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Downsizing your workspace? Here’s our expert advice…

If 2020 was the year of change then 2021 is the year that we must adapt and evolve to these shifts and for some businesses, this might mean downsizing their workspaces. As the modern workforce becomes more nomadic and mobile, less dedicated desk space is required – one forward-thinking response to this is to relocate to a smaller working environment and really capitalise on what the space offers you.

Downsizing your workspace whilst maximising its potential

When working with a smaller amount of space, it’s even more crucial than ever to ensure that any work setting, design feature or piece of furniture is truly adding value. The last thing you’ll want to do during a downsize design process is to waste valuable space by overcrowding with unnecessary elements that might have previously been considered a luxury or added extra in somewhere with more generous square footage.

Steelcase Silq Chair in the timeline of when the office chair was invented

See your downsizing project as the ideal opportunity to meticulously scrutinise what worked about your previous workspace and what workplace issues needed to be resolved. Taking this approach will enable you to relieve yourself of any dead weight and be left with a working environment that is fully functional and beneficial to the success of your business.

So, with that in mind, here are some must-do recommendations from our team of experts for any business looking to downsize their workspace: 

Make sure the office design scheme is inclusive

As the workforce of today and tomorrow continue to diversify rapidly, it’s vital that you foster a workspace which is safe, comfortable, considered and conscious of a wide spectrum of employee. With room for significantly less assigned workstations in a smaller space, it will become more tricky for diverse members of staff to personalise a setting to suit their individual needs. Therefore, the entire working environment needs to be inclusive so that every employee – no matter what their physical ability, mental health status, age, gender etc – can participate equally and effectively.


Click to download your FREE copy of our Inclusive Workplace: The Future of Office Design & Culture report. 

Optimise the use of workplace technology

If you’ve decided to downsize your workspace as a result of the rise in remote working and virtual meetings then you’ll want to give your workplace tech portfolio a fresh audit. Analysing what technology you’re currently taking advantage of – or indeed, missing out on – will enable you to ascertain whether or not your resource is going to be up to the task of efficiently connecting remote and resident employees.

For example, where you might have installed an additional meeting room in a larger working environment, you could consider having less settings designed for physical collaboration, in order to make space for a specific area dedicated to more sophisticated video conferencing facilities.

Click for more on why video conferencing technology is now more valuable than ever

Prioritise features that will attract and retain staff 

An instrumental part of optimising a space with less square footage than you were previously used to is to ensure that it is as appealing to your employees as possible. Cultivating a working environment which staff enjoy being in will go a long way to enhancing performance, productivity, motivation, collaboration and the morale of the overall company culture.

In the coming year, we see the following as some of the most effective ways to attract and retain the best talent in your industry:

  • Safety and measures to control the spread of infection
  • Work settings and resource which support socialisation and communication
  • An emphasis on the physical and mental wellbeing of space-users
  • Facilitating flexible working

What is activity-based work and how do you design an activity-based office?

Further reading: How office fit out can boost attraction and retention in 2021

Consider the location carefully 

As with any office relocation project, selecting the location of the space is an integral part of the process. The decision might be largely steered by a number of other external factors but it’s still worth weighing up the pros and cons of a few different destinations where possible. The surrounding vicinity of a workspace can have a profound impact on things like employee wellbeing and brand reputation.

Here’s why we think Liverpool and Manchester are both great cities for an office relocation.

Work with a professional office fit out and design company  

When it comes to a workspace downsizing project, the insight, guidance and expertise of a design and fit out partner are as invaluable as they are to the refurbishment of an existing space. Although your new workspace might be smaller, that doesn’t mean to say things like space configuration, design and resource are any less significant. Working with a trusted partner will ensure that you wring the most potential possible out of the space, regardless of its size.

Do you have any of your own pearls of wisdom on making a downsizing project as effective as possible? Make sure you share them with us over on Twitter or Instagram – @PenkethGroup

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