Many independent variables must come together for an office environment to fully embody the spirit of an organization’s business mantra. In order for the various components that help make a business and its employees successful, efficient, and innovative, a symbiotic relationship between these factors must exist to help employees unite with their office environment under one goal, one vision, and one strategy.
A beneficial workplace strategy, simply put, is the backbone of all good and modern businesses. It helps unify, exemplify, and manifest efficiency and greatness from all its co-conspirators to help achieve fluidity in the workplace. It helps people connect with others within their workplace, and aids in their connection to the space itself. In this post, we’ll explain what makes a good workplace strategy.
What Is Workplace Strategy?
We can wax poetic all day, but workplace strategy goes beyond the hopefully harmonious end result, and represents a strict process of connecting and aligning working patterns, personalities, and environments by researching and analyzing data, trend reports, design/layout, and employee feedback.
Workplace strategies focus on how to use an organization’s existing space more effectively and productively, by responding to issues of insufficient space, too much space, or shifts to company values. They do this while simultaneously trying to reduce property costs, improve performance and/or collaboration, relocate buildings, or by combining two traditionally opposed/separated company cultures. The need for workplace strategy often emerges during times of organizational uncertainty – like the end of a lease agreement, or during a company merger or buy-out.
As Tim Springer, PhD, would say, in practice workplace strategy “is a systematic approach for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of how work space is used by changing the way work space is configured.” Springer further reports the physical work environment – everything from the conference rooms, team spaces, and mobile workspaces – has a significant effect on people’s behaviour and performance.
Components of Workplace Strategy
At the core of any good workplace strategy is many components that need to be in place for a successful strategy to emerge. Most importantly, this includes people and predetermined responses to inevitable obstacles and challenges.
Workplace strategies are put into place to serve the concerns and effectiveness of employees. It’s critical that the feedback of these people is heard and utilized in any workplace strategy. The person charged with developing a new workplace strategy needs to deeply and thoroughly understand the organization’s requirements, wish-lists, and all current and future needs. This person is often selected from within the company’s existing talent – but external workplace consultants may also provide strategy services, likely from within an architectural firm, or an office environment design-build firm – who have a deep understanding of the relationship between physical spaces and workplace efficiency.
Workplace strategy consultants may also have varied backgrounds in contributing fields like business management/administration, human resources, interior design, real estate, surveying and/or building research. Additionally, workplace strategy consultants may even possess beneficial experience deciphering the human condition through a related field such as psychology.
Coming to a solid understanding of an organization’s internal workplace issues is a major step is laying out any type of formal strategy. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health tells us that considering the needs and issues facing employees is a primary consideration of the identification phase – but identification must focus directly on plausible solutions, rather than problems. Workplace strategy asks:
- Is there room to improve?
- Are organizational ideas solution-based, or simply reorganizing a problem?
- Will this approach facilitate long-term success, or a short term fix?
- Is the broader picture being considered, or just a specific situation?
- Does this approach encourage employee collaboration and involvement that will foster responsibility?
- Is there potential for a shared plan that can address multiple ideas?
From a mental health standpoint, workplace strategy is a key tool for managing potential workplace stressors and clarifying the expectations of the physical space that can assist employee success rates – and happiness/fulfillment – at their job.
At its core, workplace strategy is a coordinated effort from across all streams of an organization – IT, HR, finance, management, etc – bringing their own independent strategies to the table. An effective workplace strategy aligns these differing perspectives by reflecting vision, mission statement, goals, and objectives.
Successful workplace strategies improve employee performance and fulfillment, boost company flexibility and collaboration, improve work-life balance, and brand identity. They are also able to attract and retain top talent thanks to better company culture and image. This aligned information is used to treat the physical work environment as a pivotal asset, enabling groups to plan, design, build, and manage their workspaces with specific goals in mind.