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Understanding the current state

Investing the time to understand how people work and collaborate now, and what they need for the future, will benefit workplace projects long-term.

Understanding the current state of your workplace – physically, culturally and behaviourally – provides insights into what people need to perform their roles, their satisfaction with the current environment, opportunities for improvement in the workplace and in business processes, and the current alignment with business needs and goals.

Questions to ask

When managing your design and fit-out you should keep in mind the following questions:

  • What are we trying to achieve or solve?
  • Why are we doing this? Why now?
  • What are our goals and visions?
  • What are the expectations, direction or vision for government?
  • How well is the physical workplace being used? What’s working and what’s not?
  • Do we have a flexible working policy? Is that policy supported by our actions and procedures?
  • What is our workforce strategy?
  • How do people work? Does everyone work in the same way? What are the needs of the roles?
  • Are there any constraints or special considerations for specific roles or functions?
  • Do we already have a number of people working mobile or remotely?
  • How well does our technology support organisational needs and mobility?

Review these questions as the project progresses and periodically once the new workplace is up and running.

Flexible-Work-by-Default – Te Kawa Maataho Public Service Commission

Hybrid working Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

Managing the workplace

Tools for gathering data

Discovery interviews and workshops

Interviews, discussions or workshops with a variety of representatives across the organisation can help you understand:

  • business objectives
  • working styles
  • connections within the organisation and externally
  • technology needs
  • requirements of individual roles and teams.

Workplace performance surveys

Surveys can capture information from a greater number of respondents than workshops. Workplace performance surveys provide insights into how the current environment is being used and any opportunities or challenges to help shape workplace strategy.

These surveys can be particularly helpful when moving from a traditional environment where people have their own assigned desk to a more flexible environment with a variety of shared work settings.

Note that too many surveys, studies or workshops can be overwhelming and staff may choose not to engage. Include workplace questions as part of your regular engagement survey to reduce survey fatigue.

If you'd like to discuss workplace performance surveys or see some examples, email the Government Property Group team.

Utilisation and occupancy studies

Utilisation and occupancy studies provide insights to help understand how many people are using a space and how those people are using spaces within the site.

Studies should look at:

  • how different spaces are used over time
  • areas of high and low use
  • peak occupancy levels
  • occupancy patterns over a day
  • what activities each space is used for
  • identifying work patterns that support a flexible environment.

Ideally, use a space management tool which can provide reporting and a real-time view. Space management systems will not identify how people are interacting with the spaces, but will provide insights into workspaces not being used.