How to approach a strategy for a workplace design

When the time rolls around for a brand spanking new office fit-out, it can be easy to get distracted by what’s on the surface. What colour scheme will be the most appealing? What finishes will be the chicest? What furnishings best suit the available space?
14 Dec
Studio DB
Workplace strategy

While your office fit-out can look fantastic, it can also deliver tangible benefits and measurable ROI – if it’s a strategically driven workplace design

Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in a workplace design strategy, and why developing one is integral to your next office fit-out.

What is a strategy for workplace design?

Your business is driven by three things:

  • Your culture
  • Your employees
  • Your goals

These three things characterise your business, making it as unique as a fingerprint. It makes perfect sense, therefore, that your workplace design should be driven by these factors too.

A workplace design strategy places these all-important aspects at the core of a design concept so that all other decisions are motivated by these factors. It relies heavily on extensive evidence about these elements, so you get a design that fits your organisation like a glove, rather than one that employees are forced to “get used to” over time. It also takes into account where the company is headed, ensuring the design remains highly functional years after the installation.

Here is how these three drivers can influence the strategy of your workplace design.

Workplace culture

Workplace culture encapsulates many aspects of an organisation: its values and beliefs; its personality; its traditions; its behaviours and its attitudes. Strong and positive workplace culture is a key business driver because it helps attract and retain top talent, increase employee engagement and satisfaction, and improve performance. According to a survey by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

In formulating a workplace design strategy, a workplace design partner will collect extensive evidence about an organisation’s workplace culture to determine how the best aspects can be enhanced through the design, and how the not-so-good aspects can be minimised.

If, for example, creativity is a key characteristic of your business, you could nurture this by installing brainstorming rooms or flexible collaborative spaces where employees can feel free to unleash their imaginations.

Employees’ needs, habits, and preferences

Any CEO will tell you that employees are a business’s most important asset. Therefore, any workplace design that is going to deliver maximum ROI needs to be highly people-centric (indeed, this is reflected in many of the office design trends we see sweeping Australia).

The beauty of a workplace design strategy is that it doesn’t make assumptions about what might work for employees; rather, it goes straight to the source to collect evidence to determine what will work for them. A survey might reveal, for example, that employees want more flexibility in the ways they work, and this could be factored into the design by providing a variety of workspaces.

Business goals

In the end, your organisation’s success boils down to one question: what is your business’s very purpose, and how do you plan to fulfill this purpose? Believe it or not, your workplace design can help you answer this question too.

Whether your goal is to foster better collaboration, increase innovation or improve employee health and wellness, these goals can be factored into the strategy of your workplace design, ensuring you maximise your ROI in every way possible.

What goes into the development of a workplace design strategy?

The development of a fully realised workplace design strategy entails several steps to ensure the final strategy successfully bridges both the ideological and practical aspects of the project. Here’s a glimpse into Axiom’s workplace design development process.

Strategy session

During the strategy session, we work closely with senior leaders to gather information about the business, establish a vision for the project, and set key business objectives that will then guide the strategy development. Setting a strong foundation at this point allows us to develop a unique solution that’s customised to your business, rather than just simply following current trends.

Workplace audit

Here’s where we take our information gathering to the next level, conducting a careful workplace audit that factors in employee accommodation, storage needs, current workflows, and key areas for improvement. We then use this information and our expertise to help inform potential solutions.

Future workplace analysis

This stage is all about the employees. We get to know them through surveys, reports, and one-on-one interviews to develop a deep understanding of their needs, habits, and preferences. We then analyse this data, along with the data collected in earlier steps, to inform how to optimise the solution.

Location feasibility study

A deep understanding of your business is of course important – but practical considerations must also be factored in. During this stage, we provide a comprehensive assessment of the current building’s infrastructure, amenities, and services, as well as the infrastructure, amenities, and services of the proposed sites. We also audit your current technology infrastructure and devices to assess suitable compatibility and connectivity in the new workspace.

Programming and projected budget

Once we’ve gathered and analysed all the necessary data, we can then develop an accurate master plan, with a detailed timeline and projected budget. This allows you to assess the financial impact of the project early on in the process.

Investing time and careful consideration into your workplace design strategy can ensure your next office fit-out not only looks stunning but also enhances your business’s workplace culture, helps employees perform at their peak, and helps your business reach its goals.

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