Adapting Your Office For New Workplace Strategies

You always want to design office space for today, as well as the future. One constant in the business world is the evolution of your organization. You will have departments going through creation periods, dissolution periods, and modifications along the way. The organization you create today, will not be the same a few years from now. Realizing change is inevitable can assist as you design your office space.

The idea of having a future proof office design is possible. New departments and initiatives within an organization cause workplace strategies and will spark a need for a change of how employees work. The leaders in design understand this, which is why they want to tap into your vision, to share your insight on where you see the company going. Understanding the long-term vision is what makes the discovery-centric office design approach valuable.

 

Considerations to Make When Embarking on an Office Design

As you embark on an office design for your organization, you want to consider a lot of variables. The goal is to create something which suits your needs now but will also be adaptable to the future. Quality design for the office allows for growth, allows you to maximize every inch of space. Flexibility and the ability to evolve is crucial.

  1. Office Size – You need to consider the actual size of your office to start with. If your organization were to double in size five years from now, is there enough office space for everyone? If the answer is no, you may want to re-think even the location of where you set up shop. Why spend on a design and build out an office today, if it is not going to allow for growth? Before you even get into the design, think square footage.
  2. Space Planning – You want to plan space and make sure you can adjust on the fly. The layout of your office today may make sense for current departments, current initiatives. As change arrives, though, you need to have space to make the changes necessary. One way to do this is via a shared space, rather than space you dedicate to a team. Office design continues to become more flexible. Fewer private offices exist. The goal is to get everyone out in the open, with collaboration. This also addresses the need for extra square footage, as folks don’t take up as much space in the workplace.
  3. Adequate Input – You need to get input from everyone when going through space planning and office design. Allow each employee to have an active involvement in the design process. Get their input on what will work best for each style. If you allow employees to be a part of the Aura discovery-centric office design process, it is more likely they buy into the approach. While you do not want employees to have full control over each decision, you want their voices heard to meet their individual needs.
  4. Plan for Additional Future Growth – Do you have any idea on what your employee base will be in 12 or 24 months? You may not be able to predict many years out, but having a budget and thought on where the headcount stands in a couple of years time is possible. Share this information with Aura, your commercial interior design professional. The more information and preparation, the more future-proof the design.
  5. Dedicated Space – If you were able to add a new department to your company today, do they each need a desk which is permanent? Do they all need to sit near one another? Would it benefit them to be close to other departments as well? There is a lot of remote work happening in the current environment. Many folks will compress work weeks, all in the spirit of achieving a better work and life balance. The trends are awesome, but it also means they may not need a space 100% of the time.

 

Understand the Workflow of the Organization

Do you have a good sense of the workflow of your organization? Have you done a value stream map, to see where hand-offs occur from one group to the next? The workflow of your organization, getting products or services to clients, should get a boost by the design of the office. If the two are not in sync, chances are there will be a waste in the efficiency space. Employees who need to collaborate all the time should be near one another. If you were to add a new product or service into the workflow, plan for that in the future. Make sure integrating that new department into the space works.

 

React to the Company Initiatives

What are the workplace strategies you have set? Do you intend to expand your work from home offerings or allow employees to compress work weeks? Do you see trends where you want to add further spaces where employees can share information openly and collaborate? You want space planning ready to react to any company initiative you roll out. It may even be a marketing or sales initiative, a way to get employees to think differently. All factors can contribute to alterations of space planning. The more preparation put into it, the easier it will be to adapt for what you seek.

You need to have an office design which can adapt and evolve over time. Setting up a bunch of cube walls and offices is not going to cut it. It is all about adapting to your millennial employee base, offering the space to collaborate and share, create efficiencies and knowledge transfers. Office designs which include space planning for today and the future equate to big net gains. Working with a company like Aura and their discovery-centric design planning approach allows for revelations before any cube walls go up, to prepare for what’s to come.

Does Your Office Convey Your Brand Effectively? Consider These Best Practices

Have you ever gone for a walk around the office to analyze if it has met your expectations? When you think about your company, your brand, does your office design represent what you are selling? If you are a modern company with high-tech aspirations, do you have a modern office that showcases those traits? If the answer is yes, good for you! The majority of organizations, though, will find that their brand lacks representation in their office design.

