Updated: Aug 30
Business leaders and commercial interior design firms in Singapore alike have, over the last couple of years, been navigating the challenges and opportunities posed by the global pandemic, a moment in history that simultaneously forced the revaluation of conventional office spaces and solidified the work-from-home experience.
With a shift in the perception of office work and design, companies have to implement a variety of approaches as corporate philosophies around hybrid work evolve. With corporate strategies evolving with the circumstances, many business leaders are also closely reconsidering and evaluating their real estate footprints in light of how the office is utilised. This is where the idea of “right-sizing” comes into play.
Do I have enough of the “right” kind of space?
At a superficial level, right-sizing seems to be answering the fundamental question of whether the office space is too small or too big for the company utilising it. However, what we are asking both ourselves and our clients are deeper questions, such as “Do we have a sufficient amount of the right kind of space?” and, additionally, “Do we have too much of what we do not need?”
Achieving the right corporate space strategy for your business is a phased process and should be rooted in research, following through to company-wide adoption. Here is a five-step process to help you determine the “right-sized” office design for your own workforce:
1. Foundations: Asking the right questions
Right-sizing, by definition, means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to office design. The foundational element of designing an office includes meeting with various business leaders who will lay out their desired outcomes. Some questions that you can ask yourself are:
●What is the purpose of our physical office space? How can we target our five senses better?
●What experiences can be better supported by the working environment in the office? How can we improve synergy between those working in the office and at home?
●Is our office able to effectively facilitate every work activity and culture, such as productivity, connection, and collaboration?
●What are the experiences and amenities specific to our company that will add value and benefit employees, attracting them to go to the office to work? For example, the ratio of employees expected to work from home to work in the office.
●What is the expected future growth of the company? How many employees do the company expect in 1, 3, and 5 years to come?
2. Discovery: Knowing your office priorities
The discovery phase offers the optimal opportunity to be aware of your employee’s desires and experiences with their workplace. Discovery should consist of primary research applications, such as in-office observations, interviews, surveys, and data collection, to help you get the right information that will better support the company moving forward.
With a better understanding of what your company seeks in an ideal workspace, you are able to create workspaces that your employees will value, including those that are:
●Collaboration-focused & highly integrated: One that supports a collaborative work environment, organising space to display work and encourage socialisation, mentorship, and spontaneity, as well as entertain and meet visitors and clients.
●Flexible: Offer spaces for a variety of individual and heads-down work
●Aesthetic: Maintaining a design appeal that attracts and reflects your company’s core values
3. Defining: Finding out the right-sized space
Once you have established your company’s values, goals, and needs for a positive in-person working experience, the defining stage turns the derived information into meaningful insights that help to identify potential challenges. From there, the next stage of designing takes those identified challenges, creating future-centric solutions that often result in the thoughtful reconfiguration of the existing space to “right-size” it and fit the immediate needs of the company.
4. Designing: Creating a flexible space for a right-sized future
Another vital consideration during the defining and designing stage is to identify if the office and workstation are meant for dedicated or shared purposes. Sharing means reducing the amount of individual desking space and dedicating the space for collaboration and shared purposes. An example would be hot-desking, which is increasingly popular due to limited space as well as many companies having hybrid working arrangements.
It is also vital to create a flexible space that can accommodate future growth. We always encourage our clients to consider both short- and long-term strategic goals when evaluating their existing real estate model. It is all about finding the right design strategy that can accommodate your company’s work style and needs.
With a flexible approach to various work experiences, offices can bring more features to the space while staying within the same square footage, optimising it for their company’s needs.
Some examples of popular solutions employed in many companies are:
●AV systems that enable hybrid collaboration, giving everybody at the table a place and voice
●Green corners that focus on both mental and physical wellness, allowing employees to better connect with nature
●Gaming areas or bar zones for socialising and team bonding opportunities
5. Prototyping and Guiding: Working towards long-term success
With substantial “right-sizing” changes being made to the office design comes the inevitable certainty that there will be changes to workplace habits, policies, and norms. Hence, it is vital during the prototyping stage that you ease any of the potential changes by incorporating mock-ups to test potential design ideas before rolling them out for real.
At the end of the day, your “right-sizing” design project should primarily focus on the full employee experience, going beyond technology and physical space. The office space interior design process should end with the guiding stage – documenting and guiding your employees on navigating and maximising the new space. That way, they can feel motivated by having various areas for working comfortably whenever needed.
While not every company will be able or ready to support a full office “right-sizing” reset, it is the best time to experiment with the idea of a “right-sized” company. Trying out new working ideas with a limited but willing team or department can be a great start to identifying substantial and meaningful solutions that could bring about positive changes to your organisation. After all, a “right-sized” company is all about maximising all that you have to optimise the needs and capabilities of your existing and future workforce.
Here at OSCA, we are able to turn your existing real estate into well-designed, award-winning, “right-sized” workplaces. By studying our client's needs and providing several solutions to work out the best option for them, we ensure that our design is functional and aesthetically pleasing.
This is why we encourage companies to approach commercial interior design firms, particularly OSCA, because we ask the right questions during the design process so that we can derive the best solution. With that being said, contact us to inquire about our services.