Designing a better workplace

Wednesday, 18th December 2019

Guest blog by Edward Pittar, Hollis

The workforce is constantly evolving to adapt to new work methods, and so should our office design. From the rise of the mobile workforce, to the technological advances that change the way we do business, the landscape of office culture is changing.

At Malcolm Hollis, creating a workplace that works with and for our employees is paramount. However, the professional discussions about how best to deliver such a workplace vary wildly.

In a culture where trends dominate, it can be tempting to eschew your brand in favour of a new, modern approach. However, it’s important to remember your business’ needs, your brand, and your own ethos. A workplace is an investment and should be usable for the long term. Many new, supposedly ground-breaking developments in office design, such as completely open-plan offices, sleep pods, and communal spaces are not popular with all workers. That’s not to say that it isn’t important to make allowances for future technological advances. Some innovations, such as flexible working and high-speed broadband, simply aren’t going away, and businesses should implement these into their strategy.

When it comes to redesigning your workspace, planning is key, as is looking at your long-term business goals. Think about where your business is now, compared to where you would like your business to be in five years’ time. Is there space for your business to grow and expand? Likewise, is there space to implement new technologies?

Businesses considering an office fit out should consult their employees. Consulting them isn’t just for the sake of pandering to the workforce: workplace satisfaction can be linked to overall employee happiness, and happy employees are more productive employees. Ask your employees what they want from their workspace. What is lacking? What would be in their ideal workspaces? The answers might surprise you. Some employees might value breakout areas, whilst others are more interested in their privacy. An employer should always strive to create a workplace that caters to all needs, and usually, this results in a hybrid workspace, or a workspace that offers both private and public areas for collaboration.

The rise in small businesses and mobile workforces has led to a greater take-up of office space than ever before. Businesses are now choosing spaces where they can collaborate and changing the face of spaces that they have had for years.

Our industry needs a paradigm shift: whilst flexible workspaces and improved working environments are known to increase staff morale and productivity, firms are being held back by a lazy approach to office design. Taking the time to rework an existing office space, or fitting out a new space, is an investment worth making in your business’s future.