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A Work Space Inventory: You Audit Do One

Michael Sharp

BY Michael Sharp /

Creating great spaces that work for associates is hard work in and of itself. What if you could take the guesswork out of it? What if you could find out what your associates truly need and how they actually work?

Many of our clients ask these same questions. To help them find out, we’ve partnered with Herman Miller’s Performance Environments Team and developed a process, which our clients can use over and over again. It essentially tells you what’s working and not working in your spaces. Instead of guessing, it’s better to use this data to create spaces based on the true needs of the people who inhabit them.

It can be a long yet critical process to gather data on associate work habits and space utilization, especially in larger corporations. Understanding the outcomes of that research and using the data to inform long-term decisions and investments makes the entire process invaluable. In many cases, we go through a number of data and information collecting exercises. These can include visioning sessions, focus groups, surveys to understand individual work processes, and observations of everything from sitting posture to walking/traffic patterns to storage needs, and much more.

We generally encounter some interesting findings and surprising aha moments. For example, in past exercises, we’ve found some departments really don’t make a lot of sense working next to one another so cross-functional teams were less effective. We’ve also discovered that many of our clients’ meeting rooms aren't appropriately sized and therefore under-utilized or worse, never occupied. This can result in associates spending valuable time looking for the right meeting space. These informative findings are used to help us make the best use of space.

After we review all of the findings, we’ll compile them into one big report. Going forward, each time you want to renovate or build a new space, you can simply implement this process again. It can be replicated and scaled, and can even be used as a checklist. It allows for a look at data previously collected to see if it’s still accurate. If it’s not, the findings can be updated through a process guide we’ve created; it really serves as a foundation for the years to come. This living, breathing document can be kept simple or it can be elevated. It will inevitably evolve, but only time will tell how.

By doing your homework upfront, it’s easier to create spaces the right way. Instead of making a large investment (building new buildings or purchasing new furniture) that might not work for your associates, taking the time to understand how to make spaces purposeful and intentional will save you precious time and dollars. Are workplace services right for you?

Are workplace services right for you?

Michael Sharp

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Sharp

Michael Sharp is the Vice President of Sales for Continental Office in Pittsburgh. He has over 15 years of industry experience and is LEED AP certified.

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Tags: Services, Space Planning and Design

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Great Spaces Magazine - Fall/Winter 2018

FEATURED AUTHORS

Amber Konkoli

AMBER KONKOLI

CREATIVE DESIGN DIRECTOR
Cindy Eastep

CINDY EASTEP

DIRECTOR, WAREHOUSING SERVICES & SAFETY
Dustin Francis

DUSTIN FRANCIS

DIRECTOR, CONCRETE FINISHES
Marty Davis

MARTY DAVIS

GRAPHIC DESIGN DIRECTOR
Michael Sharp

MICHAEL SHARP

VP, SALES
Nannette Maciejunes

NANNETTE MACIEJUNES

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLUMBUS MUSEUM OF ART
Pam Blair

PAM BLAIR

EVP, HUMAN RESOURCES
Rich Oliver

RICH OLIVER

SVP, SALES
Scott Bartlett

SCOTT BARTLETT

VP, FLOOR MAINTENANCE GROUP
Sue Zazon

SUE ZAZON

REGIONAL PRESIDENT, HUNTINGTON BANK