The office environment plays a big role in conveying a brand. Employees need to buy into the brand the same way customers do. Employees, though, need to buy in with the basis of the office design, where they work every day. Customers get more exposure to commercials, marketing campaigns. Employees spend time in conference rooms, offices, open areas within the office. Your brand should have as much representation in the office as it does on a commercial for customers.

 

Enter a Discovery Phase to Act on a New Office Design

You need to take action when it comes to a new office design that represents your brand and your company culture but remember, it is not always a matter of changing things up.  You may need to go through a discovery session with a design & space planning firm to understand the needs of your company, where things may lack from a design space, and how you can improve. A powerful tool as part of this is the Aura Office Periodic Table of Office Design. Looking at each of its categories can help you better align your brand with your office design.

Style – Think about the style of your office and what lifestyle your brand represents. Do you have a brand that aims for a more retro vision, or is the gears more in the modern space? Do you cater to the millennial or urban crowd more than the traditional? Figure out what style works best.

Atmosphere – When you think about your brand, what is the atmosphere that comes to mind? Is it a bold brand, playful, vibrant? Figuring out the proper adjective can help with the design of an office to nail the feel. If you have a brand that is social, for example, you want an office design that has employees working in a very collaborative, open space.

Environment – What is the environment you expect from your office design? Is your brand one that will cater to the professional or the creative individual? Is it a cozy brand or a sophisticated brand? Think through the environment you seek with the office and how it meshes with your brand’s message.

Areas – What areas need to be a part of the office design? If you are going for a social atmosphere, areas that immediately come to mind include lunchrooms, lounge areas, and more. If it is more of a professional environment, having a reception and conference area will likely be a key need.

Features – What features would you expect in an office design? Again, for the social or unique settings, you want something like a rock climbing wall or pool table to get people in a creative mindset? If it is a sophisticated style your brand screams, going with glass walls or an exposed ceiling may be the way to go.

Texture – It may seem trivial to think about texture, but it says a lot about your office. It is as basics as whether or not you have shiny leather chairs or informal chairs at each cubicle or work station. The minor texture change can say a lot about the branding of a company.

Lighting – Lighting can make or break an office design. Does your brand aim more for the bright lights? Would lamps mesh better with the style, atmosphere, and environment you aim to achieve?

Furniture – Furniture is another key area that is very dependent on style, atmosphere, and environment. The furniture needs to meet the needs of employees, think ergonomics. You also have to have the furniture mesh with your brand as well.

It is the office design process of Aura that allows for the connection of a company’s brand, and the way the office looks. The design is not how it looks in the end, it is how it feels, how it works day to day, and how it meets the needs of employees, as well as clients and customers. By talking through the design using the periodic table, you will discover what will engage employees. Involve everyone at all levels, to give an opinion before you put any design thoughts into action.

 

Identify Your Company’s Culture

Do you know what culture of a company you want to set? Are you the type of company that is going to push the envelope, have a culture where engagement is important and employee retention high? You need to figure out the identity you seek. Branding your office around that identity and driving forward company culture is pivotal as part of the designing process.

The awareness of your company culture and how it links to your office design goes beyond employee perception. You likely will have customers and clients making their way into your office from time to time. When they enter the space, they want to experience your brand, your company culture from top to bottom. If you have a disconnect between the office design and the culture you push, there is a major problem there. Customers or clients may end up turning away from your product or service due to the impression the office space left on them. Do not let this happen to you!

Tenant Improvement Allowance Negotiations: What You Need To Know

Gym’s offer free trial memberships in order to entice new patrons. Beer companies offer free t-shirts or hats as a way to sweeten the deal when buying a case of their product. We all appreciate a good old fashioned consumer incentive, don’t we? Landlords also offer incentives along the same lines in order to attract prospective tenants to fill vacant office spaces, and navigating these negotiations is a hugely important aspect of lease agreements.

The most coveted landlord incentive is the tenant improvement (TI) allowance — an agreed upon amount the landlord is willing to pay for to renovate or retrofit the space for a tenants specific needs. Typically, TI agreements are inked with per-square-foot parameters, or alternatively, a lump sum amount – but key to understanding this incentive is knowing it’s decided during lease negotiations.

