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Andreas Sjelborg Rahbek May 19, 2022 9 min read

A Quick Guide to Designing Neighborhoods in Your Workplace

Neighborhoods are used to effectively arrange the placement of employees based on ongoing projects, functions within the company, or activities. Many organizations have decided to opt-in for office neighborhoods post corona to optimize teamwork and enhance collaboration across teams. We see that many of our customers have decided to change their offices to fit the current workplace design trend and implement neighborhoods in their workplace and here is why:

 

What Type Of Office Neighborhood Could Fit Your Organization?

Office neighborhoods refer to companies choosing to organize their employees in groups by, who each person needs to collaborate with. This can be set up in multiple ways depending on the organizational needs. The benefits of office neighborhoods are effectively creating communities, where you make sure employees get access to the right people and the amenities they need to deliver the best result.

 

Office Neighborhoods can be set up in at least four different ways

  • Job Roles– a neighborhood based on ‘Job Roles’ groups' people together based on their job roles and functions. You could have neighborhoods called: Product, Customer Success, Sales, Finance, etc.
  • Projects– a neighborhood based on ‘Projects’ groups people across different departments together to work on a specific project.
  • Activity-based working– A neighborhood based on ‘Activity Based Working’ let's employees choose between zones with a specific activity in mind. These could be quiet zones for deep focus, creative zones for innovative work, or collaborative zones.
  • Amenities– a community of employees needs access to certain equipment or 'Amenities', such as breakout rooms, printers, or double monitors. Add them to a neighborhood that has these features.

 

Why Do Companies Invest Time into creating Office Neighborhoods?

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself", said Henry Ford. Companies have realized post covid that remote tools such as Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, etc. are great to collaborate at a distance, but for most companies, it is not a replacement for collaboration and teamwork in the office, which is the true driver of business.

Many companies are creating hybrid work models, where you can get the flexibility of working at home without sacrificing the social interactions between team members. This means happier employees, because they have a flexible work-life-balance, where they can work some days from home, but still know that they can come into the office.

A more flexible work-life for employees also means fewer encounters with colleagues at the office. Therefore, companies are figuring out, how they easy and frictionless can create zones for employees, where they have access to the necessary touchpoints and amenities to get their tasks done.

 

Four Benefits of Office Neighborhoods

There are plenty of reasons, why organizations are choosing Office Neighborhoods. We have collected four of the most common benefits to why high performing businesses choose to design neighborhoods.

 

1. Enhanced organizational collaboration

Teamwork makes the dream work. You get a deeper relation, better communication, and collaboration between employees when they are working closely in their environment. If you design communities and have a workplace design strategy, your organization could have happier and more engaged employees.

When organizations incorporate office neighborhoods with a desk hoteling solution, they provide employees with a flexible tool to choose, where they want to sit in advance to get their tasks done. The first week, employees might want to sit with their team, another week they might prefer to sit with colleagues they are working on a project with, while they then later just need a desk for focusing on a specific task.


2. Efficient use of office space

Your organization will need fewer desks, if people have a flexible work style switching between working from home and in-office, which makes it possible to trim down on real estate or reconfigure spaces for other purposes. By using a meeting management or desk scheduling solution, you will have a bunch of data available to create a workplace fitting for your workers. Make workplace improvements and use your workspace efficiently with real-time workplace utilization data.

 

3. Increased flexibility in the workplace

Before covid the worker had to adapt to the workplace, but post covid the workplace has to adapt to the employees. Workers have higher expectations to their workplace because they can just as easily work from home.

This means organizations are investing in zones to enhance creativity among the creative employees. Or create relaxing zones for employees who need more room to focus. Organizations need to make sure there is room for everyone.

Organizations are also using workplace data to enhance their workplace, creating strong cultures with happy employees that increases productivity and makes it easier to recruit new talent.

 

4. Increased productivity

Workers today require more room to focus on their tasks, which is why the old office layout with a lot of desks is being replaced with a wide arrange of different rooms. This could be small hubs or phone booth for phone calls or concentrations.

By placing employees in neighborhoods that cater for their needs in terms of amenities and equipment, workers will have more time to be productive, because they have everything within range.

 

The Biggest Problems with Neighborhoods

If you mention to your employees, that you will establish a neighborhood environment, the transition can be overwhelming for them. There might be a few headaches, that you need to address.

 

Headache 1: Shared desks lead to less clean work surfaces

Sanitizing, cleaning office

Your employees might have a concern, that their work surfaces do not live up to their expectations of cleaning. But with a meeting management or desk management software solution, you will actually be able to easily monitor the cleaning services made for specific desks and meeting rooms.

 

Headache 2: People will be assigned to less popular areas

modern-workplaceIn general, people prefer to sit in specific locations. Some desks might be placed with a better view, be close to the coffee machine, or have other attributes that make them more popular. When setting up neighborhoods it is a good idea to have a discussion with your team to figure out, what they want their workplace to include.

You will never be able to give everyone the perfect workspace. However, you could get valuable insights, into what they prefer to have, and plan your workplace layout accordingly.

 

Headache 3: People will not adopt this

User_adoption_askcody_change_management

It is important to involve your employees in these decisions and clearly express the benefits of the transition. We see that organizations have realized that people are willing to make changes if it can provide them with more flexibility in their work-life. If you can deliver the message that people can be involved in designing their workplace with the amenities, they need they will feel more included in the process.

They are also more likely to accept that they need to use software to book desks if you pick one easy to use

 

Conclusion to Office Neighborhoods

Companies are choosing to create neighborhoods to enhance team collaboration at their offices and make sure, that employees have all amenities and equipment available. This is to make their experience at the office as frictionless as possible. But there are still a few problems and headaches associated with creating neighborhoods such as cleaning, allocation of working areas, and adoption.

With a meeting management solution, you can minimize some of the headaches associated with creating neighborhoods and handling desk and meeting booking. You can maximize your workplace capacity in a way that suits your employee’s work style.

Do you want more inspiration on how you can design an office, which caters to the needs of employees?

Read our free e-book here:

 

Different Setup Options For Meeting Rooms

 

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Andreas Sjelborg Rahbek

Responsible for product marketing at AskCody