For most companies, a move or workplace remodel is a liability that keeps the business up to date with standards and client expectations. However, the workplace design can also be used for a competitive advantage, where facility managers help plan and manage their environment for more ambitions business results. This includes increasing productivity, higher workforce engagement, reducing expenditures, and supporting sustainable initiatives. Let's analyse how a company can make the most of its workplace for marketing, as well as attracting and retaining quality staff.

Forces behind workplace change

For most companies, growth and cost savings are on the top of the list of many workplace change drivers, however attracting talent isn’t far behind. A recent study has revealed that among the three top challenges that CEOs face, two are related to loss of key talent and inability to attract necessary replacements. For a city-based company, a new headquarters project is a chance to design a space with attractive amenities and easy access to public transport routes, with are among the most important factors that relate to work-life balance in the urban environment.  

Workplace as an asset

Customer interaction with the company on its field is directly related to the company location and design, and the customer’s impression of the company. The premises are viewed as a strategic asset and a valuable tool for achieving competitive advantage. Today, decisions about the place design are more critical to success than ever before, as they can impact a company’s image both directly and indirectly. 

Focus on the core missions

It's the job of the CEO to understand this relationship when planning a future workplace that attracts employees, partners, and customers. The effort should include a location strategy that improves the employee work-life balance, an opportunity for employees and business partners to collaborate in the workspace design, management program to rally employees behind the change, branding, and artwork that supports the values and mission, and promotion of health and wellness that is incorporated in the space.

Custom designed workstations

The staff input should be an integral part of the facility design, with workstations custom-designed for each of the different departments that are using the space. For example, manufacturing departments need modifications that reflect the nature of their work, such as specialized racks and shelving, while data centres and server rooms can benefit from additional air-conditioning. In many cases, the portable air conditioning hire option is the way to go, as these reverse cycle AC units provide a high degree of independence since they can be fitted to any space without changing the existing architecture and décor.

Participants’ engagement

By involving employees in the workplace design, the management can increase employee engagement, which is directly related to their commitment to its implementation. Even more importantly, they learn how to improve work and the workplace continually. When key stakeholders are active and involved, the protect becomes more responsive to the company's needs, while negative tensions between participants become constructive tensions of growth and productivity.  

Managing the change

Employees have a natural resistance to change, and even if the company has compelling business reasons to transform the workplace, senior executives must count on employees who feel vulnerable with the whole concept of change. To reduce the impact, the leaders should fully engage employees in the change and guide them through the transformation. For example, a video of the raw space, with the CEO explaining the vision behind the new workplace can help employees see the benefits of the new design.

Importance of communication

The company executives should recognize the value of communications in helping employees stand behind the change. However, the leadership should be the only group that communicates the change. An external relocation project team should include the broker, architect, furniture supplies, general contractor, construction project manager landlord representative, and move manager. This external team should provide critical information, such as events timing and decision points, that is essential for the communication between the leadership and employees.

Achieving employee engagement

In the effort to retain employees during and after the transformation, the management should adopt workplace communication methods that include weekly FAQ emails discussing project profess and WIFM (What’s In It For Me), training session that would address new technology and work procedures, department meetings that answer employees’ questions and include them in the process, as well as special events that further engage employees in the new workplace concept, such as room naming contests. 

Space branding

The branding should reflect the company's mission, vision and values. In collaboration with the marketing department, the project team should create an environment that includes artwork depicting company products. Such an environment communicates the company's spirit and passion for its products to all audiences involved in the cycle - employees, buyers, and visitors.  

Workplace design has a vast potential to create a more productive and healthier space that attracts fresh talent and retains the experience. Apart from necessary structural upgrades, new interior design can give organizations a competitive edge by engaging collaboration between teams, introducing artistic product showrooms, and investing in the employee well-being.

Author's Bio: 

As a senior business strategist, Lillian Connors believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale.