Re-evaluating office space with real data
As businesses have had to adapt to the new challenges of 100% remote working, many short term problems have been conquered by technology and HR teams ensuring everyone is still able to operate ‘business as (un)usual.’
What does this mean for office space as we know it, now that we have the clearance to return to the workplace?
Freddie Pritchard-Smith explains the influence this may have on your workplace and how you can use real data to influence your decisions on space.
“Fundamentally businesses have remained operational during this period of remote working and for some, productivity may have even improved. The question many will consider now is ‘do we really still need the same sized space?’.
Before the pandemic, it was a well-known statistic that no office is ever more than 50% occupied on a daily basis. People come and go at various points throughout the day whether that’s because they are working flexible hours or because they have client or partner-facing roles that require off-site meetings.
Often the only thing stopping employees from a fully flexible ‘work from home’ culture was the business leadership team itself saying that it was not an option. Now this culture has been enforced, they can no longer protest possibility, and instead can take an honest review of what can and can’t be done effectively remotely. Now is a better time than ever to understand how much space the business truly needs.
The first step to understanding your space is to start collecting data on how it is being used on a daily basis by those of your workforce who are returning to the office. Using technology to gather real-time analytics including footfall and heat mapping will enable you to understand space utilisation and make informed decisions, backed by data, to get an accurate idea of the space you actually need.
This is not just about the number of desks you need. This will bring areas to your attention that could be re-purposed or re-energised and will give you insight on employee behaviours that you can harness to increase engagement and wellbeing. It will give you accurate insight into why people are choosing to come to the office and what they need when they are there. The workforce now knows for certain they do not need a fixed desk but more accurately an appropriate place to enable them to complete different tasks.
Unless you gather data, your plans for office change are only educated guesses. Data can inform your decisions to rationalise and optimise your current workplace or even to find another more suitable space if its no longer fit for purpose.
The greatest value of office space to staff is often the facility to collaborate with colleagues which, for the last few months, has been limited to video conferencing. No matter how sophisticated VC is, it cannot replace our need for human interaction. Data will help you identify the areas of your office you can afford to compromise in order to create more agile, collaborative environments for a more transient workforce.
In the 'new normal', data can also help you control a safe environment measuring headcount, desk usage, temperature and air quality and notifying you immediately of any risks to the health and wellbeing of your staff".
Our ThirdWay Workplace team is expert in converting qualitative and quantitative data into tangible change management strategies and outcomes, supporting companies through times of change and aiding decision-making.
For any further information on installing property technology or using data to create an office environment that will make people want to commute again, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org