You’ve probably heard the term “workplace strategy” but what does it actually entail? Workplace strategy encompasses the way in which the physical office (or office design), workforce, office policies, and technology come together. An optimum workplace strategy will maximize productivity and minimize costs.
Formcraft’s team guides workplace strategies that are informed by data, psychology, consumer experience, and workplace organization. Recently, Formcraft released WorkforceDiagnostics™, a 6-week program that helps businesses roadmap successful workplace strategies.
Through WorkforceDiagnostics™ results, Formcraft identifies how your company should blend office work and work-behaviors such as working-from-home, among other important elements related to your future space. This is key to understanding what office design will make your team thrive.
Formcraft’s design experts have always worked with customers to analyze current workspaces and identify ways to improve workplace strategies. With the addition of WorkforceDiagnostics™, Formcraft now gathers quantitative data from your organization, in addition to qualitative data.
Formcraft improves workplace strategy through purposeful design in the following categories: collaboration, interdepartmental proximity, technology and layouts, and company culture and brand.
Effective Workplace Strategies for 2022 and On
Now more than ever, companies need a workplace that can adapt to unpredictable changes and evolve with their long term vision. Hear Lauren Walker, Formcraft’s Director of Workplace Strategy and Design, highlight key considerations we use to create a successful workplace strategy in 2022 and on.
Improving Collaboration through Purposeful Design
The way your office is designed is crucial to your workplace strategy. In fact, office design is one of the components of workplace strategy. Many times companies are looking to improve collaboration.
One way to do this is through maximizing your office space to allow for more common meeting areas. Such areas are small conference rooms, lounge areas, outdoor conference space, teleconference rooms, and solo rooms.
Small Conference Rooms
Smaller huddle rooms are ideal for individuals
looking to meet, converse, and collaborate.
They allow for private meetings especially in
open-concept floor plans where privacy is limited.
Lounge areas are open-air spaces with couches
and tables. These are ideal for quick meetings or
eye-to-eye conversations. Lounge areas are less
private than small conference rooms, however,
these spaces allow for just the same amount of
collaboration. In addition, lounge areas add a
home-feel to the office space, which is a rising trend.
Outdoor Conference Space
Another collaboration space rising in popularity
is the outdoor conference space. Taking meetings
outdoors on nice days offers temporary scenery
changes. In large office complexes, private outdoor
space isn’t always realistic. However, with advanced
planning, outdoor meetings can improve morale
and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Divisible Conference Spaces
If you’re looking to improve collaboration but
don’t have the square footage for multiple
collaboration spaces, try divisible conference
spaces. To accomplish this, use collapsing divider
walls to break a regular-sized conference room
into two or more smaller conference rooms.
As the working-from-home mode has become
more popular due to demands of younger
generations and the COVID-19 pandemic, so has
the agile workspace. To accommodate your
workforce’s mix of remote and in-office workers,
teleconference rooms help businesses collaborate.
These presentation-first conference rooms include
seat-level microphones, accessible mute buttons,
and cameras to help remote workers and satellite
Especially popular for open-floorplan offices,
focus rooms are strictly for quiet purposes.
Providing private space for employees to escape
to when feeling stressed, leads to a healthier and
happier workforce. In addition, these spaces allow
employees to make phone calls in soundproof
environments or hyper-focus on their work at
hand and avoid distractions.
In addition to designing spaces for collaboration in your workplace strategy, there is a way to increase collaboration in your department layout. When you make strategic departmental layout decisions, you can improve interdepartmental collaboration. One way to do this is through a consultation with Formcraft. Our designers get to know your business to see how we can improve the layout of different departments.
Traditionally, offices are laid out by departments, with executives in corner offices. That may work for your company, but another, more modern option is to lay out your office interdepartmentally. Here are a couple questions to consider when building this into your workplace strategy:
- Is there a better way to position managers, executives, and team leaders to encourage cross-department strategy?
- Can you improve employee access to leadership to improve accessibility and encourage up-the-ladder communication?
When considering interdepartmental layouts, it’s important to keep culture in mind by asking these types of questions:
- Can you intermix your departments without upsetting your employees by moving them away from people within their departments?
- Do your departments need to be located in the same area to be productive? For example, does your marketing team regularly collaborate at their desks and you’d compromise their productivity by separating them?
There are other ways to improve collaboration if you can’t avoid compromises in department-level culture.
Adding Objective-Driven Design Elements
Another key component of workplace strategy is technology—and getting employees to interact with technology. To learn more about office space and employee engagement, read our article. As an important design element, access to the right technology helps your workforce be more productive and do better work.
