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Jackie Furey
Jackie Furey

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02 December 2019 Jackie Furey

Many organisations want to improve their space but don’t know where to start, so they often end up making costly mistakes, says Jackie Furey. 

Businesses may be tempted to rush into new trends and designs or introduce new models of working, but they first need to consider the impact that change will have on their people. 

Planning, preparing and gathering details and data of staff requirements must be the first step. After all, getting it wrong is not only expensive, it can be damaging to staff morale, reduce productivity and impact wellbeing.  

The investment in undertaking a workplace analysis that assesses activity, analyses behaviour and reviews the utilisation of a space will show how staff work most efficiently and where their current space is succeeding or failing them. 

For example, take an organisation that is about to invest in developing a ‘creative hub’. A workplace analysis prior to the development would illustrate whether there is even a need for such a space. It could also assess how staff currently meet, where and why impromptu collisions and break out meetings occur, whether specific departments meet in this way, whether these meetings are social and professional, and how many people usually attend these meetings.

Imagine having access to that data before you begin development work. It would influence the location of the area, how it is furnished, who it should be designed for, and what facilities would enhance those meetings. An analysis would directly impact the success of the space. 

Now consider what could be revealed through an analysis of the entire workforce, assessing social and cultural issues experienced and how these impact wellbeing and productivity. Information like this can be hugely beneficial in understanding where to start your project and what to do to get it right. 

Otherwise the upgrades you make today may need to be made again – and much sooner than you think.

Jackie Furey is director of Where Workplace Works