A-Z of the future workplace:

Value of people

Over recent years outstanding office design has become an important part of the workplace, but it raises the question, why do employees want this? Companies with well-designed offices show that they value their people by providing them with a space that enables employees to feel appreciated and therefore comfortable in their space.

The workplace needs to support employees, helping them to work to the best of their ability. Employees need different areas to aid different tasks, with quiet spaces for heads down work, collaborative desks to enable teams to work together, and formal meeting rooms to aid private and confidential conversations.

It is important to remember that no matter how remarkable an office refurb looks, the success of a space is ultimately measured by its functionality and usability for employees. Whilst our designers will always acknowledge appearance and visual appeal throughout the process, considering innovation from a human-centered viewpoint is crucial for creating spaces which will fulfill our client’s briefs and transform workplaces.

Your workplace reflects how you value your people, which accounting company Cooper Parry recognized during the fit-out process they went through with us. April Bembridge, Chief People Officer, told us that “It’s all about the people ultimately, Cooper Parry started putting the people first rather than clients. Now, it’s all about recruiting the right people. You look after them, you give them a great environment like we’ve got here, and they will deliver an amazing client experience. It’s got to start with the people and creating a great environment for them.”

It has been found that 76% of millennials feel somewhat or very strongly that office design influences their impression of a company. This, along with the fact that millennials now dominate the biggest demographic cohort, making up 35% of the UK workforce, shows that companies need to be ready and willing to change in order to support and attract the workforce.

With this in mind, we need to ensure that when our designers are envisaging workspaces, they are ensuring that the space will allow employees to thrive, create, share knowledge, be efficient, be comfortable, learn, be together and focused. The workplace should help enable this goal, aiding productivity and making employees feel happier.

Whilst these spaces may exist in your workplace currently, they may not be being successfully utilized. It is important to discuss with your teams and find out what spaces they want to use and help provide them with this. An office design is only successful if we are providing the spaces that the staff crave and helping them efficiently utilize them during the working day.

Utilisation studies are hugely important when we are working on an office design. We need to see which spaces are favored by staff, and which are being under-utilized. Every office is different but listening to your employees at this stage can be make or break as to whether your new office will be a success.

One of our most successful office designs where we have considered the people at the forefront of the design was Exterion Media. Previously, Exterion Media found themselves in a loud open plan office, where the culture was very much the number of seats occupied = higher productivity. When Office Principles were appointed to redesign and relocate the office, we completed a utilization study to find out what staff did and didn’t like about the space.

In the initial stages of the design process, we started by creating a drawing layout that would create a harmonious environment that would promote staff well-being and productivity. The design set out to provide Exterion with a truly ‘extraordinary’ agile workplace that integrated with Exterion Media’s ethos. We installed 211 fixed desks for a headcount of 360, providing 7 desks for every 10 staff. This means that staff can now choose whether they work at a desk or in an alternative environment. This had an impact on the productivity of employees, leading to an increase of 32% in productivity.

The new office is designed to suit all employees’ needs. Creating flow from intense, focused work to impromptu meeting areas and informal meeting rooms, depending on the work an individual is undertaking. It allows flexibility in working style, and contraction and expansion in demand of headcount.

We believe that it’s imperative to value your employees and provide a workplace that enables them to perform to the best of their abilities. Here at Office Principles, we will always ensure that the space is going to work for staff, improving company culture as well as productivity. Putting the people is the key to transforming your workplace and making it future ready.