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By Reagan Nickl
Customer Success Senior Manager
Is your workplace functioning at a high level? Are you maximizing real estate and balancing it with productive work habits? Does your floor plan complement employees and their needs? There are endless questions you can and should ask about your workplace, but it’s hard to know which ones are relative or important. Moreover, you might not know how to measure them. That’s where a workplace consultant is key to evaluate and optimize your workplace.
The workplace experts
What is a workplace consultant? For starters, they’re the expert on how the workplace touches every part of the business. They’re trained to understand the workplace and how it serves employees, as well as how its costs and benefits stack up on the balance sheet. Consultants evaluate and improve core concepts, and often introduce new ideas and practices to shape a better work environment.
In short, they’re the experts in workplace optimization.
What does a workplace consultant do?
Workplace consultants primarily focus on the process of identifying and implementing strategic improvements. They assess the office, identify opportunities for improvement, and formulate a plan to execute those changes. Their chief objectives are to develop workplace support for employees and reduce overhead. This process breaks down into key phases:
- Evaluate. The consultant examines workplace functions to understand how they operate on a day-to-day basis. This can include process review, employee interviews, standardized material evaluations. Their goal is to glean a comprehensive understanding of the way the workplace works.
- Analyze. A workplace consultant thrives on data. This includes looking at workplace costs, sifting through sensor data, and modeling utilization based on key metrics. The objective is to quantify as much as possible to inform and benchmark changes.
- Propose. With a comprehensive view of function and costs, workplace consultants are poised to drive specific improvements. These are generally data-driven suggestions to improve efficiency and productivity, lower costs, and strengthen the company culture. They’re often presented as direct solutions to problems discovered in the evaluation and analysis phases.
- Implement. Once key stakeholders review proposed changes, a workplace consultant oversees execution and implementation of improvements. This is the final, actionable phase in positive workplace transformation. It’s only possible through the data-backed insights and suggestions of the consultant.
Like a marketing consultant might assist a branding strategy, a workplace consultant focuses on producing results through a single area of expertise. The workplace is their medium.
What workplace consultants don’t do?
There’s a lot workplace consultants can do to improve facilities. But there’s a lot they don’t do and things companies shouldn’t expect them to handle. While they focus on fundamental workplace improvement, it doesn’t make them an end-all be-all for transformation. Here’s what they don’t do:
- Interior design. Consultants focus on improving the core function of the workplace, not necessarily how it looks. Their proposals may include a change in décor theme, but they don’t possess the finesse of professional interior designers when it comes to implementing it.
- Maintenance. While they can help create a process for maintenance, repairs, and improvements, don’t expect a workplace consultant to get up on a ladder and start replacing light bulbs. Here again, consultants can identify maintenance issues and systems to manage them.
- IT. A consultant might suggest a new desking layout or recommend workplace sensor installation for better utilization tracking. They might even recommend specific brands or equipment. But that’s where it stops. Count on your IT department to take care of integration at the behest of a consultant who knows how the final result should work.
- Budgeting. Consultants may spend a lot of time combing through budgets to understand workplace costs, but that doesn’t qualify them to write your company budget for next year. Most likely, a consultant will propose changes and improvements with cost estimates attached. It’s up to your finance department to make the numbers work.
Workplace consultants are diverse experts, but there are clear lines between what they assess and what they do. It’s best to think of it this way: a consultant provides the roadmap to improvement; it’s up to companies to follow it.
When is it time to hire a workplace consultant?
How do you know if you need a workspace consultant? For starters, take a look at your workplace. Do employees have the resources they need to work well, including space, processes, and technologies? Beyond that, look at costs. Is your business weighed down by massive overhead stemming from your lease? Are your facilities cost-efficient?
The less you know about the fundamentals of your workplace, the most important it is to hire a consultant. If you already have data, it’s worth seeing how the model might be improved. If you’re heading into a period of growth, belt-tightening, or transformation, hiring a workplace consultant is especially imperative.
Put your workplace in expert hands
Just as a factory might bring in a lean manufacturing consultant to improve processes and results, any company can benefit from working alongside a workplace consultant. If you want to learn more about your workplace and its function, there’s no better equipped to show you. And, when it comes to optimizing your workspace for efficiency, productivity, and culture, workplace consultants are an invaluable resource.
Keep reading: Enhance Workplace Wellbeing.