Thinking about downsizing your office space? Read this first

Wednesday July 27, 2022

The events of the past couple of years have brought change to businesses at an extraordinary pace.

From navigating remote working during the pandemic, to managing leavers and starters amidst the Great Resignation, and much more.

The workplace itself has also transformed. First with the emergence and decline of social distancing, and now with a new level of attendance due to the uptake of hybrid working.

If your office is only at half capacity most of the time, you may well be wondering if it’s fulfilling its purpose. Has it got you thinking about a downsize? Or maybe even closing and going fully remote?

Cost saving may be a motivator here, but before you start offloading office furniture, there are a few things to think about.

Setting up for success

If you are seeking to downsize, it’s best not to stray too far from your current location. Consider the proximity of your team and who needs to attend the workplace.

Creating a challenging commute won’t help you to retain good employees, and you won’t want to place a burden on their family or financial situation.

Remember that contracts stipulate working location, so you should consult them before making a permanent change. Be prepared, too, for a few flexible working requests.

Accessibility matters. Will you need car parking, public transport routes or disabled access?

Next, what is it that you want to get out of your reimagined office space? Will you need hot desks? Space for collaboration? Meeting rooms? These are all important factors to maximise the productivity and collaboration of your team. Try to involve your team leaders in this process early on, so that you have a good idea of what they will need to work well.

A healthy and safe working space, along with any necessary equipment for office based and remote working, should be top of the list.

Whilst it’s easy to get caught up in what you will need pre-downsize, don’t forget to think ahead too. Have you got goals for growth? Will your new arrangement work for the long term? Workforce planning can be a useful HR tool here.

Keeping your team cohesive

A new space designed for your new way of working is great, but it’s not the only factor in making your hybrid team a success.

You also need effective management and processes in place to allow productivity, creativity and collaboration to flourish. Otherwise, you could end up regretting the downsize.

When everyone is not in the same place, technology and online tools can help your team to communicate effectively.

Instant messaging for business can provide quick and easy answers for urgent tasks. It’s a good idea to introduce a policy which sets expectations. This will avoid any misuse and keep the focus on work.

For collaboration, digital whiteboards and shared cloud documents will allow your entire team to work on the same project simultaneously.

Time management should be a key focus for your hybrid team, and managers may need training in what to do if this starts to slide. Will they be handling difficult conversations online, or will you have a dedicated space for this to happen in person? Either way, training them to manage with confidence can set them up for success.

HR is only a phone call away

If you’re thinking about downsizing your office space or making changes to your business, or you would like to discuss effective tips for managing a hybrid team, we are here to help.

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