With uncertainty about hybrid working, threats of a recession, and rising real estate costs, you're probably concerned about the future of your office. With a wide range of views (both internally and externally), you may be wondering “Do we even need an office at all? If so, what should it look like?”.
Creating a productive and efficient workspace for your people is vital for the long-term success of your business. However, this can be a daunting task. Given the costs involved, the complexities to consider, and the consequences if things go wrong, that’s understandable.
That’s where a workspace consultant comes in. By combining their knowledge and experience with data collected from your company, they can help you plan the workspace that you need. A workspace that improves performance, staff wellbeing, and your real estate return on investment.
At Zentura, we regularly speak to companies who are thinking about hiring a workspace consultant, but are unsure if it is worth the cost. As a design & build firm, we have a detailed understanding of the benefits workspace consultants provide. In this article, we’ll break down 9 of the most common ways that a workspace consultant can help your business.
Real estate and staffing costs are the highest overheads of almost every company. Despite this, very few companies have a clearly defined workspace strategy. As a result, their offices limit the performance of their people and hinder company growth.
A workspace strategy is a formal plan to optimise the impact your office(s) have on your company's performance. It helps you to reduce real estate costs. It can also make your existing workspaces more effective and make real estate decisions more consistent. There are 5 key parts of a workspace strategy: Working Model, Space Design, Space Location, Technology, and Cost. To learn more about workspace strategy, read this article.
A workspace consultant can help you to create, update, or improve your workspace strategy. With extensive experience in this area, they’ll be able to ensure everything you need is included. They'll also be able to help you avoid common workspace strategy mistakes. With a well-defined workspace strategy, you will be able to create an office that maximises your company's performance.
Leasing or purchasing a new office may be the biggest investment your company will make in a decade. It’s crucial that you choose an office that will maximise the performance of your business and your people, both now and in the future.
If your workspace strategy identifies that you do need to move to a new office, your consultant will also be able to help you define the criteria for your new office. If you have already identified that you need to relocate, a workspace consultant will help you by reviewing that decision. Either way, you can be much more confident in deciding where to relocate to, knowing that a professional has helped you define your needs.
Despite prime office space being so expensive, many office designs are very space inefficient. Outdated design traditions and a lack of planning mean that many offices have 30-40% wasted office space. Eliminating this wastage at your company could save hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.
A workspace consultant will be able to use space occupancy systems. These will track which areas of your office are used, as well as when and how. They can also conduct staff surveys and interviews to get a more detailed understanding of how your people use your office. Using this data and their experience, your consultant can then work with your designer to create a layout that is much more space efficient. You can then move to a smaller, cheaper office, or sub-let some of your existing office to reduce your real estate costs.
Now more than ever, staff wellbeing is an important part of your company’s success. High levels of staff wellbeing will mean your people are more engaged, productive, and collaborative. On the other hand, low staff wellbeing contributes to poor culture, low productivity, and staff conflict. Your office is the place where your people spend most or all of their working lives. As a result, it has a crucial role to play in their physical and psychological wellbeing.
Workspace consultancies understand the importance of creating an environment that maximises your employee wellbeing. They will be able to work with your designer to optimise factors such as layout, lighting, ergonomics, and air quality. Maximising the wellbeing of your staff significantly improves their productivity. Consequently, a workspace consultant can prove an excellent investment.
Effective collaboration and communication are crucial to your business performance. 86% of staff cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Through its layout and features, your office design will either be helping or hindering communication at your company.
Using surveys and observation sessions, a workspace consultant will be able to build a detailed picture of how people work together in your office. They will then be able to work with your designer to design environments that enable seamless collaboration among your people. Collaboration increases productivity by 25% or more. If your consultant helps improve collaboration in your office, then they will prove an excellent investment.
Technology is becoming ever more important to the way we work, and the advent of hybrid working has only increased the speed of this change. With colleagues and clients globally, technology enables convenient communication. However, workspace technology involves more than hybrid meeting suites. Smart buildings can make your office safer and more secure. They also give you a better understanding of how your people use your office.
A workspace consultant will be able to advise you on how to effectively integrate technology into your workspace. They can assist in selecting and implementing tools and systems that improve the performance of your people. From smart access control to virtual reality suites, a consultant can help you equip your workspace with cutting-edge technology to improve your business performance.
As the place where your people spend most or all of their working lives, your office has a huge impact on their performance. You can enhance your culture by creating a workspace that brings your brand to life. When working in an environment that reflects and enhances your brand, your people will work in a way that matches your brand. On the other hand, a dull and outdated office that detracts from your brand will limit the performance of your people.
Office branding is much more than signage and decoration. It encompasses the entire experience your people have while in the space, from the layout to the coffee. A workspace consultant can work closely with you and your designer to translate your brand into an office design that matches the needs of your company.
All of your people are different and require different things from their workspace. What your company needs from your workspace will also likely change over time. It's crucial to incorporate flexibility and adaptability into your office, so that all your staff can maximise their performance in your office, even as your business needs change.
Drawing on their experience and understanding of office design, a workspace consultant will to able to recommend design features and workspace strategy decisions that will help you future-proof your workspace. By doing this, they will prevent you from making mistakes that could prove very costly in the years to come.
As mentioned earlier, real estate and staffing costs are the two highest overheads for most companies. Consequently, it's crucial that you carefully manage the costs of both, without reducing their performance.
A workspace consultant can also help you with this. They can analyse your current workspace expenditures and identify areas where savings can be made without compromising the performance of your business and people. They will also be able to assess the viability of investments such as air conditioning and lighting upgrades, to help you improve your overall real estate ROI.
Improving Your Real Estate ROI with Workspace Consultancy
By helping to improve the performance of your company at the same time as reducing your real estate risk and costs, a workspace consultant can prove an excellent investment for your business. By helping you to define your workspace strategy, they provide clarity and confidence. Their expertise in areas such as collaboration, wellbeing, workplace technology and brand identity will help you increase the performance of your people. Having an expert to help you choose an office as well as assist you with flexibility and cost optimisation will significantly reduce the risks and uncertainties you face.
To learn more about workspace consultancy and how it might apply to your company, read Do I Need Workspace Consultancy? There, we’ll walk you through the 5 common reasons companies engage a workspace consultant, and how they might apply to your company. Read more here.