Technology Before Workspace Design?
So, your organization is concerned about the looming recession and would prefer a strategy to reduce the cost of operation. With the advent of the remote work system, you are probably searching for a better way to boost employee happiness while simultaneously improving productivity. Companies like yours are leveraging workspace design and technology to better manage their operations without overworking their employees.
Workspace design, a process that helps organizations to maximize their staffs productivity, has evolved over the years. Unlike 1950s office layouts which were inspired by factory arrangements, today’s workspace design prioritizes technology with the inclusion of remote work opportunities. The coronavirus pandemic that surprised the world in 2020 forced many organizations sitting on the fence to embrace a hybrid workplace, which is the future of work.
Although technology over the years has been used in smart offices and space management in the workplace, it is overdue for an upgrade to maximize space usage and reduce real estate expenditure. There are new technological developments more suited to tackle workplace design issues in today’s hybrid office than those designed for typical workspaces decades ago.
What is workspace design?
Workspace design aims to organize and equip a workplace to ensure optimal Return On Investment (ROI) and maximum workers' safety. It deals with selecting shapes and dimensions with the inclusion of aesthetics and utilities for one or more working persons. The layout may include desks, tools, controls and equipment.
It is a concept recommended for all industries interested in the hybrid workplace, including those with high-safety risks. A high-risk industry can employ the usage of ergonomics in the workplace to fit employees' needs.
On the other hand, a low-risk industry with more interest in smart offices and hybrid workplace may, aside from deploying relevant aesthetics and utilities, also focus on proper designation of spaces for the most suited and needed purposes. How an organization handles its workplace design directly represents how much it cares for its staff and can directly impact employee happiness.
A well-equipped office will improve employee happiness. Spaces should be available to workers when they need it and this should be without any bias, conflict or clashes, whether it is a hybrid office or full remote work.
To maximize your real estate ROI without sacrificing workers’ comfort, you need to understand space management and room management. This is the future of work.
Workspace vs Workplace: What is the difference?
Years ago, there may have been no need to clarify the difference between workspace and workplace. However, technology has made them different more than ever, even though the two words are still used interchangeably.
With more organizations embracing smart offices, understanding the difference can help the management of an organization visualize employees' work ethics and how physical and virtual work environments can impact their performances. This will aid in determining the best workspace design to ensure employee happiness.
A workplace is a physical space such as desks with the inclusion of the lobby where you go to work. It encompasses the employee experience and culture of an organization. In contrast, a workspace is where you work.
For example, if your company runs a hybrid office, there are software that you can use to plan and transform some of the space to a cafe or bar where workers can hang out or maybe receive visitors while still working with their personal computer (PC). The space they occupy in the cafe is the workplace while, the software on the PC they are using to work embodies the workspace. The future of work is expected to feature more sophisticated software with higher functionalities that improve workspace design and efficient management.
Space management and room management
Space management involves tracking, supervising, and scheduling your organization's physical space for optimal usage.
Room management monitors the places in an organization’s workspace and schedules them appropriately for specific purposes and employees. An optimized room management helps you to track the room usage and also make informed decision by getting rid of spaces you do not need; thereby reducing your real estate cost.
The management of these spaces help to assign spaces to employees such that they are confident there is space for them whenever they need it. Also, the resources made available in the space will invariably make their work easier; hence a boost in worker productivity. This is most important if you operate a hybrid office because the available spaces in the hybrid workplace are likely limited and must only be available for essential activities that require onsite presence. You will be able to handle all request and need for space without harming employee happiness which directly affect employee productivity.
Studies have shown that employees waste a considerable time of their day at work by engaging in non-productive activities daily, even when it is remote work. This can be significantly reduced by optimizing both the workspace and the workplace. The future of work will include ways to ensure employees waste no productive time.
Hybrid office and posture matrix
A hybrid workplace compensates lack of physical space with remote work options. A typical example is LinkedIn's new flagship office which now features fewer desks. The 239,000 square feet of space before the pandemic has about 1080 workstations, while the new design possesses 569 workstations. Most of the workplace design was based on a “posture matrix” to design comfortable smart offices with access for about 1,500 employees.
Posture matrix is a tool that architects use to determine the best layout and furniture in a hybrid office design. It considers the needs of the persons that would be using the space and the kind of work they would be doing. This prioritizes factors that will guarantee employee happiness while working. More of this concept can be anticipated in the future of work.
Best software for workspace design
Efficient space management is a challenging task when done manually. It can be seamless when necessary space management tools are deployed.
Meeting room management software like Astro Room Booking eliminates scheduling conflicts and reduce the usage of the spaces for irrelevant gatherings. These tools are deployed by hotel management to process room bookings and track situations across the accommodation facilities.
Marriott is one example of a company that understands the importance of room management in improving productivity, even when you incorporate a remote work style.
The company is exploring the amalgamation of modern-day workspace and simulated hotel room designs in their hybrid workplace headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.
Workers enjoy the comfort of the workplace design with the inclusion of sections for mockup hotel room designs, making it very easy for them to work and practicalize their projects.
Undoubtedly, the workplace design concept by LinkedIn and Marriott are a few things that could be expected in the future of work.
Impact of workspace design on employees and brand
Workplace designs that embrace modern technology for optimal space management and room management birth smart offices.
Smart offices are developed with a focus on employees' comfort and productivity in mind.
Aside from maximizing the ROI of the company’s investment in the hybrid workplace design by boosting staff productivity, other impacts of workspace design on employees include:
A Global Management Review published in 2015 discovered that a working environment influences employees’ decisions to stay in a company. A good working environment, such as a smart office, has a positive impact on employee retention.
Prioritizing employee happiness in your space arrangement will more likely encourage them to speak good of your organization among friends.
This will invariably bolster your organization’s image and could help you attract fantastic candidates whenever you have a job opening.
A survey indicates that employees value workspace design with designated areas for engagement and collaboration. 89% of the responders consider it as a significant attraction, with 74% noting an investment in office upgrades gives them a sense of inclusion.
Work schedule and management
A smart office makes it easier for department heads to delegate tasks. Room management software, for instance, allows for impartial sharing of the meeting room.
If your company operates a hybrid office system, your team members know when to arrive at work to make use of a space without any clash with other department members.
Technology before workspace design is a strategy that smart organizations are now prioritizing, especially those who have embraced hybrid work for distributed teams. It is the future of work, and companies that are too slow to adopt it will only have themselves to blame. They will not only lose their best employees to competitors, it will also massively impact their ROI as they would be unable to leverage the benefits of smart offices for massive productivity increases increases.