If office space is what you need for your organisation, then you will want it to be part of your agile business strategy. Apart from the practical issues, like location, size, tenure, facilities, etc., the space itself needs careful thought.
The layout and design must encompass such things as ergonomics, acoustics, traffic flows and task management to ensure the safety and well-being of your people. This means finding out what people want from the space, what the business demands from the space and how the two will marry to maximise productivity, health and efficiency.
Office space as if people matter
The office then is another aspect of people engagement. Do staff like open plan or enclosed spaces; how will they work best? If open plan, how do you facilitate tasks that require concentration? If enclosed spaces, how do you encourage collaboration?
We all benefit from choice, but even the best option may sour if it is the only option, day in and day out. For example, you might work better at home when you need to concentrate and better in the office when you want to collaborate. Or, it could be the other way round.
In addition, we all benefit from choice about the way the space looks. Deigning space is often dictatorial; you cannot personalise the space because it won’t fit the branding. But research shows that well-being and productivity increase when we have choice about how we enrich our environment.
And what about mood? We are not robots; we change moods, become tired, enjoy different tasks at different times. Designing office space to cope with different situations and states of mind is highly beneficial.
Another factor is how people will get to and from the office and what are the facilities when they arrive. Where do they park? Do you make allowances for the vagueries of public transport? Is there somewhere to store their bike and have a shower?
Managing the dispersed team
And if you are managing different needs, what technology will hold it all together. Mobile devices, BYOD, video communication, physical interaction, data access and security, processes and systems will all need careful thought.
Office space is also quoted as helping to communicate the culture of the organisation. How is this done when not everyone is there all the time?
These are complex issues with as many answers as there are people in the organisation. There will be no right answer and no perfect answer, but the issues need consideration.