Growing without growing-how to right size your workplace

New technology means that you can grow your business without growing your headcount. Here’s four ways to make sure you right size your workplace:

Here’s how:

  • Measure how your existing space is being used
  • Develop a core and flexible space strategy
  • Plan for change

A common theme that we’ve come across lately when planning new workplaces is “growing without growing”. This means growing business profitability and revenue without growing staff numbers or even reducing staff. This is happening across all business sectors in Australia.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation means that routine tasks are no longer undertaken by people. Customers accept and embrace doing work that was previously undertaken an organisation. Most of us now accept the reality that to get almost anything done there is an on-line form or a virtual assistant to deal with. Routine tasks have been offshored for a long time now and its only going to increase.

Traditionally workplace strategists and designers asked the question how much will staff numbers grow and how do we plan for growth? Now the question is how do you plan for a workplace that will be area static or even shrink? Combined with the increase in flexible working arrangement, mobile working and economic uncertainty the difference between what you have now and what you need in the future can be significant.

How do you plan for this uncertainty when you are about to renew your lease or relocate to new premises? Here are three things to consider:

Measure how your existing space is being used

An observation study undertaken over a minimum of 2 weeks can show how people are using the workplace vs employed in an enterprise. Combined with a workstyle survey the data can provide a good indication of how many workspaces are required.

Core and Flexible space strategy

Determine what your minimum viable space requirement (core space) is and utilise co-working or flexible space for the rest.

Plan for change

Planning for change can mean flexible lease terms where you structure your lease terms incrementally take up, hand back or sublet space on a regular basis.

The real lesson is don’t just count the number of staff and multiply it by an area per person. You will almost surely get it wrong. A good Workplace Strategy that right sizes your space requirement can save you from paying for space you don’t need.

For more information about how right-size your workplace go to www.5projects.com.au or call me on 0404697318

Why you definitely shouldn’t design your workplace for Digital Natives

You want to design your new workplace to attract the best talent to help grow your business, right? Forget about the Millennials what about the Digital Natives-GenZ!

Here are 4 reasons why this is a mistake:

Here’s why:

  • Workforce demographics are changing
  • Job Tenure is decreasing
  • Experience matters
  • The Digital Native is a Myth
  1. Workforce demographics are changing

By 2023 the retirement age in Australia will be 67 years old. The 55-64 age group continues to increase as a proportion of the workforce. From 2008 onwards, this category becomes bigger than the 15-19-year-old category.

Our workforce is aging, and we have 5 generations working together, something we have never had before. We have to accommodate all generations if we are embracing diversity inclusiveness in our workplaces.

  • Job Tenure is decreasing

Gen Z will probably change jobs before soon-the average tenure in a job is now 3 years and 4 months-2. For the over 65’s its 10.3 years. The Gen Z that you are designing your workplace will probably be gone by the time you have designed and delivered your new workplace

  • Experience matters

The most valuable workers have experience and tenure-that’s why they earn more.

Everyone wants to feel part of a young vibrant organisation, so there’s good reasons to design a workplace that appeals to Gen Z but the most productive workers, the people that have experience, that know the culture and really add value shouldn’t be ignored. Counter-intuitively the more complex your job description the more you will benefit from activity-based working 3.

  • The Digital Native is a Myth

And finally, the Digital Native your read about in workplace blogs and opinion pieces doesn’t exist. The theory goes that anyone born after 1984 has been immersed in digital technologies all there lives and are completely different from previous generation. They have sophisticated digital and technology skills and learning preferences that need the traditional learning or working environment just doesn’t work for. Non-Gen Z’s just assumed they know what they were doing and were using technology creatively. Well it turns out they are not. They are more consumers of technology rather than creators. For example, Income and educational level is a much better indicator of web savviness than age.  This https://www.gwern.net/docs/psychology/2017-kirschner.pdf is a great paper about this topic and is well worth reading.

So, the message is don’t chase the latest trend, learn from the evidence.  Think about who your most valuable workers are and plan a workplace that really supports their productivity.

For more information about how evidence based design strategies creates great workplaces go to www.5projects.com.au or call me on 0404697318

  1. https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1718/Quick_Guides/LabourForce
  2. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-long-should-an-employee-stay-at-a-job-2059796
  3. Leesman survey https://www.leesmanindex.com/abw-report/