Oh great, another workspace article. It’s a fair comment as the whole world now has an opinion about the best way to work from home, or the best way to make your office ‘Covid-secure’ if there is even a thing.
What I’d like to talk about is not panicking. Easier said than done I know, but a client of ours recently mentioned that they’re 6 months into a 10 year lease. This is not unfamiliar territory for many companies – it might be the scenario you find yourself in now – but unfortunately the initial reaction seems to be one of ‘oh, what do I do now?’ Totally understandable. But I want to try and ease people out of paralysis and work with them to take a step forward.
Let’s break it down and look at all the options available to give you some fresh perspective. What I’m talking about is optimising your space to make every square foot pay its way. There’s an opportunity to transform the way your business works so that it’s streamlined, more efficient, and possibly making you money.
Does your entire company need to be in the office 5 days a week? If, after consulting your employees, you find that they’re more productive doing focus work at home two or three days per week, then consider making the office accessible only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Perhaps your team could be rotated Mondays and Tuesdays, or have optional workspace usage on these days so that it can adapt to social distancing in the current climate, but then become a central hub for internal communication updates every Wednesday.
If this were the case, you’re now in a position where you could sublet your property 2 days per week (subject to your lease terms). This could be shared with a similar business in your industry, perhaps with an overlapping of skills. If you’re a tech company, then getting to know a marketing and PR company a little better is going to be beneficial for both parties. It would certainly add a different dynamic to the office parties!
Another way to optimise your space is by exploring the way in which its used. If you were able to transform an area into a purposefully empty space – stay with me here guys – then you could use this maximise employee engagement in new and innovative ways. If there’s a large meeting room that is primarily unused, what about creating a space filled with enriching activities that unites colleagues and enhances their wellbeing at work? A space for yoga, guest seminars, shoulder-massages from a local masseuse, arcade-style games area, or business book club, are all ways of breaking up the workday and demonstrating a commitment to keeping workers healthy and inspired whilst in the office. You could even go one step beyond, which is allowing the space to be hired by other organisations, either by the hour or by the day. Check out the suite of meeting rooms we created for Hat Trick Productions where a series of folding walls can be retracted to open up into a large event space.
Rather than seeing it as being tied in for the next 5 to 10 years, I’d suggest examining how to optimise your workspace so that you can retain the top talent you have and attract the next wave of innovative candidates to your door. I also think it’s worth considering a way to share your space so that staff can adopt a truly agile working lifestyle that still provides them with a compass, a place to return to for connection, whilst being able to make a profit from leasing out the space when your team aren’t using it.
The ‘to move or not to move’ checklist helps companies decide that they want, with a manageable, less ‘rabbit in the headlights’ approach. If you’d like to thrash out some ideas on new ways of working, then I’d be happy to help.
Download our checklist here To move or not to move