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Workplace Evolution

Posted by jpellman on February 26, 2015

By Melissa Brown, President, Relocation Strategies

Successful companies that continuously produce profits have three things in common: human capital, operational excellence and innovation. And the common denominator for these three areas is the workplace. The environment in which people work can either help or hinder companies in their quest for excellence.

Human Capital
In order for all to be successful, workplaces must offer a variety of settings and ways to get work done. A healthy mix of quiet, private spaces and teaming spaces allow workers to self-select their work location as needed and results in increased employee satisfaction. Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts urges us to change the dominant value of American business culture for constant group work and to support work done on your own, such as reading, writing, thinking and researching.

She contends that to develop unique solutions and innovation, some need the freedom to unplug and get inside their own head more often.1 Offering choice will keep talent at the office verses working from home or remotely and promotes casual connections that reinforce a culture.

Operational Excellence
Real Estate is expensive. That is one reason office sizes are shrinking overall. The average space per office worker dropped globally from 225 square feet to 176 square feet according to CoreNet Global. It is projected to continue to fall to below 100 square foot within the next five years.2

While the economy has recovered from the Great Recession, the real estate vacancy rate has remained the same partly due to right-sizing offices, eliminating file rooms and libraries while creating strategies to encourage networking. Beyond right sizing the workplace, offices of the same size offer greater future flexibility. Human resources can bring in talent when they need it without worrying about what office is available and shuffling people to get the right hierarchy.

Innovation
Collaboration is important for companies to compete and sustain themselves. Steve Jobs said, “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.”

Providing accessible, informal spaces where workers can connect to the Internet to read, create and share content and connect with others outside your firm empowers workers to innovate and removes the stigma of looking like you’re not working.

Within your firm, collaboration serves to manage knowledge where coworkers share lessons learned, experiences, and capture business information. These spaces should support groups and spontaneous dialogue without disrupting those working near the space. Technology innovations will continue to bring about workplace changes such as unassigned seating, earbuds instead of partitions, mobile printing, and even bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. Access to technology should enable employees – and not be an obstacle. Companies must plan wisely as managing the technology evolution can take a bite out of productivity and capital expenses.

Multiple Tools
My best advice for my clients’ workplace is for it to be versatile. Your ability to deliver an environment that removes barriers and empowers talented people will pay dividends. Your workplace should deliver smart design and multiple tools like a Swiss Army Knife.

Sources
1 Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts, Ted Talk, www.Ted.com, Feb. 2012
2 CoreNet Global, association of corporate real estate professionals, www.corenetglobal.org

About Relocation Strategies
Relocation Strategies is a certified women owned business with over 25 years of experience leading clients with their workplace, industrial, higher education and medical changes via furniture and move management with a commitment to excellent customer service. Whether remodeling, right-sizing, relocating, purchasing or reconfiguring furniture, we allow you and your entire staff to remain focused on productivity, on reduction of move time and cost expense for the entire project.