"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship", says Rick as they walk away into the fog…
This emblematic phrase from Casablanca sums it up. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to apply work environment methodology into practice. It all started as a spring-cleaning task and became a practical exercise to evaluate the space, to ask users about their experience and suggest new layouts based on easy to implement solutions using the same furniture.
At the beginning, suggesting to do more than the anticipated season cleaning was received with hesitation. After a year of uncertainty, it is understandable that further investment might be perceived with skepticism by office owners and office managers who, rightly so, question further spending into current office spaces. The argument was supported by my recurrent slogan “small changes go a long way”, and I emphasized that before doing any purchases or breaking any walls, it is always important to listen to what the users have to say about their experience, observe their interactions and take it from there. Clearly, the timing was not ideal as we were just about to end the third lockdown in a year. This suggestion could have easily fallen into deaf ears, but I was lucky to be talking to Marion Majou, founder of Entrelac Coworking. I met Marion a couple of years ago when I settled my studio in France and was looking for a coworking space close to home. Always welcoming, Marion is engaged with the community and open to new ideas.
A few days passed after we spoke, and it just happened that when asked, coworker had in fact many opinions to share about the space. It came as a surprise that some coworkers were very passionate about their views, and it became clear to Marion and her administrative team that people wanted to be heard, that Entrelac is a cool place to work and that maybe small changes could actually help improve the place.
Together, we implemented a strategy, starting with the easiest changes and postponing purchases and fixed installations for after the trial. I provided some tools to facilitate the understanding of the physical space and Marion and Camille engaged with the members to learn more about their work environment preferences. We then compared notes and decided a plan of attack. The day of the spring cleaning, the members that volunteered helped to move the furniture around and felt like an episode of Friends as we all just wanted a spot in the sofa at the end of exercise. (I suggest watching the Entrelac Instagram for this video) It was fun, a real team effort for the benefit of all.
The result is great, and Marion and I have decided to keep on collaborating, offering this service to other workspaces in need of fast results from some small, yet smart, changes. Office improvements do not have to be expensive or definitive. Think about your work environment as a sand box that adapts to your circumstances.
Do you want to take the first step? Let us know! We would be happy to help.