Introduction

As organisations look to the future, they are increasingly focussed on workplace strategy to improve their employer value proposition, provide better wellness and ultimately increase engagement from employees.

Delivering a new workplace is an opportunity to create a space that inspires employees and enhances business performance. An organisation’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of a modern workforce requires agility, innovative thinking and effective management.

In this white paper, we discuss the eight critical steps to successfully managing workplace projects and ensuring alignment with future business needs.

Step 1: Requirements & Planning

Whether you are engaging the professional services of interior architects, designers or contractors, it is critical to begin with a clear understanding of what is required from your new office. Staff capacity and future headcount, breakout areas, conferencing facilities, flexibility, energy efficiency, client zones and senior management areas are some of the more common considerations for businesses.

Key Points:

Workplace Strategy Study. It is becoming common for clients to undertake a workplace strategy study prior to embarking on a new office fit-out project. The workplace study will analyse your company’s existing working needs and culture through surveys and user analysis. The result is a succinct analysis of what components are required to deliver an engaged high functioning workforce.

Preparing the Project Brief. Once a workplace study has been completed a detailed project brief can be written which should include a comprehensive breakdown of all workplace requirements.

Step 2: Building Selection

Once the brief is agreed and indicative budgets have been set, the building selection process will commence. Often a real estate broker is appointed to undertake the building selection study, and in some Asia cities it is mandatory and regulated to use a “broker”.

The key is to focus on choosing a functional and efficient space that:

  • Meets your brief
  • Has favourable lease terms
  • Satisfies location and amenities requirements 
  • Allows flexibility for growth forecasts
  • Is technically suitable – power provision, air conditioning provision, IT provision, water supply and drainage
  • Is secure and safe
  • Is environmentally designed
  • Has good natural light

Step 3: Pre Qualification and Vendor Appointments

Pre-qualification is the process used to assess the capabilities and suitability of all the consultants, contractors and suppliers to deliver your project’s requirements. Through this process you will identify the best supply chain for your project and the companies most suited to your working style.

This process should help ensure that all administrative and delivery data about each bidding company is understood. Specifically, the information should include:

  • Financial standing and history
  • Local market capabilityManagement structure and staff strength
  • Quality management systems
  • Track record or similar projects over the past three to five years
  • Testimonials and awards
  • Current workload and ability to meet timelines

Step 4: Design

A great design will not only meet the project brief, but exceed it. It will be functional, align with the company’s brand identity, focus on staff wellness and collaboration and create a “buzz” amongst the company that lasts well beyond move day.

With the workplace strategy completed, the brief compiled, the building selected and the consultants on board, it is time to start the next phase of the project. The design phase needs to be highly collaborative not only with the end user organisation, but also with the other members of the project team and the landlord.

The key to successful design is seamless collaboration driven by the project manager and incorporating specialist consultants for specific areas such as M&E, IT, Audio Visual, Security, Lighting, Acoustic, Structural (such as staircases), Landscaping and Plants as well as quantity cost management (QS).

The design process will move through three key stages:

  1. Layout and concepts
  2. Scheme Design and Ceilings
  3. Full detailed Design showing all drawings and specifications.

Step 5: Procurement and Tender Process

With a full set of well-co-ordinated detailed design drawings and specification documents, it is time to procure the project.

By this stage the pre-qualification has been completed and a shortlist of vendors has been agreed. The tender documents will be issued to each vendor to submit their competitive “bids”. Each submission will be assessed based on pre agreed and weighted assessment criteria, including:

 

Step 6: Cost Control

Focusing on value can sometimes be more relevant than cost alone. Creating a property asset relies on professional experts providing clients with basic analysis of value and function and performance over the asset lifecycle.

This is particularly relevant in Asia where emerging markets do contain a lack of experience and track record which can result in expensive mistakes, which would nullify any potential “day one cost savings”.

Costing exercises develop from very practical to strategic through a project’s lifecycle. Managing cost is critical to the success
of all workplace projects.

Step 7: Delivery

"Build it and they will come” is a line made famous from the 1989 baseball movie “Field of Dreams".

Building great spaces that attract people (staff, customers, visitors, students and guests) is part of any project’s vision. The importance of the “build phase” of a project is obvious, however planning and co-ordinating all aspects requires experience, determination and strict controls at all times.

Step 8: Project Handover and "Go Live"

The most important and rewarding moment of the project! If all steps leading to this have been managed carefully and the team have done their job well, the completed space will be ready for testing and final preparations for ‘go live’.

It is now time to ‘close’ the project and handover to the operations team.
This involves commercial and contract wrap-ups, drawings and documentation checks and entering the ‘operations stage’ of the new property. At this point it is ‘over to you, the client!’

Conclusion

The benefits of successful project management extend far beyond functional cost savings and functional use of space.

The best modern offices are also committed to enabling greater success by improving productivity and wellbeing of the organisation’s most important asset, its people. The new “clients” are your own staff and creating the best possible working environment will pay dividends.

Merx interacts with agents, workplace strategy consultants, designers and suppliers throughout Asia to deliver innovative and inspiring spaces. By respecting cultural nuances and understanding the changing needs of a modern workforce, we can ensure that workplaces support the broader commercial aspirations of clients across Asia. 

For information on the services that Merx provides or to discuss your office requirements please contact:

WILLIAM FORWOOD_website 512 512

William Forwood

Group CEO
Paul Scroggie – Blog

Paul Scroggie

Director Hong Kong, Macau and PRC
Colin Clark Profile Photo 19

Colin Clark

Director Project Management Singapore and SEA