The Visual Workplace: Rethinking Office Reconfiguration

The future of the office relies on two major factors: flexibility and reconfiguration. The combination allows leaders to optimize space while still delivering on what types of spaces employees want to use when they come into the office. 

Because let’s face it. What worked pre-pandemic isn’t likely to continue working well in the wake of COVID-19. 

Changing guidelines and emerging variants have created unpredictability regarding workplace attendance for businesses that have been able to bring a portion of their employees back in-house. The combination has also led many organizations to think (and rethink) their official return-to-work dates and strategies. 

That unpredictability combined with the evolving reasons people go into the office and employees’ shifting wants and needs demands that decision leaders cultivate a deep and nuanced understanding of how existing space is used. It also increased the need for incorporating more flexibility into that space because the office of today and the future must work harder than ever to meet the needs of an evolving workforce. 

The challenge for many organizations is this: space planning and reconfiguration take substantial time and money. Having the right tools empowers the process. Having CORT’s trifecta of tools that facilitate maximum flexibility and space optimization allows leaders to get ahead of the curve, try different ideas without disrupting the existing space, and execute strategies quickly. 

Space Planning Ahead of Urgency 

What if there were a way to identify potential space-related problems and plan out solutions ahead of having to scramble to fix issues the moment they occur? That’s one of the many benefits sensor technology and workplace sensors offer. 

For example, imagine what could have been done differently and more efficiently if the world had a crystal ball that predicted COVID and its widespread impact on business. How much more effectively could your company have planned for the disruption if you could do so before being in the moment? 

Although there’s no way to predict the future, 4SITE by CORT offers a predictive workplace analytics tool that facilitates more effective space planning before it’s necessary. Space utilization sensors provide a deep understanding of how employees use existing space, which not only drives decisions regarding reconfiguration but also the re-evaluation of assets. Relying on data is the most accurate way to reduce real estate costs, optimize existing spaces, and reshape the workplace into productive square footage that best meets employees’ needs and wants. 

Space optimization sensors deliver the data needed to make long-term optimization decisions by allowing leaders to understand how spaces are used in a non-invasive fashion. 4SITE sensor technology arms businesses and decision-makers with collected data that’s sent via a secure network to a completely independent cloud hub. Users have a private dashboard to access the data to conduct occupancy studies, calculate desk utilization, and determine the utilization rate for the workplace. Not only does this help answer critical questions about whether the space is being used to its fullest, but it can also help create the flexibility needed for reconfiguration now and in the future. 

Trying New Configurations Without Disruption 

Depending on the scope of the reconfiguration, this process can take days or weeks to complete. And that’s without trying a reconfiguration only to decide that it’s not quite right and redoing the whole thing. The extensive disruption is bound to have high costs when it comes to productivity. 

What if there were a way to try out various scenarios and layouts without disrupting anything at all? CORT Space360 offers 3D visualization that revolutionizes space planning while empowering businesses to make informed choices that best meet the needs of their workforce. This innovative platform uses technology to allow organizations to experiment with different layouts and modifications as needed to ensure functionality and aesthetics are both maximized — and all without any disruption. 

Users work with CORT’s design experts to try different layouts and scenarios, making changes in real-time to create the ideal environment. At the same time, the platform also provides multiple views to enhance visualization so the design and furniture plan is on-point, all while providing valuable budgeting information to calculate total occupancy costs.

Reconfiguring the Workplace With Speed 

Once there’s a plan, being able to execute it quickly and efficiently is essential. Moreover, as the organization’s needs change, the ability to respond and pivot quickly is invaluable. CORT’s Furniture-as-a-Service™ allows organizations to do just that. 

In the wake of the pandemic, one of the lessons that have emerged is this: The workplace must work harder than ever because people now know that they don’t have to come into the office. Instead, the office now has to meet the unique wants and needs of the workforce, including providing face-to-face experiences and interactions that technology can’t duplicate. 

For some businesses, it may mean providing self-service options that allow employees to choose when and where they work. For others, it may mean creating huddle spaces and other flexible collaboration areas for meetings and brainstorming sessions. Because those needs are likely to change as things continue shifting and evolving, we recommend incorporating at least 10–15% flexible space into the blueprint. 

While 4SITE makes it easier to make data-driven decisions and Space360 allows organizations to plan space faster without disruption, FaaS makes it possible to respond quickly and effectively to changing floor plans and changing needs. Permanent assets are often a barrier to flexibility, leaving businesses with an inevitable glut that is costly and clunky. With furniture rental, every company can seamlessly modify its furnishings according to the evolving needs of its workforce. 

We often refer to it as access over ownership. FaaS allows you to select, order, use, and return. Delivery and setup can often be completed within days. And when the furniture is no longer needed or a new reconfiguration calls for different options, CORT picks everything up, allowing our clients to enjoy permanent flexibility and the power to make fast changes. 

Despite the conjecture, the office isn’t dead. But it is forever changed. Rethinking office reconfiguration is a path forward to creating welcoming office environments that employees want to enter. First, you need the right tools to facilitate a flawless execution. 

You also need to be willing to engage in an ongoing process. We refer to it as “Experiment, Measure, Modify, and Repeat.” Using sensor technology, space planning tools, and furniture rental allows organizations to continually optimize the workplace and become Permanently Flexible™ in a way that today’s office truly needs.