Three key elements for delivering appropriate workplaces:
Let’s look at each of these elements in a little more detail.
Sympathetic workplace design
The meeting software technology tool set
available to staff
1. Workplace design
Modern workplaces are flexible spaces offering far more choices than the stodgy and bland offices of our parents.
They should include not just formal meeting spaces, but also collaboration spaces, informal hang out areas, different desk types based on functional need and high tech spaces with force multiplying technologies such as telepresence.
New build projects that link design with wellbeing and productivity are on the increase, but many companies are repurposing their existing spaces successfully.
The key is staying flexible and responding to needs – the forecast demand and actual utilization of different workspace often don’t turn out as originally assumed.
The difference between design and user experience is that user experience adapts to how people actually use the space. Be responsive and nimble, because the market demands it. This sort of flexibility sounds great, but it can be challenging to manage properly.
So what works well?
Our experience ( see these case studies ) suggests that to maximize the benefits of a well-designed workplace, you need three important elements:
- Good information on space and desk availability
- An easy ability to book the right workspace
- A clear set of operating rules accepted by the user community.
Here’s an example of how workplace transformation creates perfect meetings
James has to organize an important video conference, and needs his meeting to make a great impression.
His clients will join the meeting at James’ company office in Arizona, and James will be in New York. James’ sales director and finance director will join from another East Coast location.
It’s going to be a long meeting, so catering will be needed at each place.
How can James make sure the right meeting space is booked in each location, with the right VC equipment and catering arrangements in place?
What happens if one of the meeting details changes?
James uses his meeting software system to select space and arrange all details in a single transaction, even the catering.
The system automatically books suitable space in different locations, checks that equipment is available, orders catering at the appropriate times and takes time zones into consideration. It’s all entered into Outlook by the system, which is fully integrated.
All involved in the meeting, including the people who set up the rooms, are automatically informed. If James needs to change any detail, automatic updates are sent to everyone to make sure they are aware.
This is just one example of how an intuitive meeting software booking system is the key to making effective use of high-cost/well-equipped space.
2. The technology toolset
This is a critical component that supports a more agile workforce and provides greater flexibility for staff to locate and use space around tasks being performed.
Technologies that integrate with meeting software and support workplace transformation include:
For information and engagement. One example is wayfinding, helping workers locate the right space or colleague
Offering self-service capability for staff on the move, eg a room or desk booking app
Seamlessly connect meeting participants, saving time and creating meetings that work
Panels and other room
Ideally fully integrated with the in-room experience, for information purposes, including supporting service provision such as catering and AV
For real-time information on space and people, giving staff a fast route to locate what they need
Connecting staff wherever they are.
More advanced technologies are also on the horizon, including AI and other automated tools for repetitive tasks, but because AI is still at an early stage and workplace metrics are only just being gathered, AI decision support should be seen as a future reality.
3. Building infrastructure
These days, everyone’s talking about the Smart Building. Critical elements of building infrastructure you should consider are:
The internet of things will provide increasing amounts of useful data about how a building and its facilities are being utilized.
Greater integration of building controls and building systems – 68% of US respondents in a recent survey said they were planning to invest.
Globally, FM executives are planning to boost investment by 50%; it’s a major priority for many companies.
Because all of these innovations – and the management reports generated by meeting software – give great insight into the utilization of a building and its workspace, evolving building technology will make workplace transformation easier and more cost-effective to implement.