Designing high-performance workplaces
THE increasingly fierce war for talent is prompting more organizations to take into account the physical workplace to complement their talent attraction strategies.
Three key areas organizations should consider when designing a high-performance workplace are a balance of “me” and “we” spaces, features and amenities that are inclusive of all employees, and connecting the workplace with its surroundings, according to a new report by CBRE.
“There are a variety of approaches to satisfy the high expectations of talented employees, while controlling or reducing real estate costs,” said Peter Andrew, director of workplace strategy, CBRE Asia Pacific, “but the best approaches are people-centric strategies that embrace diversity, choice and community.”
Balancing “Me” and “We” Spaces
A major focus of the high-performance workplace is providing a range of different workspaces to balance the “me,” or focused, solo and quiet work, and “we,” or collaborative and often noisy work, within the same office, and for people to be able to choose where and how they work depending on the tasks they need to do.
“Me” workspaces could include enclosed spaces or high-walled pods. “We” spaces could include shared tables and medium- and large-sized rooms, as well as more informal spaces such as cafes, which can host meetings and social activities.
“As workplaces have become more diverse and complex, forecasting space requirements has become much more about probability analysis – what’s the likelihood of someone needing this type of space? – rather than traditional linear or hierarchical calculation processes,” said Mr Andrew.
“Deliberate ambiguity in the physical design of spaces will help users experiment and find their own best ways to use the workplace.”
Designing an Inclusive Workplace
A well-designed, high-performance workplace takes into consideration all aspects of employee diversity, including age, gender and life stage, to be more inclusive than traditional office solutions.
Organizations consider a provision of amenities appropriate for a diverse group of employees. To get the most out of these facilities, it is best to engage employees in the planning process.
It is also important to assess how often these facilities are used once built, and transition them for other purposes if they are not being used enough.
Organizations should also ensure their workplaces provide features to promote physical health, such as natural light, temperature and indoor air and water quality, as well as space choices to reduce stress, and ergonomic design features, including height-adjustable workstations and display screens.
Connecting the Workplace with its Surroundings
It is important to look beyond the physical confines of the office to external surroundings, and look at ways to strengthen employees’ sense of belonging to the community. The adoption of mobile working means the quality of the space outside a building is becoming more important than ever.
These areas can be utilized to provide employees an even greater choice of settings to work and socialize.
The next-generation workplace will also have a significant impact on the landlord-tenant relationship. Just as a company must provide an appealing workplace to attract and retain employees, a landlord must provide an appealing building to attract and retain tenants.
This is particularly true for landlords of older office buildings which may struggle to compete with modern buildings.
“Building owners need to work in closer alignment with tenants to create new leasing options that provide greater ability for tenants to manage volatile headcounts,” said Dr Henry Chin, head of research at CBRE Asia Pacific.
“These can include mixing core-leased spaces with short-term alternative workplaces and other facilities that enhance the experience of the people using the building and the surrounding precinct. More than just providing spaces, landlords can provide events and experiences that enhance the every day experience of building users.”
TOP: Office buildings in Manhattan, often described as the cultural and financial capital of the world. Photo: Maëlick (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
By Thai Residents reporters