The pandemic proved we are equally productive working from home. So why should someone get out of the house and commute, only to end up in a busy open space, full of people and distractions? Workplaces never felt ‘optional’ before, but now people are thinking twice before checking in. Naturally, promoting employee well-being in the office is the newest competitive advantage — a way to attract talent and boost productivity at the same time. But, to reap all those benefits while maximising investment on real estate, companies need to reevaluate their workplace management strategy.
Without a workplace management strategy, companies may struggle to achieve desirable levels of productivity, effectiveness, and agility. The challenge? There isn’t a single solution for everyone. Each workplace needs a tailored strategy that brings together its place, people, and processes. So how can you create a successful workplace management strategy?
How to Create a Successful Workplace Management Strategy in 5 Steps
Step one: align with business goals
Before you set out to design a workplace management strategy, take a moment to consider your company’s context. The workplace strategy needs to be aligned with its priorities, whether that’s reducing costs or promoting a more collaborative workplace. You should also prepare for longer-term goals, such as a possible expansion. Every time you’re considering a space, you need to ask:
- Will it be able to accommodate more people in the future?
- Can this workspace enhance company culture and productivity?
- Is the local area consistent with the brand image?
- Are there any complementary or competing businesses nearby?
- Does it allow employees to collaborate and brainstorm with each other?
Step two: understand employees’ preferences
You’ve got the place. But you cannot overlook the people. Employees are the ones who’ll use the facilities day in and day out, so you need to take their preferences into account. How do they like to use their workplace? Which amenities do they use the most? Are there any occupancy patterns or even paths of movement? For hybrid workplaces, are there any peak utilisation hours? We cannot ignore that the majority of organizations shifted to some sort of remote and hybrid work structure due to the pandemic, and virtual workspaces (and their idiosyncrasies) are also here to stay.
If you have sensors around the building, you may have a lot of this information already. If not, it’s a good idea to make a company-wide employee survey. A survey will reveal their preferences, habits, and expectations regarding their new hybrid workspace. Accommodating those preferences will promote a better work-life balance and quality of life.
Step three: evaluate the current state of affairs
Companies have a core business, which usually has specific requirements for the facilities. All other departments are there to support the core, so information must flow between them. For example, do employees need to walk to the reception needlessly to send an invoice? In the marketing department, can copywriters and designers work together easily? You may want to consider:
- Which activities do staff undertake?
- How does the communication flow?
- What tools do staff use to communicate with each other?
- Can you improve communication with external partners (for example, facility management subcontractors)?
Imagine a private hospital, for example. The doctors’ offices represent the core business. But there’s the reception, administratives who’re responsible for scheduling and invoicing, there’s information that needs to be passed on to the nurses, and so on. Optimising both space and information flows is ultimately what provides patients a nice experience and makes everyone’s workday manageable.
It’s also interesting to compare current space usage with the answers you got on the survey. Among other questions, you will want to dive into the following KPIs:
- How many people use the facilities each day?
- Which rooms are usually vacant and for how long?
- Can you determine the cost per square metre or employee?
- Are employees currently satisfied with their workstations and the facilities?
- Is the building energy efficient? How much energy does it consume?
Now, you have analysed the place, talked to the people, and studied the processes. From here, you can design a layout that encourages communication; improve individual workstations for comfort; and promote changes that will improve employees’ happiness and satisfaction. There’s only one thing left: technology.
Step four: figure out the right tools
It’s time to look for the technology that will enhance work on-site. If you’re adopting a hybrid work policy, for example, you will need a booking tool to make sure spaces are available whenever people are planning on coming to work. You may also want to implement automation technology that will turn on and off the lights and the AC according to occupancy, which will lead to energy savings.
But, first and foremost, you need to choose a tool that collates all the information – a workplace management tool. It can be an app, software, or even a facility management platform, as long as it helps you collect data and continuously provide the best possible experience to employees. The exact features you’ll need on your workplace management software vary. However, start with these:
- Mobile access, so that employees can manage everything from their phones (for example, book a workstation, a room for a meeting, arrange a visit from a client).
- Access to back office data, which will allow you to explore employees’ preferences and habits. This will enable you to improve your workplace management strategy over time and adapt it as needed.
- Integrations with other HR systems, creating a single source of employee and workplace data.
Step five: get specific and implement the plan
Write it down! Be specific about how you’ll get from A to B. For example, if your main goal is reducing the building’s carbon footprint, decide which steps you’ll need to take to reduce emissions. Or how to reduce the cost per square metre while still giving everyone enough space. Share your proposals with the rest of the team and get everyone on board.
Finally, don’t forget to assess the success of your strategy. For workplace management, keep an eye out for these KPIs: operational costs, security and compliance, employee satisfaction and engagement. Remember that successful workplace management will reduce costs, improve business performance and employees’ work-life balance.
Looking to learn more about workplace management? Find out why you should use workplace management software and how to improve workplace management.