To have another conversation about the benefits of open plan versus private office is missing the point. There are countless established advantages and disadvantages of both types of workspaces. For 2019, we need to change and elevate the conversation about our workplaces. Facility and HR professionals need to focus discussions on how to make strategic decisions together to strengthen the workplace experience for employees.
The following ideas are changes FM and HR leaders can put into immediate practice to develop collaborative behaviors and mindsets. We seek to inspire a new way for leaders to intentionally build intra-departmental relationships and influence how their teams can work together so their workforces can reach a higher potential in the workplace every day.
Idea 1: Build a Joint Agenda by Starting with Transparency
Recommendations: Most Facilities leaders understand the basic daily role of HR. Attraction, retention, benefits, compliance, and suddenly, eyes get hazy and glazed over. Most HR leaders understand Facilities is about space plans, layouts, furniture, fabrics and finishes, HVAC, IEQ and then snoring commences. To start aligning agendas, Facilities leaders should ask HR leaders to share their strategic plan for 2019. Then, ask for HR’s perspective on areas where they see future opportunities to collaborate in capacities to benefit employees. Make sure you are prepared to reciprocate and share your facilities and real estate plan too. Over coffee or lunch build your relationship by offering feedback to each other on the plans and determine where they converge through efforts that will uplift and benefit your workforce. Also determine how you can build a fully integrated HR and Facilities plan for the next fiscal year based on strategic organizational goals.
Idea 2: Develop an Integrated Facilities and HR Journey Map
Recommendations: Consider the employee, recruiting, and visitor lifecycles and map out all touchpoints where real estate and facilities have the potential to impact employees, prospective employees, and guests. As an example, consider the following types of spaces to begin your mapping:
Lobby/Reception areas – What message does the reception area send to visitors, recruits and employees? What should each constituency feel, think, and do when they enter and after? Is your brand well integrated? A recent study by Proxyclick indicates that we’re not delivering in our lobbies and reception areas.
Interview Rooms and Office Tour Paths – What message are you sending to employees? Does the quality of these spaces strengthen or hurt your employer value proposition? How integrated is your brand in your workplace? How does your culture show up in the attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs demonstrated in shared spaces and when observed?
Amenity Spaces – Whether your office has a rooftop with BBQs or a five-star gym that has capacity for yoga and meditation classes, what messages do these spaces send to employees on how your organization prioritizes wellness, work-life balance, staff engagement, and fun? Do your amenities complement the culture you’re grooming or work against it?
Conference Rooms – Determine what each unique audience (employees, clients, board members, prospective employees, etc.) should experience in your conference spaces. What should these spaces look and feel like? What call to action are you asking of them after they leave the meeting or event?
After you map the employee lifecycle and corresponding spaces, determine which spaces require immediate attention and make these your priority through budget allocation and resource designation. Note: these should align with your integrated Facilities and HR strategic plans.