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A Four-Step Approach To An Effective Workplace Strategy

Dan Boram is CEO at AURA, a leading design-build company focused on creating experiential office environments.

The nature of the workplace has permanently shifted. In 2020, all over the world, people were forced to relocate everything and operate remotely. We have just recently begun our journey back to some sense of normalcy; however, this is not the only change we will have to adjust to in the coming years.

All of this change in the workplace begs the question: Do we even need a physical workspace? How do companies justify their purpose if they are not as necessary as we once thought?

This is why a well-defined workplace strategy is imperative. Businesses will struggle to meet the demands of their workforce if they do not have a proper plan in place.

What is a workplace strategy?

A workplace strategy is a “systematic evaluation of how the workplace is being used to optimize a company’s effectiveness and efficiency.” A well-planned workplace strategy can do wonders for your company’s output and performance while improving collaboration and teamwork. It also can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism while increasing employee engagement.

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Changes in how, where and when we work have paved the way for new work models to emerge. Organizations can survive and thrive by adapting their workspace to support these changes. But how do you know what is best for your team? There is no single solution, so developing a unique strategy for your organization is critical.

That said, here are my top four suggestions for developing a workplace strategy that works for your organization.

1. Have a business strategy and a people strategy.

By integrating your business objectives with people and research, you will be in the best position to produce a successful workplace. At the core, your workplace is a business tool and can immensely impact your company’s input and output.

Workplace strategies that put both people and business at the heart of the process are better equipped to remove inefficiencies and streamline operations. Your workplace strategy should be designed to make your business more effective and more agile, consciously and meticulously linking to your business goals, strategy and workers’ needs.

2. Include your staff.

Workplace strategies are implemented to address the concerns and effectiveness of employees. Without the assistance of your employees, it’s nearly impossible to make long-term strategic decisions that will benefit your company.

Understanding your unique work culture and how your employees work best is critical for developing an effective, people-centric workplace strategy. The most successful office environments accommodate all work styles to provide employees with enough variety. The conditions for your unique workplace strategy will be determined by how your employees work.

3. Use data to inform your strategy.

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Workplace strategy technology has arrived, bringing with it a scientific approach to determining how your workspace can better support your team. My advice is to make a data-driven decision. You’ll be able to make better-informed workplace decisions if you assess your team and categorize them based on their work styles.

The most successful businesses have both a business strategy and a people strategy. Find an analytical tool to help you assess your team so you can better understand your employees’ needs. This will make determining and implementing the best office strategy for your workplace much easier.

4. Plan for the future.

Once you have the data to plan for your current workplace strategy needs, align it with your business and people strategies to scale your workplace needs for forecasted growth. A well-executed workplace strategy can help your company, especially when it includes plans for anticipating growth and dealing with adversity or the unknown. By gathering data now and assessing your team every eight to 12 months, you can better predict—and prepare for—what the future will hold for your workplace.

Developing a workplace strategy isn’t easy; many factors, from business objectives to work culture to employee expectations, come into play. However, having a business strategy and a people strategy, including your employees, and understanding how your people work will help you make data-driven decisions, which is an excellent step toward developing the best workplace strategy for your company.

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