August 1, 2017
alexandria commercial real estate

Surveying Employees to Design your New Space

August 2017 – Is your company overdue for a new space?  Perhaps your staff talks about it openly—or maybe everyone just “knows” that your current location is too small or not conducive to the business you’re currently trying to run.  You’re almost ready to call a commercial real estate broker.  You have an idea of how much space you need and what your budget will be and a general idea of what type of space you want but, after that, it’s a little fuzzy.  How are you going to design your new space?

To get a clearer understanding of what you need, we suggest you take a slightly unconventional tack and ask your employees directly.   In a relatively quick and simple way, you can find out what your employees need and want to make them happy and more productive in the new space.

Inviting your employees to participate in the process of identifying the critical elements of the new space, will accomplish two significant things.  (And, just so you know, lots of research backs this up.)

1.  It will produce a more detailed and comprehensive understanding of the space your business needs to flourish, and

2.  It will actively increase employee engagement in the move itself, and the overall running of your business.

And the best news of all is that TARTAN can guide this process for you—from gathering initial data from the employees, doing a few focused interviews, and potentially leading group conversations which will help prioritize and refine the elements that have surfaced as important.  TARTAN considers this work part of the process of learning the larger picture of your business and where you want to take it.

Those who work in the trenches of your company hold a lot of knowledge about how your business actually works—knowledge that is often undervalued by supervisors and managers.  So, we encourage you to invite them into the conversation and poll them on what the new space can improve.  You will certainly uncover new areas of improvement for the company.

In the same way employees can help you with the operational aspects of the business, they can also help you understand the elements that will bring general comfort and productivity to their days.  Of course, you are not promising to fulfill all wishes; you are looking to understand their priorities so that you invest in the things that matter most.  Those things might include:

  • Small breakout and collaboration spaces
  • Standing desks
  • Proximity to your current location, and to MetroRail, MetroBus, CapitalBikeshare, restaurants, shopping and other amenities
  • Connection to the elements, e.g. natural light overall, proximity to windows, access to fresh air
  • Car parking (free or secured) and bike storage
  • Shower and changing area for bike-commuters and fitness enthusiasts
  • Relaxation/meditation space–indoor or outdoor

Leveraging the insights of your staff and learning their interests, you will be directly supporting your business model and processes, as well as supporting the staff who make your business thrive.  In the short term, asking these questions will focus your real estate search on the key elements.  TARTAN is here to guide the process of gathering and synthesizing this information to drive your long-term success.

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