Office space planning is a strategy and process that focuses on optimizing the work environment layout and configuration, so that multiple business objectives are achieved at the same time such as: increasing employee engagement and productivity, lowering risk of injury and accident, enhancing image and brand, and reducing environment footprint.
However, as the wise adage goes: a failure to plan is a plan to fail. To that end, here are four critical office space planning questions that your business must answer, in order to ensure that your work environment is a profitable asset vs. a costly liability:
- What do employees truly need?
This first question may seem blatantly — maybe even insultingly — obvious. After all, don’t leaders clearly understand what their employees need to be productive, effective, safe and successful? Not necessarily!
Yes, leaders have a general idea of what their employees need. But they often overlook small — yet critical — workflow details, simply because they’re not part of the day-to-day experience. Consulting with employees and understanding what they truly need is the foundation of smart, strategic office space planning.
- What is your budget?
There are numerous — make that virtually limitless — office design options available, ranging from the conventional to the futuristic. However, before looking at these options, it’s important to identify the budget and focus on possibilities that make financial sense. For example, a business with an office design budget of $50,000 shouldn’t waste time exploring configurations that easily cost over $100,000.
- What are your future needs?
The only constant in business is change, which means that today’s office design needs will shift in the years to come. This doesn’t mean that leaders must plan for every possible contingency. Rather, it means they need to focus on factors such as scalability and future-proofing, so that when (not if) a change is required down the road, it can be handled with minimal disruption and cost; even if it means spending a little more now to save a lot later.
- What are your environmental objectives?
Having a “green” design is more than just about being socially responsible and demonstrating environmental leadership. It also significantly lowers utility costs, and can help some businesses impress customers, win RFPs, and attract talent. The good news is that there are plenty of affordable ways to integrate environmental efficiencies into office design.
The Bottom Line
Office space planning is a critical business strategy that isn’t just about workplace “look and feel”. As discussed above, it directly and indirectly impacts the bottom-line: for better or for worse. Activating all of the tips above will help ensure that you experience for former and steer clear of the latter!