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How to Create a Workspace Strategy

Updated: Apr 24

Preparing a Workplace Strategy


Are you uncertain about the future of your office(s)? Perhaps your lease is ending, and you're unsure what you should do next? If so, you're not alone. There has never been so much debate about what the future of work looks like.

 

We've been designing and building office spaces since 2008. In that time, we have never seen so much uncertainty and change in the way people work. However, if you delay making decisions or make short-term decisions, then you could severely damage the performance of your people in the long term. To give your company the strategic direction you need to succeed with your workspace, you need a comprehensive workspace strategy.

 

In this article, we'll explain exactly how to create such a strategy. You'll learn what should be in your workspace strategy and the process to create one. By the end of this article, you'll be ready to start creating your own workspace strategy.

 

What is a Workspace Strategy?

There are 7 key elements of a good workspace strategy: working model, location & size, layout & environments, aesthetic design, technology, culture, and cost. Here, we’ll explain what each one is, and where it fits into your overall workspace strategy.

 

Working Model

Your working model is how and where your people work – in the office or hybrid. Your working model has likely already been decided by your company leadership independent of the workspace strategy. Nevertheless, it is a crucial part of your workspace strategy, as it will have a huge impact on how, when, and where your people work.

 

Location & Size

Your workspace strategy looks beyond the next project and considers the next 3-10 years. As a result, a key part of this is the location and size of your office(s). You need to consider what your needs are now, and how they will change over time.

 

Layout & Environments

One of the most important elements of your workspace strategy is the layout of your offices and the types of environments you will have within them. You should first consider what your people will do when in the office – what tasks, what size teams, and how they will collaborate. You can then plan for office layouts to enable this.

 

Aesthetic Design

What your workspaces look like is an important part of your workspace strategy. This includes the design features, colour schemes, and finishes. Your offices don’t have to look identical, but they do all have to be tailored to your culture, so they will look similar. If all your offices look completely different, the performance of your people will likely vary too.

 

Technology

The technology part of your workspace strategy includes both work technology (eg laptops) and space technology (eg access control). We can’t predict how technology will evolve over the coming years, but you do need a clear plan for what kinds of technology you will adopt, and what you will not.

 

Culture

Culture is a crucial component of your workspace strategy. Your workplace plays a big role in three of the 9 components of company culture: communication, environment, and wellbeing. You need a clear plan for the next 3-10 years about how your workspace will evolve to keep up with and drive improvements in your company’s culture.

 

Cost

Your workspace strategy concerns your two biggest overheads: real estate and staff. As a result, you need a plan to keep these costs under control. A workspace strategy will also help balance the needs of cost and performance, maximising your project ROI.

 

To learn more about what a workspace strategy is and what it includes, read this article.

 

How to Create a Real Estate Strategy


There is a lot of information that needs to be included in your workspace strategy. So how do you bring all this information together? Here, we'll run through the 5 key stages of creating your workspace strategy.

 

Consider Company Strategy

It may be tempting to start your workspace strategy by envisioning what your dream workspace will look like. However, this would likely result in a workspace that doesn’t suit the needs of your company. Instead, you need to start by considering your overall company strategy and goals over the next 3-10 years. Whether you're planning revenue growth, cost cutting, expanding into new markets, or anything else, your workspace portfolio needs to align with and even help drive that strategy.

 

You also need to consider the strategies of related departments - especially HR and facilities. For example, if HR are trying to improve staff retention, then that will play a key part in your workspace design & layout. From a cultural perspective, it's also important to ensure your workspace reflects and enhances your brand, and HR will be a key part of this.

 

Involve Leadership & Staff

One of the most important parts of creating your workspace strategy is ensuring that you have alignment and buy-in from all your key company leaders. Otherwise, your effort will be wasted. These people will also have experience and insight that will prove very helpful. You need to involve these people early and often to make sure your workspace strategy is aligned with expectations.

 

Getting input from staff is also important. Facilitating and improving staff performance, both individual and collective, is the key goal of your workspace(s). Your people will have a wide variety of perspectives and can tell you what works and doesn’t work for them. However, you will likely get a lot of conflicting opinions. You will need to listen to it all but choose what to implement based on the needs of the overall company.

 

Workspace Vision

It's now time to translate your company goals and staff input into design concepts for future proejcts. This includes planning layout & environments, aesthetic design, and technology. You need to plan the types of spaces that will help your staff perform best, and what environments should be included in any future projects. Having an aesthetic design concept to guide future designs will also ensure all your offices retain a similar look and feel.

 

Up until this stage, you may be able to handle the creation of your workspace strategy internally. However, the next phase will be very difficult without the help of an experienced workspace consultant or designer. It may also be helpful to have them involved from the start. An experienced consultant or designer will have the knowledge and experience to make this part of your strategy much more effective and efficient. Given that this strategy will have a major impact on the success of several design and build projects, it's worth investing in, to make sure it’s as good as possible.

 

Assess Current Workspace Performance

Before you complete your workspace strategy, it's also important to consider your current situation. You shouldn’t do this at the start, as you may get bogged down in continuing your current strategy, rather than creating the best possible strategy. Now that you've got everything you need to create a vision for what your workspaces should look like in 10 years, you need to create a plan to get you there. A detailed understanding of your current situation is crucial to this.

 

Start by gathering information about your current real estate and workspace situation. How much office space do you have? How long do you have left on your lease(s)? And so on. You should also take the time to find out what is good about your current office, and what is holding your people or your company back. This will give you all the information you need to start bringing your workspace strategy together.

 

Creating the Strategy

Now that you've got all the information you need, it's time to bring it all together into one document, a master plan for the future of your workspace. Exactly what format it is in, and how this should be laid out will vary from company to company, so this is up to you. However, it should be comprehensive, yet concise.

 

Your workspace strategy should include all the information that we explained earlier in this article. By including this information in one concise document, all relevant people will be able to understand exactly what the company workspace vision is, and what the plan is to get there. As a result, it will be much quicker and easier to plan future design & build projects, and the end result will be of higher quality.

 

Creating Your Workspace Strategy

A workspace strategy aligns your company’s workspace(s) with your company strategy, culture, and processes. It is much more than a high-level plan for your next project. It’s an overall vision and framework for your workspaces over the next 3-10 years. It will help you reduce costs by enabling forward planning and eliminating expensive mistakes. It will save time by giving you a framework for every subsequent design & build project. Most importantly, it will help you improve staff performance by creating a workspace that suits the way they work.

 

Now that you know exactly what needs to be in a workspace strategy and how to create one, you're ready to get started creating your own. This will give you a clear workspace blueprint for the next 3-10 years of how your offices can facilitate and enhance your company's performance.

 

If you'd like help creating your workspace strategy, get in touch with one of our workspace experts. We'd love to help you craft a workspace strategy to help your company forward. To learn more about workspace strategy, read What is a Workspace Strategy and Why Do I Need One? You may also want to learn about common workspace strategy mistakes to avoid, and how to future-proof your workspace strategy.

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