According to Real Estate Developer and Construction Company, Clifton Homes, too few companies fully leverage the potential of their workplace, viewing it only as an overhead cost to be minimized rather than a strategic asset which can be used to drive value for the business.
For most organisations, the workplace represents one of the largest overheads on their balance sheet, yet often it is only discussed at Board level once every few years when a lease is due for renewal.
COO at Clifton Homes, Ann Brewin, has previously acted as strategic adviser on major workplace moves for some of the world’s leading Oil and Gas Companies, Banks and Media corporations across Europe, Russia and the USA. According to Mrs Brewin senior management should place the Workplace higher on their strategic agenda.
By making sure the workplace performs well in terms of cost effectiveness, employee productivity and brand values, companies can realise a substantial positive impact.
1) Cost Effectiveness.
Despite the huge sums of money involved in renting high grade office space in any capital city, most offices have a vast amount of wasted space. As commercial rents in Accra rocket upwards, businesses are increasingly under pressure to reduce the overall size of their office space (and rents).
By using logical desk configurations, a good space planner can reduce required space by up 30% without any other changes. Reducing the size and number of personal offices is also a huge space saving opportunity and can deliver unforeseen collaborative benefits. In Europe the concept of hotdesking (where mobile employees who are out of the office regularly share a bank of communal desks) is very well established and has allowed corporates to make huge space savings. Hotdesking is still relatively rare in Ghana.
2) Employee Productivity
For most companies payroll constitutes 80% of business costs and it is therefore essential the workforce is being as productive as possible. Most organisations use performance reviews and bonuses to motivate employees, but underestimate the impact the office can have on workers’ output.
Firstly, thousands of hours are lost each year to workplace related injury and sickness, such as back pains and repetitive strain injury. Good ergonomic furniture and lighting are fundamental to avoiding such issues.
Secondly, countless hours can be wasted every week due to poor office functionality such as unreliable Internet connection and printer problems. A good office should be set up to allow your employees to operate without any functional barriers at all.
Thirdly, few offices provide employees with a sufficient variety of space to suit different types of work styles. Whilst workstations are generally the best tool for individual computer-based tasks, alternatives should be on offer for different types of work.
For example collaborative work is best suited to meeting rooms, or break-out zones. Creative work can be best supported with tools like large-scale white boards, Video conferencing technology or standing height tables. Some companies incorporate phone booths to allow individuals to make business calls in private without disturbing other employees at nearby desks.
“The key” says Mrs Brewin “is to understand the different ways people need to work in your company and then plan-in spaces which support that work optimally. For example at our new office the communal hotdesking area is popular for design review meetings, allowing several people to stand in a huddle around one big bench-table and annotate large architectural plans simultaneously.”
Finally, employee productivity can be boosted enormously by a positive emotional mindset which studies have shown is dramatically impacted by our physical surroundings. Working in a light, well designed, inspirational space can transform an employee’s motivation levels, concentration and (most importantly) enjoyment in their work.
3) Brand Values
A good workplace should reflect the brand values of the organisation within. This is not just a case of displaying the logo or using corporate colours, but accurately reflecting the values and “personality” of the business. “At Clifton Homes we believe in clarity and transparency, for example in our pricing, terms and our style of communications. This is represented in our office through the use of glass and transparent materials, plus the open plan nature of the office” says George Moffet CEO of Clifton Homes. “If you want your employees to live-out the brand values everyday, it makes sense to surround them with an environment which embodies those principles”.
Regardless of office size, or budget available for change, taking the time to review current workplace design and practices is likely to reveal significant opportunities for driving business value.
Visit Clifton Homes at:
34 Senchi Street, Airport Residential
+233 (0)20 467 7033