27 (122) 2016
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Real Estate & Construction

Getting your business in the right shape for the Future of Work

By Anna Bartoszewicz-Wnuk, head of Workplace Advisory, JLL
Header anna bartoszewicz wnuk


This article is about workplace strategy works – how it works for us, how it can work for you.

It’s important to create a workplace strategy that ensures that the office is adjusted to the employees' needs. A workplace strategy that enhances communication and productivity, as well as helping to optimise real estate costs. What this really boils down to is this: how to create a space in which people are happy and satisfied.

Company –  the soul and the culture

The starting point is to consider the physical shape of our office – to define what creates value for our organisation, and to focus on the spatial and technological solutions that enhance work quality. We wanted to create an employee-friendly space that encourages productivity, creativity and represents the ‘soul of the company’. Apart from the usual criteria used in looking for office space, we also considered any potential space's quality, usage and design. We began by analysing our working environment and, as a result, we completely changed our office with the aim of adjusting it as far as possible to the needs of the employees. We wanted to enhance communication, and increase productivity and collaboration. I believe we have managed it very well. We concluded our new space arrangement with a focus on different working styles, a new work station plan, and the functions and locations of particular departments. We created space adjusted for departmental work, team work, and projects that involved employees from different departments as well as quiet zones

Our goal of creating the ideal office was to create an employee-friendly workplace that encouraged productivity and creativity as well as reflecting the company's core values and philosophy. A well-tailored office that meets all the needs of employees allows the employer to both reduce staff turnover and acquire new talents.

Change management

Communicating the personal benefits of a new workplace strategy to your workforce will ensure quicker adoption and acceptance. The right workplace strategy can promote collaboration, inspire ideas, improve performance and retention while increasing your bottom line.

To be successful, you need to understand the behaviours and attitudes of all of your stakeholders and employees who’ll be affected by the new initiative. To properly leverage that understanding needs communication, training and incentives that drive alignment and deliver results quickly.

We learned how a proven change management plan can substantially increase an initiative’s success rate.

The appropriate change management is a critical factor for the overall project success; it doesn’t end with the move date but carries on to ensuring a lasting change, and allows for a project evaluation.

Step by step to the new workplace

Firstly we organised an 'opening workshop' – a meeting held with the company's management during which we discussed the functioning of the new office, its planned optimisation processes as well as describing the vision of the new workplace.

Next, we carried out detailed interviews with our heads of departments and senior management, we inspected their business approach, cultural values as well as future strategies and goals. Our HR and IT divisions were also involved in the process from the very beginning. These interviews were the first step in managing the change and to assure the team that their opinions were important and that the result of the optimisation process would encapsulate their needs and expectations.

We conducted detailed research on space usage based on an in-depth analysis. It allowed us to understand how employees would actually use the available office space. Tthe research also provided us with an insight into the way the office space would be used during working hours and provided data regarding the optimisation of space usage. We analysed the potential for implementing co-shared office desks, how to meet the demand for meeting rooms, and what additional spaces should be created within the office to improve working comfort.

An on-line survey on the working place’s efficiency was conducted to measure teams' satisfaction with our previous office. The survey included numerous questions on working conditions as well as their preferred way of working, functions and office arrangement.

We created focus groups that allowed us to describe the required factors related to working places and, as a consequence, enhanced the operations of individual teams and departments. It enabled us to identify business requirements, working styles, additional opportunities as well as future expectations towards working places and potential challenges. This was our method to check opinions among employees. It presented an excellent opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Such sessions present a real opportunity to test the concept of the new office among a wider group of users. It  also proved to be a powerful tool in the change management process.

Final countdown

At the end of the optimisation process, we summarised all conclusions drawn up during the previous phases – the research of office space usage, and a working place efficiency survey and management and focus groups. We prepared a strategy for the space’s new arrangement with a focus on different working styles, new distribution of working places, functions and the location of individual departments. We also highlighted facilitators and barriers for future changes as well as drawing a map for managing this process of change. Our workplace strategy also included project guidelines for our architect, Danuta Barańska from Tétris (part of the JLL Group), who was also responsible for the design and build works in our new office.

During the whole process we provided our employees with carefully prepared and managed communication. We used an extensive range of tools ranging from newsletters, intranet pages with regular photo and video updates, meetings, showrooms with furniture and site visits, to workshops. We ensured that employees were involved, well -informed and excited about moving to a new location, and new style of work.

JLL's Workplace Advisory is one of the services we offer to our clients. In Poland, such services are becoming more popular and companies increasingly analyse their working environment and adjust their requirements accordingly. My team, Workplace Advisory, advises clients on how to redefine their work styles and create space-efficient, productive and cost effective workplaces that enhance business performance. We did this and it really worked.

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