By Penketh Group Insights Team
21st February 2017
Like moving house, an office move can be seen as a stressful time but view it from a different perspective and it can be grabbed as an opportunity to embrace far-reaching change.
An office move is not only a perfect chance to physically declutter a space, it is also the best time to consider, assess and sweep out all those tired staff behaviours and office cultures that you don’t want to take with you.
The engagement levels of UK workers is close to global norms, but suffers from mixed feelings regarding engagement and workplace satisfaction metrics, according to Steelcase research.
Although most people are generally happy to go to work, enjoy connecting with their colleagues and get a sense of personal achievement from their work, they don’t value their company culture as much as workers in other countries. British people report feeling less likely to feel relaxed and calm at work which may stem from feeling a lack of control and having less access to alternative spaces.
In a fluid and competitive job market like in the UK, investing in a range of spaces in a new office can help give employees more choices and control of their work experience. These spaces could include a range of enclosed areas for individual or group work, to help add balance to primarily open environments.
Providing employees with more control in the workplace may provide a clear advantage for building engagement and loyalty. So what else do you need to consider ahead of an office move? Here are a few ideas:
Rethink the office furniture
Allow people to feel that they have a choice in the type of desk they use, the chair they sit at and they will feel involved in the process. Choosing where they work in the office, based on the task they are doing will also help boost their attitudes towards their work environment. It can help if they know there’s a focus room, meeting space or a relaxation zone they can move to as well as providing the option of working from home when need be.
Create space for chance meetings
The best ideas don’t usually strike when sitting in front of a PC. They can spring out of a chat with a colleague in a corridor, over an informal chat when having a cup of coffee or even a walk round the block. So give staff plentiful opportunities to mix with their colleagues and for chance encounters to occur. Make sure different departments talk to each other.
Factor in mobile working solutions
Today we talk far more about mobile working, yet the ratio of desktop PCs to laptops is still 2:1. This is because the majority of companies don’t yet have the technology to allow their staff to work in a more agile manner. An office move is the ideal time for an IT department to consider devising a robust and future-proof IT solution.
Mobile working is only going to grow in importance over the coming years. Increasingly, the people working in an office will be knowledge based and need to collaborate. If you need to brainstorm in a zone and you cannot move your technology with you, it will hamper you.
Create a work café
Fed up with staff hanging out round the toaster in the morning? Create an open plan work café area with a variety of flexible seating and table solutions to encourage positive collaboration and opportunities for departments to cross socialise.
Consider the wellbeing of your staff
Wellbeing doesn’t just happen. You have to plan for it. So design a healthier workplace before your big move. Encourage staff to be less sedentary by installing height adjustable desks which enable users to change their working positions from seated to standing. Move the printer to the floor below – or the other side of the office – to encourage staff to get up and move around. Have stand-up or even walking meetings because who says you have to sit round a big board table to make decisions!
We are moving towards a more paperless workplace. An office move is a good chance to do an audit, declutter and rethink the amount of storage and filing cabinets your business needs.