Developing Consensus member GT3 Architects recently held a Business Transformation event to explore the opportunities and challenges that organisations are facing in an unpredictable world. Here, Michael Simpson, Senior Architect and Workplace Consultant at GT3 Architects who also presented at the event, discusses why thorough engagement is the key to unlocking business growth.

An organisation’s DNA is complex. It is made up of the quirks and peculiarities of their people, their property and their processes. It comprises everything from company culture, estates and leadership styles through to ICT, Intellectual Property, Brand and even how much ‘stuff’ needs to be stored. Business transformation, whether proactively pursued or thrust upon us, must therefore, be viewed through the lenses of all of these elements. All too often, business change is viewed in silos or at best across the C-Suite but with limited penetration into the workings of the business.

We believe that it is crucial to put people at the forefront of thinking. Staff costs are not only typically the biggest contributor to corporate expenditure, but employees have the power to actively support or disrupt change projects and in a growing knowledge economy, they are increasingly the holders of IP, sought-after talent and information. 

However, putting people first is not only useful for nurturing a company’s biggest asset and ensuring that they engage. Research by Brian Thompson at Drivers Jonas (now Deloitte) in his paper ‘Property in the Economy’ demonstrates that small gains in productivity can equate to a much larger reduction in costs too. It stands to reason that focusing on introducing spaces and places that allow for greater productivity and creating cultures that encourage productivity are key to successful business transformation. 

But what really makes a productive workplace? The British Council for Offices suggests that efficiency alone does not equate to a productive workspace, nor a happy one. Efficiency both in activity and use of space is a component, but most importantly, productive workspaces are healthy, effective and engaging.

Linked to this, more recent research has shown the positive impact that employee wellbeing has on productivity. Happier staff are more productive. This is particularly important as work has overtaken sleep as the activity that we do most. Improving wellbeing at work has been shown to increase productivity and organisational performance. 

Mastery, autonomy and purpose are commonly recognised as the cornerstones of motivation and engagement and we believe that smarter working principles are major contributors in helping employees to achieve this. Through deep, qualitative consultation to understand the organisation, its people and their needs, we can begin to design spaces that not only support productivity (and reduce cost), but which also support collaborative cultures, flexibility and choice. 

Smarter Working encourages more complex behaviour – therefore it can be concluded that the working environment needs to become more complex to support the people working in it. Our strategic brief writing consultancy, Performance +, helps organisations to dive deep into the business and to bring people along on the journey. We collate rich, qualitative information and present it through diagramming and graphics to the decision-makers to help in shaping the project’s requirements, ultimately helping them to use the power of their people to support business transformation.