Getting Serious About Workplace Transformation

Karen Bannan

The workspace has a major effect on talent acquisition and retention, as well as productivity and collaboration. It’s no surprise that workplace transformation is a priority for organizations looking to improve their employees’ experiences, according to a recent International Data Group (IDG) study.

Workplace transformation is the process of modernizing an office and its functions, via renovation, consolidation and restacking, to attract and retain top talent. This transformation helps organizations meet business objectives, too, since it creates an environment that empowers, engages and connects employees to the organization, each other, customers and vendors.

According to the study, the No. 1 reason for workplace transformation — cited by a third of respondents — is a desire to create a more productive space. Almost as many respondents (32%) cited the changing size of the workforce, while 28% cited pressure from employees for more mobility options and flexible spaces, and another 28% cited pressure from leadership to create a workspace that attracts and retains the best employees. Another key takeaway: Executives were most likely to cite “alignment with digital transformation strategy” as a trigger for workplace transformation projects.

Once a workplace transformation is underway, boosting employee productivity and engagement is a top-three goal for more than half of respondents. Almost as many (53%) put expense reduction while delivering high-performing workspaces in their top three. Half of respondents said their transformation goal is to achieve a work environment that fosters innovation.

Getting It Done

There are many steps involved in executing a workplace transformation. The majority of organizations (76%) consider clearing out an unproductive workspace to be a critical or high priority. Next, 71% of organizations regard onsite storage of records and file rooms as a critical or high priority. Another top consideration was dealing with IT assets that are at end-of-life. Respondents were also concerned with removing, repurposing or donating other physical assets such as furniture; deciding whether to relocate data centers or server rooms; and evaluating outsourcing as a way to reduce onsite headcount.

These priorities help organizations meet their workplace transformation goals, according to the study. More than half of respondents said that removing office equipment, cabinets and furniture facilitates transformation.

When workplace transformation starts, quite a few physical assets may be reevaluated. In a traditional office, it’s easy to find items that are outdated or that were designed before collaboration and mobility were priorities. More than half (51%) of respondents said they need to consider and make decisions about office equipment, while nearly half (49%) said the same about furniture. File cabinets, outdated PCs, outdated IT assets such as monitors and printers, and large servers are also on the list. IT respondents, not surprisingly, are more likely to worry about outdated PCs, shelves, racks and storage.

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

For many organizations, reducing the amount of paper is a serious goal, especially since digitized content is more searchable, sharable and consumable. Study respondents fell into this camp, with 46% of respondents saying they were considering storing physical records and files offsite to free up space. This may be why 36% of respondents said that protecting confidential information during a move or transition is also a major goal. Those in IT roles are considering imaging physical files and documents to help achieve workplace transformation, a process cited by 42% of all respondents. With 90% of respondents storing records onsite in boxes, cabinets or open shelving, this is especially important since, according to the study, only 46% of onsite paper records are accessed regularly, on average. This may be why 94% of respondents are considering moving records offsite to free up space.

If your organization is planning a workspace transformation project, there are many ways to get started. Determine your workplace transformation goals, identify the changes you need to make and seek help along the way.

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