What is the point of having an office? Is it just a place where your managers can see what their reports are doing, somewhere for your people to focus on their tasks, or something more?
The aim of an office space, and how you improve your office spaces, depends on what type of business you are. There are many different ways that a company might treat their spaces, but given that it usually represents a significant portion of a company’s budget, it’s safe to say that we all agree that office spaces have an impact on the bottom line.
1. Workplaces offer functional benefits.
The first thing you might think of when you consider what a good workplace looks like is how well it allows your people to complete their assigned tasks. This is most obvious in places where practical work needs to happen – it’s no good having a factory that doesn’t fit the tools required to make the product. Similarly, a creative company will require places that their people can store and organise their work, a technical company will require quiet spaces for concentration, and a consultancy will require places where conversations can be conducted. Ensuring your designs meet the functional needs of your people is the first step to creating the best possible workplace for them.
2. They are a touchstone for company culture and employee branding
Expressing the company brand both internally and externally is another important way that workplaces have an impact on the companies that use them. Often Leadership will allow extra features in the space if they help express business values to employees and clients. Perhaps the building is sustainable, has a great view, or offers a quality of design that makes your brand stand out. Especially as a company grows it becomes extremely important to take every possible opportunity to express what it stands for, and investing in the workplace features that align with your values is a highly visible and ever-present way of doing so.
3. They are a hub of creative collaboration
Sometimes we see the benefit of workspaces to a company most strongly when we observe what people miss when working from home. Most employees find it easy to focus and carry out regular operational tasks remotely, but struggle a lot with trying to come up with new ideas as a team. There is a magic that happens when people sit in a space together and are able to freely communicate thoughts, ideas, feelings, and energy between each other. Having an environment that allows this, and to record the result (such as a whiteboard or other graphic tool) is a critical way that workplaces allow companies to have more impact.