Prepare for These Things to Ensure Success in Your Workplace Redesign

04/25/2018 | By Valerie Dennis Craven

With employees spending so much time at work, it’s no wonder they want to be comfortable. The 2017 Staples Workplace Survey found that 21% of employees would take a 10% pay cut to work in a nicer workplace. That’s a large percent of the workforce and pay that can’t be ignored. Redesigning your workspace can help.

How the workspace is designed is important, too. Respondents in the Staples survey cited a lack of private space as an issue in getting work done, and flexible seating options help workers feel more connected.

When starting a redesign, the first rule is to understand the current and aspirational requirements of the space and organization, suggests Ahmed ElHusseiny, Founder, and Principal at AE Superlab.

“Direct engagement with the prospective users of the space is key, as is careful observation of the way that they use their existing space, and making careful note of what works, what doesn’t and what can be improved upon,” he says.

Common among redesigns – no matter the scale or space – are a few steps that will ensure a project’s success.

Communicate your vision.

Effective communication and decision-making are key in a design project, particularly one where all parties are working against a timeline.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota, FL, was the winner of Staples’ $50,000 breakroom makeover contest. For the redesign, employees formed an internal “design committee” to make decisions on the project. “That way, the needs of different groups within the company could be heard and met at once and we all were able to stick to the timeline and were happy with the outcome,” says Kelly Galbraith, Designer at Staples Business Advantage.

One thing to keep in mind is while you might include a variety of voices and ideas in the decision-making process, when it comes time to communicate, ElHusseiny suggests having a single point of contact.

Prioritize your wants and needs.

Looking at how people are currently using the space – or noticing what is lacking – can help create a priority list when it comes time to redesign.

How is the lighting, organization and setup of the space now? Think about what to keep and what to improve on.

At Securus, they found that it can be good to roll something out at a small scale in advance of investing in final changes.

Be flexible.

Offering various spaces and work environments is a common theme you will find throughout these redesigns. One room could serve many purposes with the right furniture and setup, providing the space a multifunctional feel.

Another place to be flexible is in the budget and timeline of the project. Budgets might get cut or not go as far as planned, and you might need to make adjustments as the redesign is happening.

“It’s crucial to have the ability to make last minute changes and adjustments throughout a renovation process,” advises Patrick Planeta, Principal at Planeta Design Group.

Look to reuse what you currently have that works.

Many projects highlighted incorporate and repurpose existing elements in a sustainable way. This can save money, reduce time to completion and provide a link between the old and new.

“Embrace the existing building features, structure, and even its imperfections and work with them. Don’t try to fight with them,” says Jeff Knoll, Director of Design for Ted Moudis Associates.


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