Workplace Strategy, More Crucial than You Thought
06/19/2017 - 09:27

Removed from static desks but tied to digital platforms – sounds familiar, right? The development of knowledge work has significantly expanded the meaning of the term ‘workplace’: instead of a specific place, the term now refers to an entire ecosystem of physical, digital and social environments.

Building on this new thinking, both physical and digital work environments are platforms for work. Their common mission is to support efficient and creative processing of information. A work environment that empowers spontaneous interactions and removes obstacles for cooperation is essential for agility.

Find and fix weak links in your workplace ecosystem

An ecosystem built of physical spaces and furniture, digital tools, and human interactions is only as strong as its weakest link. Shortages or complexities in any part of the ecosystem will undermine productivity of knowledge work and decrease employee wellbeing.

By far the most important principle defining workplace design is the functionality of the whole, which of course is much easier said than done.

Workplaces consist of several components. Traditionally, they are each handled separately, with different owners and objectives. As examples, collaboration tools are typically IT’s responsibility, facilities and furniture are Admin department issues, while employee wellbeing is on the HR agenda.

Taking control of the entire workplace ecosystem and leading it as a whole requires a wider perspective. The solution is a workplace strategy that outlines the ideal ecosystem and steps needed to reach it. In addition, it is important to define how success is measured and how the environment is optimized along the way.

Workplace is a tool for leadership and change

Workplace strategy essentially turns the workplace into a leadership tool. Once all the previously separate components are combined into a whole, the ability to affect behavior and culture through design choices becomes a lot stronger. Further benefits include easier monitoring and alignment of the desired effects.

The goal of a workplace should be to make the corporate strategy come true, and the progress should be monitored with clear goals and steps. Think about it: we used to only focus on finding an affordable office and getting it furnished!

Strategic thinking also changes responsibilities around workplace. When the talk is no longer only about cost optimization but about ways to drive culture, productivity and creativity, executive teams tend to get way more interested about workplace issues than ever before.

As an additional bonus, workplace strategy prepares organizations for upcoming changes. Components that already function as a whole enable flexible and balanced development of the entire workplace. So how about optimizing the whole and not its individual pieces.


Read more:

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Workplace As A Service

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Blog authors

VP, Customer Supply Management
Martela Oyj
Director, Education
Vice President, Innovation to Market
Interior Architect, Physiotherapist, Physical Training Instructor, 11/2016 - 06/2019, Martela

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