Have you ever wondered – what is the impact of the office furniture on the culture you have at your workplace?
You may refute the very premise by stating that culture is made by the value system of a company and by the people.
Now, here is the caveat – people are the ones who make and retain the culture of the company.
These very people are using office furniture throughout the day and hence, one way or the other, it has an impact on the culture within the company.
Now that you know there is some impact wielded by the furniture in the office on the office culture
Here are a few ways to manage the very culture of your organization by managing the furniture:
Collaborative vs Individualistic Workplace
There are quite a few companies where a collaborative workspace will add more value; as a matter of fact, any business that thrives on the increased collaboration capacities in the office is more scale-able.
At the same time, there are a few service businesses where individuals need more space for themselves and this results in a more cubicle/workstation oriented office plan.
A more collaborative workspace would mean an open office plan, whereas an individualistic one will have dedicated workstations or even cabins.
What you don’t want to do – is trying to have the best of both the ideas.
Dynamic vs Fixated Working Areas
For instance – imagine, you are a management consulting operation. For a majority of their time in the week, they will be on the road at client spaces.
Why would you want to have cabins and cubicles dedicated to people, when the very people would not use them 24 x 7?
This is dependent on the business model you have in place. If you have space for remote working or hiring contract workers, you can adapt a style which accommodates such dynamism.
For instance – you can put to use a hot-desking plan, to ensure the desks are available to the right employees at the right time.
The other extreme is a fixated working area.
If you are a government contractor or a business which has decided to stay at its current scale for some time, this would be a more recommended practice.
For the office plan – you will have specific working areas for each team and each team member, along with an exact plan to increase capacities when necessary.
As it goes without saying, the more fixated working areas you have, the more capital intensive your office plan becomes.
Adaptive vs Rigid Spaces
One final dichotomy to look into is seeing whether you have to have a rigid plan in place or want to organically make adjustments as and when necessary.
For instance, some business operators are very sure about the projections and results they will have in place for the coming quarters. Hence, the office planning is also reflecting the same – clear bifurcations, designated seats and a charted growth plan.
On the other side of the continuum – are workspaces which are still discovering the ideal fit for themselves.
You might see people sitting in proximity depending on their collaboration with each other, instead of their respective job functions and departments.
Or you might see the organic need for dedicated spaces such as a brainstorming lab or a community meeting space, which might be of use only now.
There are a few critical questions to be answered here – how easily do you want your employees to reach out to each other, how sure are you about the growth plans of your business and what is the budget you are ready to dedicate for making the necessary changes in the office furniture.
The answers to these questions, accumulated with the ideal rubrics you want to have for your office culture will dictate the office planning you have to take up.