This post is aimed at business owners, facilities managers, and supervisors and describes four steps they can take to create an organized work environment that’s conducive to collaboration, clear communication, and the optimization of their office resources.
We’ll explore four big levers that can be pulled to evolve any approach to office space management, so that your people want to come into the office and work productively. Those levers are:
- Office layout, which is about how you organize workspace. It can be by department/function (the pre-pandemic norm), but since the onset of hybrid work, office layouts have increasingly focused on supporting how people work instead of what function they perform.
- Workplace technology has never been more important than today in supporting how and where people work. Workplace technology needs to support employee productivity and connection/collaboration in location-agnostic ways, whether your people are working in the office, at home, or anywhere else.
- Desk and room equipment/furniture. These have needed to become far more flexible and adaptive at a time of hybrid work. Modular and movable are today’s watchwords for office design. Office assets aren’t “owned” anymore, but are instead flexibly deployed to support people’s evolving needs.
- Data and analytics. You need visibility into the performance of your office management approach so you can drive improvement. If you can’t measure performance, you can’t improve it. Fortunately, the various tools that help you easily manage and oversee your workplace also provide the data and analytics you’ll need to drive better decision-making around office management.
At Robin, we understand the challenges you face around managing office productivity in your spaces, because we help our clients overcome them. That’s why we’re in business, and why our hybrid work software provides you with a comprehensive office space management solution that streamlines workspace management, increases the collaboration and productivity of hybrid teams, and reduces your real estate costs.
We know that office space is a limited and expensive resource (generally second only to salaries) that should not be wasted. If an office fails to meet the needs of its people, they may opt to work from home or at the coffee shop.
It’s estimated that providing a single desk costs a company $8,000-$10,000 annually. How can you drive ROI when that desk sits empty? What drives office utilization is an office with the right mix of productivity-supporting spaces that address how people want to work.
A To-Do List for Office Productivity
Robin’s recent report, entitled Redefining the Workplace to Enhance Productivity (free download), surveyed business leaders like you who are tasked with office management responsibilities. The report provides a number of key findings that can help inform your decision-making as you manage office space:
1. Understand the impact of layout on office productivity
Office utilization should focus more on supporting employee productivity and driving satisfaction than on the density of users, according to 87% of survey respondents. You simply need to put people before places.
Instead of organizing office layouts around functions (the pre-pandemic norm), today’s office is part of a flexible, hybrid work model where space is organized around how people want to work, whether collaboratively (conference and meeting rooms) or with individual focus (spaces that allow for quiet immersion) or for company-wide interaction/programming (event spaces).
“Organizations should strive to create fluid, adaptive workplaces where employees and teams are more mobile, shifting as needed across different workplace environments – physical and virtual – based on the nature of the work, and where they and their teams are most productive,” says Darin Buelow, principal, Global Location Strategy Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP.
2. Create a productive workspace worth visiting
When you provide a great ambience for collaboration and team connection, guess what? Your people show up. It’s no surprise that seven out of ten organizations (70%) have been redesigning office space to accommodate more collaborative working and enhance the overall workplace experience, according to our report.
Creating a great, welcoming office ambience means considering:
- Natural light
- Temperature of the office
- Number and distribution of plants,
- Private meeting room spaces to take phone calls
- Colors of walls and furniture
These are just a few of the multiple other considerations that contribute to the “personality” of your office. Of course, you’ll need to think into logistics as well. Remember to set up the right number of bookable offices and conference rooms to accommodate your people, as well as implement the right technology so people can easily book/schedule space.
The focus should be on enabling your people with technology and productivity tools that reduce friction when visiting the office. Your tools should be saving them time and frustration as they schedule spaces for individual work and collaboration.
Finally, your visitor experience (for customers and providers) and wayfinding are also important office management considerations. Aesthetic improvements like natural light in the workspace are important details that can contribute to a visitor's perception of your company.
3. Get iterative when evolving your workspaces, using employee feedback for job satisfaction
If you don’t know the office space designs, configurations, and layouts your people prefer (and be aware that their preferences may evolve over time), you should ask them and keep asking them. Our survey finds that over 90% of respondents are using employee feedback tools to determine if their office management plans are working, and are using that feedback to inform how and when they make workspace changes.
Depending on what your data and analytics are telling you, you might pivot from hot-desking to desk hoteling or set up functional “neighborhoods,” but boosting productivity starts with asking the right questions. However you evolve your office space, you’ll need technology tools to make it work and measure ongoing effectiveness.
4. Make it easy for office workers to plan office visits and interact with the office.
Provide people with the tools they need to conveniently plan office visits, book office space for immersive work, and book conference/meeting rooms for collaborative work.
When your tools remove the friction and hassle around coming to the office, allowing people to see who else is coming in, people actually enjoy the office, which increases job satisfaction. They recognize the unique value of IRL collaboration and interactions with colleagues. It’s little wonder that nearly 90% of the organizations we surveyed have fully or partially implemented room and desk booking software.
Making Office Productivity a Reality
There’s no simple template or single approach for managing an office today. You need a comprehensive office management platform that enables you to plan, measure, and iterate what you do based on continuous employee feedback. Your role is to help people connect to the office in ways that help them work their best, together with others.
Today’s office should be a focus for collaboration and community. Research from Axios shows that 3 out of 4 employees miss their office community. A considerable 84% of employees would be motivated to come into the office if they knew they could socialize with their coworkers. Make coming into the office easy for them – we’re here to help.
Start with Robin, for free.