In addition to productivity and creativity gains, workplace transformation substantially improves financial results.
New technologies and changes to the way people work, with more collaboration and interactions among co-workers, are changing the corporate office model. The workplace with dedicated cubes and “territories marked” by personal photos and objects has been losing ground to shared, flexible and smarter workspaces.
The modern corporate office is the laptop computer and Internet access. Today, just a few of the businesses still need dedicated cubes. In addition to productivity and creativity gains, workplace transformation substantially improves financial results.
A concrete example is a project we carried out for a client that had decided to change offices. But first the client reviewed their workplace strategy with a focus on cost reduction.
If the client company were to move offices by following the conventional model, they would need seven floors. However, the office occupation study we carried out—based on observation and proprietary methodology—allowed them to reduce their space needs to five floors, thereby saving the client the rental costs of two floors and reducing expected occupancy costs.
The study found impressive numbers. For this one client, the average occupancy time was 67%, with a maximum of 78% and minimum of 54%. That is, underutilization was as high as 33%! It was no doubt a good opportunity for reducing space needs as well as rental, energy, equipment and maintenance costs.
We could further conclude that office supply room and file storage spaces could be reduced by 80%, with the digitization of documents and other actions.
But reviewing a workplace strategy is not just simply a matter of reducing space needs. To be successful, a workplace model shift from dedicated cubes to shared workstations requires a joint action with IT and HR teams.
IT contributes with the technological infrastructure, which guarantees, for example, the mobility provided by the digital world, such as wireless internet access and being able to answer a desk phone call from anywhere in the office. HR, in turn, must be involved in terms of supporting cultural change, as the digital workplace introduces new ways of working, with more collaboration and interactions among people. New spaces emerge, such as huddle rooms, for meetings with up to 6 participants. People can, for example, choose to take their notebook computer to the office’s café and work from there.
The major change, however, is that employees no longer have fixed workstations; they use the ones that are available at that time and just connect their notebook computer to the internet or Wi-Fi, which must be powerful. In general, people look to sit near their team members, but nothing prevents someone from sales/business sitting next to someone from finance, and so on, periodically changing seats according to the task or project at hand.
In the end, the company will be able to see that it has achieved a lot more than just cutting rental and maintenance costs by reducing occupied space. Employees are happier in a digital workplace because of the appearance, flexibility, modernity and agility of this new office model.
José Martucci Penoff is the Corporate Solutions manager for JLL Brazil.
Photo by José Martucci
Highlight photo: Shutterstock