Lease negotiations often include talks about who ultimately gets to decide on a final design, who does the work, and who pays for it all; in this post, we’re looking at what you need to know about tenant improvement allowance negotiations.

 

Your Goals as a Tenant

Tenants negotiating a new lease agreement for an office space would much rather have the space fitted to their needs, without having to pay out of pocket to make the changes. Tenants negotiating their improvement allowance terms should be prepared to fight for two specific aspects of the deal:

  • Get an allowance large enough to cover the improvements you deem necessary to your business.
  • Maintain a high degree of control over the build-out process, including who does the work, and the final design.

These goals should determine the scope of your discussions with your prospective landlord, and you should expect to discuss in detail, how you’ll achieve this agreement, which will probably be structured in one of two ways.

A turn-key build-out is when the landlord agrees to cover all the costs of a tenant build-out project as part of the agreed upon lease arrangement. This style of deal sometimes means the scope of construction is agreed to, but how it comes to fruition may not be under the control of the tenant. Simple, but sometimes not  specific of prompt as envisioned.

Next is a stated dollar amount wherein the landlord will agree to provide a stated dollar amount for the prospective tenant group to use towards building out the space for their needs. This can mean construction costs, architectural, or engineering fees, resulting in the tenant remaining in control of the build-out process, knowing full well their budget, and the contractors and groups doing the work.

Both ideas have their merits, but like any deal, it’s all about educating yourself and finding ways to benefit from your negotiation skills.

 

Issues with Turn-Key Agreements

In short, with turn-key agreements, a landlord may agree to a set amount of money from which to complete a build-out, and then incorporate a level of contingency costs to prevent the real-life costs of the project from exceeding the estimate. What does that mean in plain english? Some landlords are notorious for cutting corners when given the green light on turnkey agreements in an effort to save their out-of-pocket expenses.

Let’s imagine you agree to a $30/square foot estimate with your landlord for a turn-key tenant improvement allowance deal. If the landlord is able to finish the space and only spend $20/square foot, they’ll eagerly accept that price, and deliver a turn-key space that is effectively worth $10 less per square foot, negatively affecting the tenant who thinks they’re benefiting from a $30/square foot renovation. The landlord spends less, negotiates a higher rent number to compensate for their spending, and effectively double dips and profits from this arrangement.

Secondarily, the nature of the turnkey arrangement is, the tenant forfeits control of the build-out process, leaving the hiring, design, and construction of the renovation solely in the hands of the landlord.

Pro Tip: head to the negotiation table with an extensively researched and documented work letter, detailing a specific set of construction plans so you know what you’re getting for the agreed upon price. Without these plans, what you see is often what you’ll get for your negotiation efforts.

 

Maintaining Control

Negotiating a stated amount deal is key to tenants maintaining control of the build-out process. With a stated amount deal, tenants may be able to negotiate the right to retain their own project manager and ultimately oversee the design and build phase of the renovations or remodelling.

Objectively, this is all about shifting control from the landlord to the tenant to ensure quality control over the process, as well as to prevent or intervene during any potential time setbacks to prevent holdover rent/lease fees.

If negotiated properly, a stated amount deal also guarantees the tenant group is able to proactively negotiate and select a contractor group that gets them the best value for the dollar amount agreed to in the terms of the tenant improvement allowance agreement. This guarantees any savings directly benefit the tenant, not the landlord.

 

Special Considerations

Amortization

It’s not necessary, but it’s always wise to negotiate the right to amortize new tenant improvement allowance dollars into the agreed upon monthly rent so you may add potential improvements down the road, should you need them.

Amount

Negotiating will be easier, and more effective if you know the scope of your desired build-out specifics  ahead of time. Bring with you an accurate price estimate for what you’re after so you can negotiate a fair stated amount deal, or an accurate turn-key budget that you collectively agree the tenant should co-manage.

Landlord Charges

During your negotiations, get in writing what overhead charges your landlord seeks to charge you as part of any tenant improvement allowance deals. Landlords will charge ‘administrative’ fees for tenant improvement work to lessen the amount of money they need to spend on actual improvements, ultimately becoming a source of revenue for them.

Find out what fees and charges the landlord seeks to charge before agreeing to any deal, and consult a real estate broker or neighbouring tenants to make sure they’re sticking to local customs and norms.

