When planning an office redesign, people often get first distracted by remodeling and what color tones of paint to use. This, while forgetting the true purpose of the work environment – support working in the best possible way. A carefully designed work environment helps employees succeed and supports the growth of the company.
Changing office space is a strategic action, which greatly affects work efficiency, work methods and the culture of the workplace. Therefore, it should be designed with care and based on the goals of the company. The better the needs of the employees are considered, the better the new office benefits both the company and its employees. This is why every company should start the planning of the work environment with a space analysis.
What Is a Space Analysis?
No two organizations and their employees are the same. Work methods vary greatly. Therefore, building functional and efficient offices based on guesses or assumptions is impossible in practice. The solution that works next door will unlikely work in your company.
Therefore, every office space redesign or refresh should begin with a space analysis. The analysis is used to identify the problems that hinder employee efficiency, commitment or development. Then, the true needs for change of the space can be determined and an office environment built that supports working and your company in the best possible way.
Why is the Analysis Worthwhile?
Employees are the company’s best competitive advantage. Various studies have demonstrated that by investing in the comprehensive well-being of the work environment, companies have the most productive and committed employees. At the same time, a well-planned work environment generates clear savings in office space costs: wasted space still plays a major role with most companies. Investing in office space is, therefore, an investment in the future of the company.
It also allows employees to involve the employees in the change. When employees have been truly heard and they have participated in the planning of the work environment, they are more committed to the end result and the resistance to change is easier to manage.
The importance of the analysis phase cannot be emphasized enough. An office space change made based on a well-conducted analysis applies the correct principles and is implemented with a lot more ease.
When Should an Analysis Be Conducted?
It is good to conduct a space analysis always when facing a major change, such as a significant change in work methods or in the number of personnel. This is done to ensure that the space meets the requirements also after the change.
If planning a move, conduct the analysis well before selecting the future office space. This allows you to discover if a move is the best course of action or if the existing space can be redesigned to be effective. If a new address is deemed the best solution, the analysis provides direction in what type of office space should be sought.
▶︎ Read how Unisport designed company’s office space based on employees needs.
How Is the Analysis Conducted?
Begin the analysis with the existing space and identify how many different types of spaces and workstations are there and how actively they are used. It is good to measure both the perceived and actual utilization rates.
Measuring the perceived utilization is based on employee views and wishes on the necessary workstations. Observations can be collected with different types of surveys, interviews and through workshops.
Factual measurements generate clear figures to support the surveys. Different sensors can be used, for example, to determine how much time is spent in actuality at the workstations. This is done to ensure that the estimates correspond with reality and it can be determined if some of the workstations are not fully utilized.
What Is the End Result?
The goal of the analysis is to identify the needs of the organization and the employees for the work environment. The surveys often identify clear pain points and challenges that prevent reaching objectives and hinder employees from working effectively. It may be discovered during the analysis, for example, that employees need more silent areas or a better ability to work remotely.
Based on the analyses, an area plan is created. The plan states what types of areas and workstations the new office space should have. Overall planning is easier when functionality is placed first. Furnishing, colors or other decorative elements are irrelevant, if the space itself is non-functional.
(The article continues after the area plan.)
Example of an area plan
How Long Does the Analysis Take?
The duration of the analysis is company-specific, but with the use of experts, its execution is surprisingly expeditious. The measurements are collected during work and surveys are conducted conveniently in digital format.
However, allocate sufficient time for planning the process and the analysis of the collected data.
A change to the working environment is a matter where expert help is highly beneficial.
An expert in change accelerates the process and helps the client pay attention to the right things. This ensures that the greatest investment companies make, their employees, are truly heard.