Research on industry trends continues to prove that workplace strategies can help companies maximize their real estate value and increase employee retention. But what exactly does that mean for interior design? Two of our workplace strategies interior design team members explore this topic in more detail.
Angela Dopheide has twelve years of interior design experience, four of those years spent at HBA. With a wide range of experience from corporate to healthcare environments, Angela understands specific trends within each industry. This allows her to navigate a project with her client’s vision as the leading force.
With three years of interior design experience, Allie Laurenzo has established her style in design at HBA and works in various sectors including corporate and healthcare. Her ability to ask the right questions early on allows the client to refine their vision and enhances the overall project experience.
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment
The role of furniture configurations in workplace strategies is to define a variety of spaces for people to work. Offering different locations and types of environments for employees within one office allows for increased productivity, increased employee morale and decreased occurrence of sick days.
Workplace strategies provide various desk types, conference room layouts, and other ancillary spaces for employees. With more choices on where to conduct daily activities, flexibility in the workplace is made available and spaces are shared over the course of the day. This increased efficiency of the space results in an increase of real estate value for an owner.
Collaboration between employees becomes easier when varying types of spaces are provided. Free-flowing interaction allows for collaboration among employees of varying departments and seniority levels. In addition to planning where the various spaces occur, the HBA design team deeply considers circulation. We aim to provide pathways in which employees have the opportunity to bump into one another, thus increasing collaboration and engagement in the office organically.
Allie Laurenzo emphasizes, “Furniture drives a large portion of the workplace strategies process. Choosing furniture that allows for a change of posture throughout the day is also important.” Flexible, light weight, mobile furniture with reconfiguration capabilities are currently trending and most desired in the workplace.
Work stations for traveling employees and hoteling spaces are other great options to offer employees. Hoteling spaces are unassigned to a particular user, but are available either on a first-come-first-serve basis, or by reservation usually through a customized reservation management system.
Resistance to Change
Although the benefits of workplace strategies are evident and tangible with qualitative research evidence, it is human nature to resist change. Companies can run into push-back from employees while implementing new workplace strategies, but resistance can be relieved and reduced with change management tactics. Informing the end users early on, continually meeting with user groups for input during the design process, building mockups either physically or using virtual reality, and continually checking in after the project is complete are all ways to manage change.
Through surveying existing office conditions, our team can collect qualitative and quantitative data to establish the occurring trends in the company office. This data collection helps inform our interior design team about what is currently working for the client and what needs to change in the future layout.
Angela Dopheide has seen and worked through client concerns of staff opposition when considering new trends. Angela stresses, “There is not one solution that ‘fits all’. We always strive to start the conversation early to determine how the company or individual works, how they want to work, and how we can support it through our final design.”
Understanding the long-term benefits and the return on investment- in relation to employee productivity- can make change easier to accept for most. Showroom tours and previous project tours are also beneficial for a client to fully experience new products first-hand, and explore the wide variety of furniture configurations that are available.
Branding & Human Capital
Additionally, Allie and Angela prioritize the incorporation of branding and company cultural elements while designing spaces. Workplace strategies implementation is an opportunity for a company to refine the environmental ‘feel’ in the office. FF&E selections for workplace strategies implementation can be customized around the objective of refining company culture and emphasizing strong branding.
Workplace strategies not only benefit current employees and clients, but also benefit the future human capital of a company. Our team at HBA continues to learn and research the workplace strategies process so that we can better serve our clients and fully maximize the benefits for their building, their employees and their company as a whole.
Allie Laurenzo, Assoc. IIDA
Angela Dopheide, Assoc. IIDA
A.J. Meyer, Admin. & Marketing Assistant