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Why You Should Consider Rearranging Your Workplace

Posted on 10/08/2014

by Pauline Caruana

Last week at Customised Training, we took some time out of our usual daily activities to rearrange our office space to align it with our current team structure.  Of course, there was the option to leave the office the way it was, it would have saved quite a few hours of work which include the planning, discussing, de-cluttering, and moving of furniture and computers.   These are five reasons why we decided the time was worthwhile and why you may want to consider doing the same thing in your workplace, no matter whether your workplace is an office or a different type of space:

Technology changes workspace requirements

We found a few fossils of the technological kind whilst clearing out our office.  There were some clunky old desktop inkjet printers – our managers used to each have one on their desks so that they could print confidential documents.  Our main copiers now have a secure printing function so the desktop printers.  Another fossil is the previous cutting edge innovation of a letter folding and envelope stuffing machine.  We used to be so proud of this piece of equipment and used it to help with regular paper mail-outs.  These days we tend to email rather post out by snail mail.  So as the way technology is used in a workplace changes, the furniture and layout needs to, both in individual workspaces and the overall workplace.

What worked once doesn’t work forever

Job roles change over time – I’m always amazed when I review my employee’s position descriptions with them at their annual review that their jobs can evolve in such  short space of time so that they bear little resemblance to where they were a year earlier.  Multiply this evolution by the number of employees and the number of teams and the need for an office or workplace rearrangement becomes more obvious.  People need to be able to work in ways and spaces and with people in a way that currently works for them.

It increases productivity

One of the principles of Kaizen (the continuous improvement model originated in Japan) is known as 5S and it describes the 5 steps to physical workplace organisation that are:

Sort (Seiri)

Straighten (Seiton)

Shine (Seiso)

Standardise (Seiketsu)

Sustain (Shitsuke)

This blog is not the place for an in-depth analysis of this philosophy however to summarise, the workplace needs to be freed from unnecessary clutter, streamlined, cleaned and kept that way.  This demonstrates  that we respect the workplace.  Productivity is enhanced as we work in a workplace of which we are proud and our energy is not sapped or our workflow hindered by being surrounded by clutter and disorganisation. 

It’s a great team activity

There’s nothing like doing something different, physical and project-based to bring out good teamwork.  Rearranging a workspace fits these criteria and people are able to work alongside each other and get to know each other in a different way – to do something like this involves cooperation, organisation and negotiation which are skills that then have a positive flow on effect to everyday activities.

It is fun and creative

Although rearranging a workplace can involve a lot of physical and mental hard work, it is actually a lot of fun too.  You will see people’s (sometimes hidden) creative talents come to the fore in visualising new arrangements and drawing up new floor layouts.   Generating new ideas is creative and working together to achieve something fantastic for the workplace is fun!

Have you rearranged your workplace recently?  Are you thinking about it?  It would be great to hear your experiences and ideas…you can also see pictures of our office rearrangement on our Facebook page.

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