6 More Important Considerations For Any Office Space

In order to maximize the value of the office as you make your return, WDM Founder Bob Fox shares six more important considerations. Make sure to check out the first six here!

2022 brings a new beginning. In order to maximize the value of the office, there are a few simple concepts that must be accounted for. Most are not expensive and simply require some careful thought. Here are an additional six important considerations for any office:

OGSystems by FOX Architects

7. Social interaction

The biggest value derived from office space is social interaction. This is the most important aspect of a healthy work environment. The work environment provides fertile ground for people to meet get to know each other and share ideas and the work we produce is much better when we collaborate with people that we know.

While the pandemic has enabled remote working and the technology is getting better, remote work still doesn’t match the quality of social interactions and exchange of information that can happen in person.

The workplace should be designed to facilitate and support the kind of interaction and collaborative exchange of information necessary to drive organizational performance. Depending on nature of the work and how your organization distribute tasks the space should provide the type of space and tools to support that interaction.

We have a much greater variety of spaces and opportunities to meet and interact that can range from the “third place“, coworking facilities, or a dedicated office. The opportunity is finding the best place that attracts people and supports the work and to leverage that to drive improved quality and performance.

8. Remove the Friction

Post-pandemic there are many challenges to overcome for many people just to get to work, from the commute, security, being healthy and safe to managing childcare. All are potential things that can take additional time, cause frustration, slow things down or inhibit team performance.

If the workplace is going to attract people, it needs and drive performance now more than ever. It needs to take these factors into consideration and minimize any of the distractions, interruptions and inhibitors that cause frustration. If an organization doesn’t address these issues, people now have the ability to go and work someplace else.

If an organization doesn’t address these issues, people now have the ability to go and work someplace else.

This is part of the requirement for the new workplace. In some cases, it’s not about eliminating but providing the time and facilities to manage the many other aspects of our lives. People with children, health issues, disabilities or other responsibilities cannot easily eliminate those challenges, so now the workplace will need to accommodate and support those people in a way that they can lead a productive life and contribute in a meaningful way to the organization to achieve its purpose.

That is a major shift. In the past the organization may have discouraged bringing those issues into the workplace and felt like the person was responsible only to the organization during the 9-5 day. If the organization is going to thrive and needs talent then it will need to be more accommodating of outside obligations and provide some flexibility and support.

Regardless of the distraction or challenge the workplace will need to consider making things easy for people to do their jobs. Whether it is getting from your car to the office, a cup of coffee, high speed internet access or highly specialized intellectual property. The opposite holds true as well, if they have an idea they should know where to take it and how to share it. The barriers that traditionally existed in the physical work environment will need to be reduced and eliminated.

KeyW by FOX Architects

9. Health & Safety

In order for the workplace to realize its full value a priority has to be to make it safe. For some places, this can be a challenge and for many businesses it’s not an easy solution. But the default should be to choose the safest and healthiest solution. People will perform better if they are healthy, and their minds are free of the stress that might be associated with getting sick.

Things like fresh air, clean water, healthy food, exercise, quiet rooms, appropriate consideration of disabilities, acoustics, places to recharge, meditate or rest are important to maintaining a top performing team. Each organization has to determine its commitment to their talent and there is no better way to say “we support you” than by providing a safe and healthy place to work.

…There is no better way to say “we support you” than by providing a safe and healthy place to work.

The benefit will be a much happier, more creative, and higher performing team.

10. Sustainability

Values have shifted and it’s a priority for all workers that their work environment is sustainable. It is an obligation for all organizations to create spaces that sustain our environment. Most of us are very aware of the damage human beings have done to the planet, are focused on the future, and understand that we must do a better job of managing the environment.

Few, if any will be willing to work for an organization that is not green. Organizations must take the lead and create sustainable, energy efficient workplaces that are healthy places to work.

FLIR Systems by FOX Architects

11. Technology

Technology varies from organization to organization, but it’s safe to say that most businesses need to stay tech-savvy, or they will be surpassed by their competitors.

Some of the basics are a good high speed internet connection and the appropriate type of computer given the type of work. This is a friction point and the cause of much frustration in all organizations. Making sure you are keeping up with the latest technology is important as solutions are evolving and changing daily.

12. Data

We now have the capacity to learn a tremendous amount about our workplaces and how people work. Tools are emerging that enable us to learn more about how space is being used, which can help manage energy and costs, allocate space for our teams, allow efficient scheduling and utilization, and our experiences.

The future looks very bright, and the workplace will continue to evolve and expand in multiple directions. The pandemic has disrupted things, but has enabled us to see many of the outdated methods that we incorporated into how we work. The workplace will continue to evolve. The bottom line and common denominator is people and making sure that they are safe, treated equitably, can manage their work and their lives, have the opportunity to gain experience and learn and contribute, and the frustrations are reduced. The workplaces that can achieve this will prosper and thrive.

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