Does a tree make a sound if nobody’s there to hear it? Does a book exist if no one reads it?
How about a space? Is it there if no one uses it? The answer is no. It’s people that bring spaces to life.
Still, we often start the process of designing spaces with conversations about materials, furniture models, and colors. Which colors are the right ones according to the brand book? Which office chairs should we choose for our employees? These topics are the easy bit. When it comes to talking about people, things tend to get a bit trickier.
We should already know that people are what matter the most. This means that employees should be considered as the most important asset for any company. On average, 90% of a company’s total costs are staff related (CBRE, EMEA Occupier Survey 2019). While this is a huge percentage, you’ve probably heard the saying that a company is only as good as its employees are.
That is why workspaces serve a crucial role when it comes to recruiting and retaining talented people in any future-proofed company.
How to bring space to life
When creating your optimal future workplace, the question you should ask yourself is: Who is best positioned to know what we should do? Fortunately, the answer is simple: No one knows the answers better than your company’s own people.
However, the next question is a bit harder. How do you get truthful answers from your employees and ensure that you involve them in the planning stage? The first step is to start considering your space as a strategic element and combine it with the bigger picture of your company. If company leaders have no clue where to aim, changes become difficult to justify.
In my experience, the lack of respect towards management is the biggest reason for resisting change. People need to trust that management has the required knowledge to make the right decisions. That’s why good strategic planning and honest communication are the main ingredients to success.
The second step is to be fearless. Nothing bad can happen when the correct people are developing your workspace with good intentions and a clear goal in mind. It’s also important to remember that spaces are alive and can be modified if something isn’t working right away.
In the future, the best companies will have an open-minded culture with creative and enthusiastic people working with them. All this happens naturally when there is mutual respect between management and employees.
Tiia Rauhamäki works for Technopolis as a Concept Manager and Workplace Transformation Specialist. Tiia’s special interests include human beings, workspace functionality and wellbeing at work.