HOW A MORE FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO OFFICE SPACE COULD REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SPACE YOU NEED.
As we enter the second half of a decade of austerity, organisations across the public sector remain under pressure to drive down costs. With the Chancellor’s request that the government ‘do more with less’, cuts to public services continue and councils and publicly funded bodies are expected to pull rabbits out of hats to produce significant cost savings.
After the cost of hiring people, office space is the largest outgoing for most organisations so space efficiency is paramount. It’s a no-brainer that retaining people makes more sense than retaining space; people get the work done while space just costs money. So what if you could cut costs by reducing your space while maintaining your headcount?
Reconfiguring your existing space to create a more flexible working environment could enable you to do more with less. Here are five ways you could make your space work harder while improving your working environment.
01. Exchange some of your meeting rooms for pods
Meeting rooms that sit empty for part of the day are an inefficient use of space. Most meetings can be held in soft seating areas or pods that can also be used for working and collaborating. Soft seating areas and large pods are great for social interaction, while individual booths can provide a place for focused, uninterrupted work. A more fluid approach to meeting spaces also makes it easier to have a quick catch up straightaway rather than waiting to book a room, which is a more efficient use of time as well as space.
02. Ditch the kitchen
Install a kitchen pod with neatly integrated plumbing, power and a fridge that does everything a staff kitchen needs to do while taking up far less space. Awkward or dark corners that would be unsuitable for a work area can work brilliantly here. Similarly, pods can take the place of print and post rooms, so you can lose all those tiny rooms that take up masses of space and house all the kit behind sleek, smart screens.
03. Swap hotdesks for touchdowns
Unused desks are a waste of space. If you have workers that are only in the office for part of the day, install touchdowns around your meeting pods where they can plug in their laptop and work for a few hours. Install lockers so they have somewhere to store their things. Alternatively they can make use of empty meeting spaces and individual pods and booths. If you really can’t let go of their desks altogether, explore more compact alternatives.
04. Bin flipcharts for whiteboard walls
Flipchart pads are expensive, and flipchart stands take up space while really only providing a limited canvas for your thoughts and ideas. More importantly, whiteboard walls enable you to hold meetings and brainstorming sessions wherever they are installed, making meetings more interactive and stimulating in varied locations. Whiteboard walls encourage collaboration and give you more space to express and develop your ideas and plans. They also score on the environmental side of things as you won’t be using up endless sheets of paper.
05. Incorporate flexible spaces
Creating non-prescriptive, flexible spaces that can be used for meetings, social interaction, team collaboration or individual work means your space can adapt to the evolving demands of your workforce. Technology is radically changing the way we work; we no longer need to be tethered to our desk working at a PC and sometimes we don’t even need to be in the office. This presents a unique opportunity to free up and change the way we use office space. Keeping it flexible and agile will put you in a better position to respond to change.