of the multi-generational workforce, people are now demanding more from their working environment. The most talented graduates and workers are in high demand due to their scarcity. As a consequence, they have multiple job offers to choose from. Salary is no longer the key driver in their decision making process, as it’s a given they will get what they want. As Hays, in their
‘What Workers Want’ report note, people are searching for the business that will give them the best cultural fit. This has sparked the buzz around ‘attracting and retaining talent’.
A workplace design consultant, as part of their remit, would identify the weaknesses of your current workplace in helping you to attract and retain staff. They would conduct a competitor analysis to give you an insight into how other businesses work to learn if their workspace might be giving them a competitive edge.
Better Space Utilisation
Basing a design on a detailed analysis of your space requirements will eliminate inefficiency. Philip Ross, CEO of Unwork states: “We have found that up to 53% of office desks are unused at any one time.” This helps to reduce real estate costs but also to re-invest capital into other parts of the workspace, such as collaboration areas, coworking space, meeting pods and quiet zones.
People work more productively if they’re engaged and happy. The University of Warwick conducted a study which found that a happy workforce is 12% more productive than normal and conversely, unhappy people are 10% less productive.
Creating an engaging workplace with staff perks such as a games room, on-site gym, free fruit and health food and regular social gatherings after work, is the best way to make your workforce feel valued. Increased productivity from engaged and valued people gives a tangible return on investment.
A workplace design consultant will implement a strategy that forms the design brief for the new workplace. But it also goes much further than that. The plan will improve the performance of the business, the productivity of the people, give you a competitive advantage over others in your sector and generally, make your workforce happier.
All of these goals are measurable. If the workplace is more efficient, and encourages people to adopt new ways of working, then the increase in productivity can be logged. The business will run more efficiently and in turn, will be more profitable.
If you gain market advantage over your competitors, this is also measurable. Gareth Allen, Operations Director of SmartSearch instructed Opus4 as a workplace design consultant and subsequently, as his fit-out partner. Gareth commented: “When we relocated to our new building, we saw a huge spike in business. We discouraged clients from visiting our old office as it was the wrong image we wanted to convey. We actively encourage potential clients to visit us and so far, every visitor has gone on to instruct us. We always get great feedback not only about the quality of the office, but also on how happy our people are.”
With new workplace trends emerging at an exponential rate, it makes sense to have an expert in your corner, who understands what will and won’t work for your business. Slides, pinball machines and ping-pong table may be great for a young, digital start-up, but do they really reflect the culture and values of your business and the personalities of your multi-generational workforce?
Working with a design and build workspace solutions specialist like Opus, is one way to get the benefits of a workplace design consultant without having to appoint a multitude of professions. From one central source, a workspace solutions specialist will handle workplace consultancy, design, space planning, project management, health, safety and legal obligations, and the full contract delivery of the project.
Stabilising the whole process, by assessing the current position of the business, defining it’s values and formulating a clear, defined strategy will result in the creation of a workplace which will enhance the performance of the business.
It’s prudent to safeguard any investment you make. Your workplace is no different. Appointing a workplace design consultant before you embark on a project will help you streamline costs, enhance productivity, attract the best people and improve engagement. It could be the best appointment you make.