 

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It’s easy to sit down at the negotiation table with visions of tenant world-domination on your mind. There’s an element of perceived power we associate with negotiating the best deal possible, and it’s important for any prospective tenant to consider – but it’s not always necessary.

Should your build-out entail a few minor walls being moved, a new floor, and a fresh coat of paint, it’s not that important the tenant group maintain total control over the job; it’s simple enough that it doesn’t matter too much how the work gets done, as long as it serves your business well. It’s when a build-out means structural changes, architectural considerations, and custom renovation features that control should be harshly fought for by the tenants.

Any way you spin it, maintaining control over your improvement allowance deals allows tenants to maximize the value of their deal, and minimize potential hiccups of interruptions in the future.

The Economics of Ergonomics: Selecting the Right Office Furniture

Every company has a goal of supporting its workforce. The support comes in the form of paying salary and benefits to employees, giving them office space, and even making sure their specific workspace meets their needs. Ergonomics often get a rush job when talking about office design space planning. You get companies that spend months designing an office, only to make a decision on office furniture in a day or two with minimal research and thought. Great office design is only as good as its furniture.

When you design an office, you need the full vision in mind. You have to understand how the design of the office will flow with furniture, with lighting, storage, etc. Without having the details in-between the book covers, you may end up with an empty space, one that does not fulfill its mission. Aura Office Environments combats that with the design-centric customer journey. Putting ergonomics front of mind can help you increase productivity and make the spend worth every cent.

 

Understanding Ergonomics

To do ergonomics right, you need to understand the concept. Ergonomics is one of the most misunderstood terms in office design space planning. Ergonomics is all about designing or arranging a workspace, inclusive of any system and products necessary, to meet the needs of each individual.

An easy example of poor ergonomics is a chair that does not adjust up or down. If you have a tall or short employee, the lack of adjustment of the chair will harm their comfort level. The chair may work great for one height of a person, but we are all different and unique. You need to think through an ergonomics approach so each employee is comfortable and effective.

 

How They Can Impact the Workplace

Ergonomics has a huge impact on the workplace via a variety of categories. Safety is top of mind, as well as comfort, and productivity. Diving deep into these three areas, you will see right it is pivotal to choose furniture that meets employee needs.

Employees should be safe when they are at work. If you do not have proper furniture for employees, though, safety may be at risk. The adjustable chair example is a prime one where you need that for employees of a variety of heights. You can run into back injuries and a slew of other issues when employees cannot adjust how they sit. If your office space involves some manufacturing and such as well, having segregation from that area with furniture can help to avoid accidents.

  1. Comfort – Every employee wants to work in a different way. You need to have furniture that helps employees be comfortable at work. Having proper desk spaces that allow for sitting and standing is a given. It is when you think outside of the box that you can do awesome things with furniture and ergonomics. Employees may use a combination of quality, comfortable furniture and new technology to drive collaboration at meetings. Having a few couches available for folks to sit back and unwind for a bit can help productivity, engagement from individuals.

No one wants to sit in their cubicle at work for hours on end every day. The employees want variety and they want different types of furniture where they can get a different view every now and then. The role of comfort is all about engagement and productivity and it can work.

  1. Productivity – There is no denying that you can increase productivity in the workplace with ergonomics. The economics of ergonomics title is all about using ergonomics as a way to increase the profitability of the business. How does this work exactly? Take two employees that do the same exact job. The first employee is stuck in a cubicle all day long in a chair they cannot adjust, with one single monitor they work on, in a weather noisy environment. The second employee has options of where they can work, with couches, chairs, their standard cube space. The second employee has two or three monitors available to them at any given time, in a quiet environment more suitable for focus, collaboration, and analysis. Which of the two employees is going to have a more productive day?

Studies showcase the economics of ergonomics as well. According to one such study done, a fast food provider made a decision to resign workstations to include the dimensions of the human body. The height and such were all taken into account. When the fast food provider did this redesign, they found that change drove a 20% increase in productivity. A steel company went through with a redesign of an observation pit. The reduction in waste and increase in productivity led to a savings of $150,000 in the first year alone.

