The Changing Space of Strategy


 By Keti Malkoski

Workspace strategy is one of the most powerful means to boost people and business productivity. When considering a workspace strategy, it is essential to understand that one size does not fit all. If the aim of workplace strategy is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of how workspace is used, a workspace strategy must be tailored to suit the unique and diverse needs of a business and reflect the vision, goals and objectives of the organisation as a whole. 

For any organisation wanting to improve the experience of work in the future, they will need an effective workspace strategy that aligns the organisation’s work patterns and behaviours with the physical and digital work environment. Too often, decisions about the work environment are made without considering the implications for employee experience. The design of a workspace should be reinforced by the workspace strategy to ensure that space supports employees and how they need to work now, and how they will work in the future, whether it be individually, in teams or with customers. Thus, it is crucial that the workspace strategy is developed with a true understanding
of the organisations goals. At Schiavello, the People and Culture team discuss how they achieve this.

Understand the business and identify the change stakeholders

In order to develop a workspace strategy that is a true reflection of the organisational values and culture, consultants need to place themselves
within the organisation and assist with the day-to-day stakeholder engagement and management. Internal and external business influences and strategies that may impact the business, people or workspace, need to be identified in order to future proof the workspace strategy. Furthermore, the way in which communications are distributed across the business need to be tailored to suit the diverse workforce segments in order to promote engagement and influence change.

Review the current workspace and evaluate how it supports the people and the business

In order to create an effective future workspace, the strengths and weaknesses of the current space need to be reviewed. Through utilisation and observation studies, focus groups and employee surveys, organisations obtain insights into how the space is currently used and whether the current space is effective in supporting how its people work. By conducting these analyses, ‘worker types’ and working styles can be identified and matched to proposed workspace products and spaces. This ensures that the future space will support the different activities and behaviours of all employees. It is imperative that workplace data is collected and evaluated in order to determine the specific requirements of the future workspace.

Define and finalise the future workspace strategy

In finalising the future workspace strategy, it is important to prioritise the workspace changes that will better support the people and the business. This information will come from the data that was collected and analysed. Establishing the vision for the organisation, teams and individuals, enables the change objectives for the overall space to be identified. Once the strategy is defined, collaboration with the design team is necessary to finalise briefing documentation and design principles that are quantified in performance scorecards. This step ensures that the design for the space will support the workspace strategy and is aligned with the future aspirations of the business.

The greatest challenge in developing a workspace strategy is ensuring that it is intuitive and flexible enough to withstand the ever-evolving nature of work and that it is embedded into the organisation’s culture and behaviours in order to support the organisation into the future.