Purchasing new technology or furniture for a large organisation, such as a council, can be expensive. Coupled with the ever-changing understanding of what our future of work will actually look like, in particular with digital technology advancements, LOTI strongly recommends that boroughs do not purchase office equipment without first testing or piloting it.
It is useful to start the process by creating personas to understand how different employees use the office. If an organisation understands its employees by these personas, it can help ensure it has the right types of space and the right proportion of each space.
Design firm Perkins&Will, has created a number of different personas to help its clients redesign their offices, which might be useful (although employee personas may be unique for local government because of the nature of its work).
LOTI recommends that councils take an experimental and incremental approach to upgrading their office space. Several boroughs have demonstrated how this might look in practice:
Organisations need to know exactly what they are hoping to achieve with new furniture or office design and have ways of testing it to see what actually works. For example, an idea on paper (e.g. using a Microsoft Surface Pro) might not work as intended.
The first step in evaluation is understanding exactly what the desired outcome was for the furniture or equipment. This outcome may stem from a central strategic document or set of principles that covers what an organisation wants its future of work to look like. Then, an organisation might try a variety of methods to ascertain how successful a particular design choice or piece of furniture is at producing the desired outcomes.
User journey mapping and other research methods can help organisations to understand how and why employees use certain spaces and see if they are using it in the way the organisation was hoping.
These are helpful for understanding how employees reflect on using a space. Questionnaires can be shared digitally or by leaving hard copies in the space being evaluated and can be filled in without any staff support.
This is another useful method for evaluating whether a space is good for its intended purpose or not. It involves someone using the space and, whilst there, reflecting on how they are feeling and experiencing it. This might be most useful if a variety of different employees complete ethnographies for the same space.