 

Having Flexibility in the Design

There is no one size fits all when it comes to ergonomics. It is all about having a concept in mind when it comes to space planning. You want to have a general idea of the furniture you will choose, knowing that each piece has to encompass flexibility. No employees are of the same size; you do not hire robots! Every individual has their own needs and ergonomics help ensure those needs get met every day.

Ergonomics can help in the profitability space of each business. Having proper space planning can allow for employee positivity, safety, comfort, and engagement to all skyrocket. Work with the team at Aura to go through the space planning, design process. Ensure that furniture is top of mind so that ergonomic goals and associated benefits all get realization.

The Art of Lease Negotiations: 3 Essential Points for Tenants

The neighbourhood is perfect. The space is primed for business growth. The view is nice… You’ve found the ideal office location for your growing business, and while the real estate portion of your search is winding down, it’s time to prep for lease negotiations.

Many fledgling tenants imagine the lease process as a cut-and-dry deal. There’s a price, a contract, and a moving date. No need to come to the table with a plan – it is what it is — not the case. Tenants eager to sign on the dotted line and set up shop in their dream office often miss a golden opportunity to negotiate some key conditions and concessions that wind up saving their business thousands of dollars in rent, renovation costs, and capital used to make the space just right for them and their business.

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The Millennial Workplace Blueprint

Office design is crucial to the success of every business. You want a workplace that matches with your employee base. If you have a millennial workplace, which most companies do today, you need to adapt. What is the blueprint for the millennial workplace? How can you be sure you meet their needs? You need to connect with each employee, figure out what they value, and it begins with knowing the make-up of your workforce.

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Why A Strong Office Design Strategy Is Crucial In Building Customer Loyalty

There are many reputable studies out there toting the importance and benefits of strong office design strategies contributing to employee retention. This is thanks to an inflated conversation surrounding the relationship of good environmental design factors playing a role in productivity, creativity, and employee well being the workplace, uniting an aesthetically pleasing space with the ability to perform well within it.

But offices in many professional service sectors like law, consulting, real estate, advertising, etc., are tied directly to the customer experience. We believe the same principle of employee retention can be extended to include office design strategy as a key factor for building customer loyalty.

In this post, we’re examining why a strong office design strategy is crucial in building customer loyalty.

 

Form

It’s 2019 – and the writing is on the wall. Customers and clientele are actively seeking to work with firms and organizations that allow them to recognize an appropriate professional counterpart.

The offices of Apple, Google, and Facebook immediately come to mind for most investigating office design strategy – with Millennial-centric auras, open concept cafes, and collaborative spaces that inspire creativity and chance encounters. While those are admirable and valuable traits – they’re designed for employees – not so much clientele, but this can be extended to customer retention as well. People are primarily visual learners, and when we see something we like, or identify with, it helps us to feel good and confident in our decisions.

Let’s imagine your clients are a youth start up in the real estate sector; say, a budding developer. The youth market has an affinity for eco-efficient and sustainable technologies and actively integrate those styles of technologies and practices into their businesses. Sustainability and creativity are stepping stones to innovation and forward-thinking, two very valuable traits in a collaborating partner. Chances are they won’t be attracted to a dated office space that employs the use of cubicles and a drab paint colour. They’ll be much more receptive and likely to support and continue working with a firm that embraces the aesthetic they identify with as part of their own organizational personality.

More closely investigating the form of your office space is also largely dependant on the footprint of your space. Retention of clientele will always be related to having the physical space needed to accommodate meetings, conferences, video chats, and deliberations – but it’s also about maintaining a space that is sustainable for your needs. There’s little sense in keeping a 3000 square foot office with a 12 person boardroom that sees action 3 or 4 times per year. Instead, maximize your business strategy potential by investigating ways to sustain an attitude based on efficiency and thoughtfulness. Refurbish a large unused space into a collaborative work space for staff, and turn smaller office spaces into private meeting rooms for clients as an alternative to a costly move.

 

Creating Positive Experiences

Dark and serious offices inspire serious experiences, and business in 2019 is less about the dryness of the old school business world and more so about developing a work/life balance that integrates fun, health, and prosperity through experience

2019 is all about experience-driven spaces that embrace the human potential of industrial and corporate spaces, the goals of which are to improve occupant experience while in the space. Space optimizations that are experience-driven are geared at improving the mental and physical wellbeing of people using the space through community-building.

