If you’re planning an office fit out, refurbishment, or relocation, you know how important planning your project is. A good project plan doesn’t guarantee success, it does put you in the best possible position. On the other hand, a poorly defined or incomplete plan almost guarantees your project will finish over time, over budget, and even worse, off-brief.
With this in mind, you may be thinking about hiring a workspace consultant to help you plan your project. But you’re probably wondering, what exactly is a workspace consultant, and do I need one or not?
At Zentura, we frequently speak with companies who know they need to improve their workspace but aren’t sure how. Based on our 15 years of experience in the industry, there are five common reasons companies engage a workspace consultant. In this article, we’ll walk through each one, and how they might apply to your company. But first, what exactly is workspace consultancy?
What is Workspace Consultancy?
When planning your office fit out, one of the biggest challenges you have is the uncertainty of so many different factors. However, there is little data to base your decisions on. While staff complaints may prove there is a problem, it doesn’t prove what the problem is, much less how to fix it.
This is where workspace consultancy comes in. A workspace consultant will build use qualitative and quantitative analysis to build a full picture of how your staff are using your office. This includes what is working, as well as what isn’t. They then use that data to create insights that will help your office designer create the best possible design for you.
There are several different parts of workspace consultancy. Some, such as occupancy studies, are focussed on collecting and analysing quantitative data. Others, like leadership workshops, are more focussed on collecting insight to inform your workspace design. Whatever your workspace consultancy package includes, your consultant will collate and present all their data in a workspace consultancy report. This will explain their findings and how they impact your project plans. To learn more about what exactly is included in workspace consultancy, read what is workplace consultancy?
Why You Might Need Workspace Consultancy
Workplace consultancy is not appropriate for every company. However, workspace consultancy can help with various different real estate and HR challenges you may be having. Here are the five most common challenges that workspace consultancy can solve.
Working Model Challenges
If you’re unsure about your working model as you head into 2023, then workspace consultancy may be able to help you make the right decision. It may feel like the office-v-remote-v-hybrid debate is rather tired now, but there are still a lot of conflicting opinions about the best option.
In reality, the best working model for you will depend on your company’s unique circumstances. Your workspace consultant will be able to assess which model is the best for your company and help you get buy-in across the company to implement it. To learn more about which working model is best for your company, download our office-v-remote-v-hybrid working guide.
Productivity is a crucial component of a high-performing company. Without motivated staff consistently producing great work, your company cannot achieve its potential. Most companies have seen a 3-6% productivity drop since 2020. As the environment where your staff spend most or all of their working lives, your office has a big impact on the output of your staff.
A workspace consultant will be able to improve the productivity of your people by helping you create an office that matches the way your people work. They will first assess how your people currently work and what is making them less productive. They can then make data-based recommendations to improve your productivity.
No Long-Term Workspace Strategy
If you’re not sure about your workspace strategy as we head into 2023, you’re not alone. Many companies have spent the last few years using quick fixes like short-term lease extensions. In the next few years, a comprehensive workspace strategy will be essential. It’ll help you maximise the return on year real estate investment, as well as get the best performance out of your people.
If you have an incomplete long-term workspace strategy or even no workspace strategy at all, then a workspace consultant will be essential. They will be able to analyse the way your staff currently work and communicate, as well as study your real estate costs and needs. They can then work with you to create a comprehensive plan covering all aspects of your workspace strategy.
Major Office Move
Office relocations are complex projects. They are a big investment and can take several months (or years). Such a huge change for your staff could significantly change the performance of your staff and company – for better or worse. The stakes are even higher if your office move is a strategic one, such as moving into a new market or merging two companies.
Your workspace consultant will be able to reduce the risk of your office refurbishment by creating a change management plan. A workspace consultant will use their experience to help coach your people through the change and maximise the potential of your new office. They typically do this by holding workshops to explain the reasons for the change, and to answer staff queries. They may also work with selected staff to coach them to model the change to all other staff.
Real Estate ROI
Real estate is the second highest cost most companies face, after staff. Managing the costs of each without hurting the performance of the other is a huge challenge. However, many companies are inefficient in their use of expensive office space. The average organization has 30-50% more real estate than it needs. This means you could be wasting more than 5% of your annual revenue on office space you don’t need!
Your workspace consultant will be able to use occupancy studies and their experience to rationalise your office space. They may help you move into a smaller office, saving costs. Alternatively, they may be able to help you make better use of the space you do have, by creating a workspace that maximises the performance of your people.
Why You Might Not Need Workspace Consultancy
However, workspace consultancy is not right for every company or every situation. It requires time, money, and effort from you and your leadership team to get the best out of workspace consultancy. For small projects such as office reconfigurations, a consultant will be unnecessary. A workspace designer will be perfectly sufficient.
Workspace consultancy may also not be needed if you are already happy with the design of your workspace and the productivity of your people. If you are moving purely because of a lease expiry, a workspace designer will be more appropriate. If your workspace strategy is already complete, then workspace consultancy may be irrelevant. You will already have your working model defined, as well as a high-productivity design blueprint. You can simply work off these to design and build your new workspace.
Getting Started with Workspace Consultancy
Ultimately, whether you need workspace consultancy or not completely depends on your brief. If you are carrying out a workspace project for logistical reasons, then you may not need a workspace consultant. However, if you do not already have a well-defined long-term workspace strategy, then a workspace consultant will prove a good investment.
Working with a workspace consultant will improve the ROI of your project by helping you make better decisions. They will be able to use data and their expertise to make recommendations that will improve your real estate ROI and project success.
At Zentura, our workspace consultancy service helps you understand your office and your people. We collect measurable and cultural insights into your office space and your people. The results enable you to make intelligent data-informed decisions. Consequently, you can streamline costs whilst increasing employee engagement and wellbeing. Our service is scalable to meet your requirements, timescales, and budget. We can help you ensure a smarter, optimised workspace with more productive people. To explore your needs and how we can help you, reach out today.