As we shift into a post-pandemic workforce, we are still redefining what a workspace means for our organizations and employees. However, one thing is for certain - we’re all finding new ways to reinvent our workspaces as we step into a hybrid model.
Countless companies are making radical changes to their floor plans to answer the call to the new standard of work. For many, this means flex-work schedules, hybrid work systems, upgrades to workflows, and yes, an office restack.
But instead of downsizing, many organizations are evaluating the state of their existing offices to see how they can transform their workplaces into collaborative spaces for their teams.
Why an office restack?
A restack isn't just reconfiguring your workplace through conventional space planning. It's manifesting your organization's value in a newly defined space.
The pandemic has created a rippling effect within the workforce and has forced organizations to reconstruct how they manage their teams. Companies are striving to build out their spaces for workers to be more productive, more collaborative, and more unified.
There are often three reasons why a company would consider restacking:
- Consolidation of unused workstations and deconstructing of old floor layouts
- A shift in branding (including real estate) and the need for that shift to be communicated across an organization
- The implementation of new work systems to fulfill a human-centric need for their employees
Careful planning and project management will help you maximize every square foot for your team.
Looking to revamp your office space and get your restack running? Here are seven tips facilities management and real estate leaders should keep in mind before getting started.
Communicate with your employees
Before you set anything in motion, make sure to align your restack process with your organization’s long-term goals. Talk to your employees and evaluate their space needs to build a space that facilitates their daily workflow.
To minimize interruption during the restack, provide clear communication of where their new workspaces will be and how they can access them. Explain why an office restack is necessary and what role they'll play in transforming their new work environment.
Reinforce employee engagement
Involve your employees in the process by opening communication channels through chats, voting polls, and frequent meetings. There must be a sense of inclusion and empowerment throughout your restack process for employees to become part of the transformation.
Change management should also play a crucial role in your workplace transformation. With an unforeseeable future at hand, we'll have to nurture a new way of thinking to build an infrastructure that will support our upgraded spaces. (Read more about managing the shift to flex seating here).
Keep your business moving
As a workplace leader, you'll need to find a strategic way to provide all the tools necessary for your employees to work during the restack—plan for uninterrupted business connectivity by providing a swing space for your employees while transforming your office.
This is a perfect opportunity to leverage your hybrid model to define collaborative efforts and individual tasks. Bring your team together by carefully planning a work schedule with options to work from home for individual tasks and a swing space for team meetings, creative collaborations, or simply a space to connect after work hours.
Don't reinvent the wheel
There's no need to build or create additional spaces during your restack. Be mindful of your existing conditions and see how you can improve their capabilities to fit your team's needs. When structuring your restack, factor in the new average occupancy levels of your workplace, and find ways to make your workplace more efficient as a result.
With a new generation of employees entering the workforce, many have ranked sustainability and human-centric design as high priorities in their office space. As more organizations are starting to renovate their office, we see a higher standard of environmental quality, open floor plans, and a focus on city-centric work locations.
You'll inevitably have lingering furniture with no purpose after your restack, but don't let these items limit your process — sometimes you’ll just have to let them go. Have a strategy to either sell, reuse, or recycle office furniture that won't fit into your newly renovated workspace.
“I hate thinking about all of that furniture that gets landfilled all the time,” says Danielle Newton of Zendesk. “So we are shipping it out to partners all over the world, in every region.”
There are plenty of ways to dispose of unused items during your restack, whether you're donating to a non-profit or liquidating your assets to repurpose resources for a more sustainable work environment.
Safety & protection
Consider providing a schedule for your contractors and employees. If employees want to use the swing space during the restack, use barriers for construction, noise reducers, and regular clean-up to limit distractions and setbacks. Safety procedures should also be communicated to employees and staff to ensure contractors can work diligently and without pause.
Set a realistic timeframe
There will be more than a few moving parts, so make sure to set realistic expectations for and during your restack. Plan for relocating your office tech to avoid damage during the move, ensuring that the office can stay connected and provide functionality for your employees.
Find the right partner
Do your homework and find a team that has experience managing restacks for companies in your industry. It’s crucial that you find a partner who can communicate each phase of your restack and develop a structured plan to address issues and share significant milestones. This will help minimize delays and keep your restack on track.
Rethinking the workplace
All organizations will need to make some type of internal change to stay relevant to our current working conditions. Still, steps like restacking can help your organization become more agile and effective as more workers choose an alternative work-life balance. Cubicles and closed office layouts are now a thing of the past.
Rethinking our workplace may just be the next step your organization needs to thrive in the future of work.