Imagine you’re courting someone you’re attracted to; you’ll go out of your way to maximize your chances of impressing them with a clean apartment, a spotless car, and by taking them to places that spark some excitement. Take them to boring spots, or back to a messy home, and you can expect they’ll tire of that fairly quickly. Customers and clientele are no different. They expect the image of thier partners and favourite establishments to be refreshing, exciting, and innovative in such a way that it beckons them to come back again and again.

Creating these positive experiences doesn’t have to mean a complete office overhaul – it can mean a dedicated revamp of the lobby or waiting room, of your meeting space to invite them in as friends – rather than just customers; make them feel like valued family members, and they’ll seek out ways to maintain the professional relationship between you.

 

Readjust Strategy

We can discuss the aesthetic benefits of adjusting and reimagining physical spaces all day – but there’s one surefire way to address client retention through office strategy, and that’s to adjust your strategy all together.

The #1 reason customers leave a company is because they feel the company doesn’t care about them. Nearly 70% of customers polled say dissatisfaction of care contributes to them leaving. The major difference between companies that experience customer retention and those that don’t? Investment in customer retention strategy, not just customer acquisition. Majority of businesses are so enamored with the prospect of attracting new clientele that they leave old or existing customers by the wayside – despite the fact selling to a repeat customer can be up to 7 times cheaper and easier.

Sometimes, investigating office design strategy is as simple as reimagining how you’re thinking in your current space. Giving your staff a creativity-inspiring space to think is as important as trying to attract new customers.

 

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Customer loyalty and retention is all about providing your customers with a space that speaks to the requirements of their collaborating partners. They need a space that compliments their work ethic, their industry, their age, and their speed. But retention is more than that. It’s all about remembering your current customer base, and dedicating your office strategy to evolving with them as they grow and adapt to the marketplace. Office design strategy isn’t always about paint colours and layout – it’s also about learning more about your customers and how they behave.

How To Minimize Downtime in an Office Redesign

Undertaking an office redesign is a wildly exciting time for any business. A redesign, renovation, or even a reimagined layout in the office can help usher in a time of renewed spirit, well being, and productivity. While it may be easy to recognize your current space isn’t helping your organization and staff achieve their short and long term goals, it’s another thing to consider uprooting the entire working environment and potentially halting any forward-moving momentum.

There’s a lot of pros and cons to weigh out before you begin to tear down walls and look for new office furniture. There are contractors to consider, contemporary design trends, eco, and sustainable products – but the biggest consideration is often ranked last for some over-eager organizations who are keen to get the ball rolling, so to speak.

Investigating how to minimize downtime during an office redesign is a proactive way to help balance incoming and outgoing tasks, delegate plans, and keep your staff motivated and in-the-know while the dust flies. A good strategy is where it all starts – take a deep breath – it starts now.

 

Move Management Software

Move management systems (MMS) are critical for offices on the move, or offices undergoing a renovation or redesign that means jumping ship for an extended period of time. The gist of MMS is to unite and connect every department in your organization in such a way that reduces confusion and shortsightedness and eliminates a surplus of responsibility on management to answer questions when they’re spread thin trying to keep a redesign under control.

Move management software seeks to unify a company on one single system or server by streamlining processes and mobilizing your workforce through a time of locational uncertainty. With an automated workflow and a dedication to improved customer experience, a moving management system is all about tailoring your redesign process to iron out as many potential roadblocks and speed bumps as possible.

When your company can access one succinct system for every team member, you’re able to focus your businesses’ attention back onto customer service and the continued completion of tasks.

 

Keep Staff Well Informed

Let’s imagine that a month-long hiatus isn’t in the cards for your business. You’re plowing forward with your redesign plans and you’re motivated to keep staff working, on task, and completing goals. Even the most headstrong plans can be blown off course by a simple change of setting, so keeping everyone in tune with what’s happening is paramount to the success of your business.

Unnecessary chaos, confusion, and frustration are the likely results of an employee base that’s been left in the dark through a troublesome time – don’t let that happen.

Even the smallest office redesign plans can uproot and affect hundreds, if not thousands of people; from employees and freelancers to subcontractors and clientele. When the lights inevitably go out for construction and your team finds themselves potentially spread out in the world of temporary remote work, or in a temp space that doesn’t compliment their workflow, communication is going to be your best bet in reducing costly downtime and maximizing the chance for continued success.

