Why our needs analysis worked for Penquin

By 8th August 2018 July 20th, 2020 Interior Design, Office Design Tips

If you’re thinking of redesigning your office space, proper planning is what will make any space a success. Like any other process, we can’t start planning if we don’t have a proper needs analysis in place. Here’s what it entails.

According to Harvard Business Review, “smart companies understand that workspaces are a business tool. An office environment reflects and reinforces a business’s core values, through the placement of different teams and functions and design elements that reflect culture, brand, and values.”

We recently redesigned the office space of an integrated marketing agency, Penquin, and their sister company, Spitfire Inbound, by following a needs analysis approach as they wanted to incorporate their new corporate identity into their office space, accommodate company expansion and allow for future growth. Their space was cluttered and desperately needed a fresh look. We looked at restructuring the space to accommodate all their needs and the look and feel of the office improved and reflected their company culture, brand and values.

Veronica Wainstein, MD of Penquin says, “The office redesign was a necessity as we are a growing business and we wanted our new corporate identity to match our office interior. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted from the process, but the needs analysis definitely clarified my thinking process.”

How we understood their needs

To start the process of the Penquin office redesign, we had a briefing session with all of the team leaders to find out what their expectations were.

The briefing process works as follows:

  • We have an initial conversation with the company extracting why they need an office redesign and what their expectations are.
  • We discuss both existing and future office space and layout in detail.
  • We interview all team leaders to extract their team requirements.
  • We collate all info from the teams, deal with any discrepancies between team requirements and feedback to the decision makers for final approval on space requirements.


Why a needs analysis was necessary for Penquin:

A needs analysis is a process whereby we extract info from the client to expand on the brief. The needs analysis prompts clients to think of their business and the way they function within their current space, often in ways they have not realised before.

It’s important to remember not all projects require a needs analysis and that it’s very much dependent on the client’s needs. The questions asked in a needs analysis depends on the type of company and industry you’re dealing with and is only conducted when a complete redesign is required.

We unpacked these questions in this redesign:

Please note: The below questions are asked in a sequence to “unpack” the information in a logical process provoking the right thought patterns from the client.

  • What is your main reason for doing an office redesign?
  • What are your plans for growth and expansion in your company?
  • How do clients interact with your space?
  • What kind of experience do you want clients and staff to have in the space?
  • Do your employees feel comfortable in their current office space?
  • What’s your company culture?
  • How does communication work between the different departments in your company?
  • How does technology affect your teams?
  • What would you like to see the “look and feel” based on? Is it your corporate identity or do you have a specific model reference?
  • What’s your budget?

Alison Leishman, strategic director of Spitfire Inbound states, “We had good discussions with the design consultants, especially when we had to think about collaboration between teams, desk screens, the model of our Spitfire aeroplane and how much it was going to cost us. The design concept was spot-on from beginning to end, they gave us a lot of time for approvals and ultimately took a very good brief.”

Veronica continues, “The fit-out process was pain-free, even when we had to clear our office space. We received weekly snag reports and were involved in all steps of the process.”

Doing an office redesign can take between one to three months, but it really depends on the complexity of the project. For us, the most valuable point of a needs analysis is prompting the client with questions they didn’t even know they had. We’ve seen a lot of things working and failing, but we get excited when we can see an overall improvement of a space. As we explain on our website, “We ensure that we’re up-to-speed with workspace planning practices and solutions as well as the latest offerings in technology and office furniture solutions. As space planning is essentially the ergonomic laying out of furniture within a space, it has to be planned out to suit the requirements of that space. Once the space is planned out, our interior design process then becomes key to ensure the holistic treatment of the office space to suit your needs.”


If you don’t do a proper needs analysis you will never have all the information to redesign any space. You risk under-catering, specifying the wrong furniture and following the wrong process. This is a recipe for disaster!

Our advice to you is: think before you start planning and don’t just remove furniture or add extra space as you will set yourself up for failure.  

If you’d like us to deliver a superior solution that meets your unique needs, contact us today.

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Derek Stedman

Author Derek Stedman

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