Technology-Based Design Elements
Technology goes beyond individual laptops and monitors. Formcraft incorporates technology-based design elements into office design. For example, televisions to broadcast performance metrics are a great objective-driven design element. You can improve accountability by increasing performance transparency. By placing television screens in conference rooms, you engage the whole team by bringing the focus to the screen, instead of drawing attention to individual scenes.
Technology is highly integrated into the activity-based work (ABW) office plan, which our designers use frequently.
Another example of technology to consider in your workplace strategy is noise-dampening or white noise machines. In addition to in-office acoustics, additional noise-canceling technologies enable employees to hold conversations without making a noisy, distracting office environment.
Layout Design Elements
One thing that might get overlooked when crafting a purposeful workplace strategy, is a company-wide presentation space. Maybe for some that space is a conference room. But there are ways to design multi-functional space out of cafeterias, open floor plan workspaces, and even the front lobby of your office. Incorporating a space to share news is important for keeping your employees engaged.
Another lesser known layout design that will benefit your employees and leadership is the idea of “Foreman” sightlines. Just as in physical labor jobs, the foreman sightlines are there for managers to get a quick visual impression of the work being completed. This helps improve accountability and trust between leaders and employees.
Workplace Strategy for Instilling Culture
Creating a sense of true authenticity is important in your workplace. For our client Pilot Freight Services, we focused on designing corporate culture into their workspace. This entailed creating a dynamic environment to support Pilot’s brand identity, forward-thinking culture, and the health and wellbeing of 300 employees. Keeping employees happy and helps with overall retention and cost savings.
In addition, we worked in elements of the company’s roots in transportation and logistics through corrugated metal walls and other hints of industrial design features. Read more about Pilot Freight Services.
You can also instill culture into your workplace strategy by reflecting the personalities of your target audience, or customer personas if you intend to bring clients into your office space. Think carefully about the color choices, lighting, and imagery that will attract the right customers or employees to your office.
When you communicate your passion for your business through your design, you’ll instill company culture. Additionally, how you present your company’s products and services in the workplace strategy helps reflect your appreciation of your employees.
Ways to incorporate your company into your design are through in-office displays, pictures on your walls of projects or site plans, or photos of your customers. Think about the ways you decorate your home. Many people consider the office their second home. Keep that in mind as you communicate your vision to Formcraft.
Office Perks and Workplace Strategy
In addition to design elements such as color palettes and imagery, what perks you provide your employees is also part of instilling culture. Understanding what your working culture looks like—and how you want to help employees unwind—will help us implement minimally-disruptive perks such as:
- Coffee bar
- Ping pong tables
- Mobile workstations
- Pet-friendly furnishings
- After-hours perks (bar, gaming room, etc)
- Outdoor activities (bag toss, basketball hoop, walking path, etc)
These perks show your employees that you appreciate them and can also help destress. Additional design elements that both instill culture and help de-stress are:
- Comfortable chairs, couches, break rooms, etc
- Strong, dedicated wifi for employees’ music streaming
- Easily-sanitized surfaces
- Increasing natural light
Setting Success Standards
Another design element to emulate that speaks to company culture is showing off successes, tastefully. If your company wins awards for group or individual efforts, we’ll include design elements such as display cases or trophy cases. If your team takes part in team building exercises or group sports, display those photos in a high-traffic area. If your company gets a lot of press, find a way to physically frame the news articles or stream it on a television in your office.
Transparency helps unite teams. The way you present your goals and mission is important, and can be included in design elements. For example, include an accent wall that reflects the mission statement. Accentuate individual, departmental, or company-wide goals in cubicle or department surroundings.
Promoting The Brand in Workplace Strategy
Many customers want to know how to tastefully and effectively position their brand in the design. There are a few ways to do this purposefully. First, accent walls are there to highlight your brand colors, logos, or missions. Second, try glass-etched conference room walls and windows to imprint your brand. If you want to make a great “first impression” for visitors and staff, complete a lobby makeover.
There’s also the option for desk-level branding. Incorporate your color theme in desk chairs or accent pieces. Include a copy of your brand values statement on a small frame for each desk to keep everyone united.
No matter the length of your history, it’s important to celebrate your roots. Storytelling in design is one of the most unique ways to promote your brand. Find out ways to incorporate founders, ownership, leadership, customers and the evolutions of your business into your design and workplace strategy. This shows authenticity. Additionally, include forward-thinking objectives of where you want to take your business.
Finally, think of ways you can incorporate corporate mascots to promote your brand. Mascots humanize a brand and make them more memorable. Think of Mr. Peanut, the Energizer Bunny, Budweiser Clydesdales. Including mascots in design or workplace strategy doesn’t work for everyone. But if you’d like to include this in your design, there are a couple ways. For example, you can build new structural pieces or artistic installations. On a smaller scale, you can incorporate corporate mascots into existing design elements like stenciling your mascot in a common area, including framed pictures, or 3D displays.