Host weekly meetings and open the floor to employees to address any concerns they may have, share ideas on how to streamline efficiencies, or simply to update them on the office redesign or renovation progress. Share successful checkpoints in the build and seek to provide a timeline for their eventual return – and don’t be afraid to share unforeseen hurdles or setback in the construction phase. Employees are the heart and soul of your business, and they deserve to know what’s up – good or bad. The willingness to engage in this discourse will help create an environment of trust and confidence between management and employees.

When employees feel they’ve been heard, addressed, and listened to, you’ll stoke their internal fire and send them back to work with a spring in their step. A motivated working environment means ensuring everyone has their opinions heard – finding a proactive way to liaison between the workforce and management is critical.

 

Respond with Authority

Communication is a bit of a two-sided coin. It’s one thing to talk the talk — it’s time to walk the walk.

Holding weekly update meetings, or hosting weekly problem-solving brainstorms is only effective if your management team knows how to respond in such a way that inspires confidence and sure-footedness. Accepting that you may or may not be privy to all the answers is part of this equation – we’re all human, after all – but seeking to inform yourself so you may respond to your staff promptly and with authority makes all the difference when questions are being asked.

Communicate with your design-build team, your contractors, your clientele, and your department heads prior to walking into the perfect storm. Educating yourself on the state of affairs to the best of your ability will give you the ability to respond with authority.

Sometimes this can mean responding to a slew of concerned emails over the weekend, or taking the time to address silly or unnecessary questions that seem trivial at the time – but it’s the ability to give an answer that employees are after. Employers who have sought to put the business into a state of potential disarray thanks to a time-consuming redesign

 

The Design-build Mantra

One of the benefits of hiring a design-build firm to undertake your redesign plans is eliminating the old school multi-channel approach to building. Eliminating avenues for things to go wrong, or for miscommunications to fester is a huge benefit in dealing with one firm, rather than a slew of contractors and sub-trades.

The design-build mantra keeps everything in-house, from the initial brainstorm to the design, to the demo and construction or your new space – it’s all in the capable hands of one succinct firm with the experience to get it done well, and in good time to eliminate downtime for your business.

Let’s imagine you host a departmental rep communication session two weeks into your office redesign – Joan from accounting has a question about the new delivery set up, while the marketing team has concerns they’re not going to have enough space to facilitate a collaborative work environment. Meanwhile, the sales team wants to make sure they have the room to accommodate a semi-private conference room for large sales meetings with clients. Rather than having to bounce between a few different contractors searching for answers, the benefit of working with a design-build firm like Aura Office Environments is everything can go straight to one source. 3 questions, 1 point of contact; all the while eliminating downtime waiting for answers.

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Minimizing downtime for your staff is one of the most important aspects to consider when thinking about an office redesign. Downtime affects employees differently, and the larger picture demands we consider how a redesign will affect more than commute times, working hours, and project deliverables – downtime can also profoundly affect client relationships.

We strongly believe the best ways to minimize downtime are communicating the progress of your project and giving respect to how your employees work to guarantee success during a redesign. In either case, minimizing downtime is all about making our workforce feel empowered to speak up, be heard, and to be a part of the solutions that make your office environment a great place to work.

Mother Nature is Taking Back the Office

Modern society loves to ignore the fact that human beings are animals. We’re designed to interact and integrate with our environment – and contrary to popular belief, that natural environment isn’t sandwiched between two cubicle walls inhaling sterile air with no view of the outside world.

Humans possess the instinctual need to be immersed in the real world, and without access to it, our behaviors can change. So it’s no surprise employees and some businesses are demanding Mother Nature be integrated back into the office space.  

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How Office Design Can Improve Creativity

Office design strategy is largely about efficiency, productivity, and how many employees can effectively and purposefully be placed in a space to churn out the best results; usually from a monetary perspective, sprinkled with employee happiness and wellbeing. Yet, in an ever-evolving landscape that demands supportive collaboration in the office, we’re left wondering why more commercial office spaces aren’t optimized to improve creativity. Continue reading “How Office Design Can Improve Creativity”