By now, you've heard a lot about the future of work, and you're probably thinking about making some changes to your space. Your teams might not be in the office all the time, and you need a space that's more flexible - that can change more easily and adapt over time - and you may need more areas for collaborative group work, not just isolated desks.
So... what do you do? Where do you start? How do you know the changes you're making are actually best for your team?
We've been helping many of our clients map out a return plan and a future work plan that's right for them, based on data, understanding, and embracing what teams now need from their work experience. Let's dive into some of the ways to get started and some things to consider when planning your office of the future:
1.) Listen and Learn
Before anything else, we have to listen to our teams and understand what will help them going forward. The future starts with understanding the way our teams now work, what they like, what they need, and how to help them be their best.
A great way to start is with a simple assessment for each individual to take, asking the questions and gathering the data that will help you make informed decisions. Hopewell's Workplace Assessment is helping our clients find out where their teams work best, what kind of environments help them, what they need out of an office, and what they want to see in the future. It's the kind of raw data that helps make for better kinds of spaces that work as great as they look!
Just as important, though, is keeping an open dialogue with your team. Involving teammates in discussions about the future, and talking with each person to discover what helps them work and what would make for a great office experience will be your best data possible. First and foremost, the space has to work!
2.) Flexibility is Key
Now that you've collected the data and know more about what your teams need, it's time to think about the space itself. Does it make sense for current needs? Does it provide the right kind of settings and function for group work, collaboration, and meetings, and whatever else your team needs most?
The office serves an important and defining role in the future of work: the gathering space. It's the space for collaboration, for meetings, and for group work that can't be done virtually or isolated. While every organization's needs are different, many of our clients are finding that their current setup offers too many isolated, single-user desk spaces compared to meeting areas, with a lack of collaborative environments for what their teams need. So, what do you do?
Focus on flexibility. Making a flexible, adaptable environment doesn't have to mean purchasing all-new furniture! Many of your existing pieces can be retrofitted and repurposed to make a space that looks, feels, and operates differently. It's all about flexibility. Do your current pieces offer it, or could they be repurposed to work? Could some cubicle walls come down, could desks be rearranged, etc. to make things work better for your group?
Start with what you have, and consider what else could work well for your space. A prime example of an adaptable, rearrangeable solution can be found in Herman Miller's brand new OE1 Workspace Collection, designed exactly for this new distributed, hybrid work model. Pieces can be moved around, rearranged, and repurposed, all to breathe new life and new function into your space. They could even be incorporated in an associate's home, a satellite office, or anywhere else work happens for your team!
3.) Making a Plan for What's Next
You've listened to your team and gathered data, and you're thinking about how to rearrange, remove, and add pieces to your space to make it work for what your team needs. So how do you make it all happen?
First, find inspiration for your space! Whether it's Sulaco's distributed working model, OE1's lookbook of their flexible lineup, or anything else that aligns with your team's vision and needs, we can make it happen. Whether new or existing, we can help your space work better for your team!
How do you take cubicles and make meeting spaces? Our Design team can help you identify exactly what you can do to make the most out of your existing pieces. We know what can be repurposed and rearranged (and how it will work for your space), and we can help you find just what to bring in, take out, or rework to breathe new life and purpose into your workplace!
When your space is ready to go, Workplace Services will be ready to help. Not only can we help with moving, rearranging, and repurposing what you have, we can also help install new pieces and take out old ones to make it all work. Plus, we can keep it all clean, routinely disinfected, and working in tip-top shape as time goes on!
The future of the workplace doesn't have to be scary, expensive, or unknown. We've done the research, and we're continuing to work with clients each day to make their best workplace of tomorrow, whatever that looks like for them!