Changing your office space has a massive impact on your staff. Here’s our list of questions to ask them before making design changes.
It’s easy, when you’re changing your office space, to think about things like budget, what you need from the space, and decor. But have you stopped to think about how it will affect your staff?
Once you’ve made the decision to change office space design, it’s easy to get lost in the form and forget the function. It’s important to remember your staff will need to be productive – and happy – in this space, so they’re a good source of info when looking at office designs. If you ask your staff some questions, you may find that something as simple as team members sitting too far away from each other is affecting productivity, and dim lighting or noisy floors may be making employees unhappy.
To help you focus on the function and get one step closer to defining your space requirement needs, we’ve put together this list of questions. You can ask your staff these to make them feel both a part of the process, and build a space that functions and feels appropriate for all your needs:
1. Do you have enough storage space?
You may not realise it but storage space is a big factor to consider when changing office space. But when asking this question, we recommend you focus on the practicality of why they would want more space.
Clutter can be very distracting, but personal clutter and work clutter are different things. If your staff are complaining that they don’t have enough storage space because they have lots of stuff and their desks are covered, define what that stuff is. Is it personal stuff or work related stuff? It’s also important to note what kind of storage space they need. Is it a communal storage or a private space? Remember the more storage space you have the more stuff you collect. So too much space can also be an issue.
2. Does your workstation suit your job function?
What you want to know here is whether the space they work on (their desks) helps or hinders their productivity, which will then help dictate how big your workstations will need to be. For example, someone who has multiple screens might need a bigger workstation to accommodate their computers and notes.
3. Is there enough light in your work area?
Light is so important to any space. When you spend upwards of 8 hours a day in a space, bad lighting can be depressing, make you feel cold, or even give you a headache (when in conjunction with a computer backlight). When we look at the design of your space, this will help determine what kind of lighting to use, how many lights are needed, and how we can use the space near windows.
4. Are you sitting close enough to the rest of your team?
It seems like a given but depending on the design of an office, you might find that team members don’t sit close enough. If this is the case, imagine the time that gets wasted every day when people walk to each other’s desks! This will also help build better communication, as people will start talking to each other more.
5. Who do you communicate with (for work tasks) daily?
This is great for breaking silos. If your marketing department needs to work with your sales department and talk regularly but they are on different floors, you’ve probably got a silo problem. Finding out which departments work together often, allows you to design a space that helps eliminate communication problems and stop the “them/us” mentality.
6. Do you use the coffee area? If not, why? If so, is it big enough?
Depending on the culture of your company, you may find that the coffee area is a break-away space, and that’s something your staff need. But if it’s too small, people may get frustrated which can affect their mood. But on the other hand, if only half the staff are using it, it could be too big. Which could leave you with more room for other needed areas.
7. Which meeting rooms do you use most and why?
Statistics show that a senior manager can spend 50% of his day in meetings. That’s a lot of time in meeting rooms. If your business lends itself to meetings, your meeting rooms are important. This question can help you determine which rooms are the most popular and why. Are they bigger? Smaller? Have the right equipment? Are they warmer than the others? This will help you decide on how many rooms you’ll need and what size they need to be when redesigning.
8. How often are you using the audio visual/presentation functionality in the meeting rooms?
You could have the most advanced (and expensive) AV system around, but if it’s not being used, it’s not necessary. On the other hand, if it’s a deciding factor in which rooms are being used, you might need to budget for more when redesigning.
Why it’s important to ask the questions
Your staff are the people that deal with daily company tasks and the ones who spend the most time in the office. They’re the productive engine of the business and their input is vital.
Another thing to keep in mind is that change is a big thing, and most people tend to resist it. Including them in the decision and telling them why the change is needed and how it will make their working environment better, will help you get buy-in and reduce friction.
What to do when you have a large amount of employees
If your company is very large and you can’t ask each employee some questions, task your team leaders with gathering the info from their team, and then sit together to collate the answers. You’ll be surprised how many will match up.
How this will factor into your decision
Remember, this is just one step in great office space design. Staff input is vital but it’s not the only thing you’ll want to base your final decision on. A good design consultant will do a full needs analysis before starting any project and will use this info to create the most productive space possible.
Ready to get started redesigning your office space? Call us now for a free consultation.