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Three mistakes to avoid before hiring an architect to design your workplace.

If you have problems maximizing turnover, fostering more meaningful interactions in your workplace or engaging millennials, the solution is in your workspace. More precisely, it is in designing workplaces that are in alignment with your goals and vision. After all, your workspace is where your employees spend most of their time and it has a tremendous influence on how they feel and perform. As much as your workplace can work against you, there is also an opportunity to make work for you.

When you have decided to set yourself and your colleagues up for success by optimising your workspace, the next thing is to select the right architect for you. 

Finding the right architect for your company can be difficult and overwhelming. In order to help you make the right decision, I share here the 3 common yet fatal mistakes that most companies make when selecting an architect:

Mistake #1: Choosing unchallenging architects.
The first mistake is to select unchallenging architects. By this I mean, architects who would take your ideas and translate them into a design for your company, without attempting to enrich them. While this may sound acceptable, it is a waste of an opportunity for you, as well as a waste of your resources. I believe it is the architect’s responsibility to help you create, enrich and sharpen your vision before rushing into creating an actual workplace design that will embody it. Creating a workplace is a very strategic opportunity and as an architect myself, I believe that your architect’s aim should be to help you not only enrich your ideas but indeed, offer you new ideas to present you with a range so that when you reach the final vision, it is not because it was the only thing you may have had in mind, but it is because you have explored enough directions to know this is your desired one. Creating the briefing for the project, understanding what the question is, and what it can be is as important as answering the question with a design; and too many architects rush to design before spending enough attention to your question as a client.  

Mistake #2: Choosing architects who consider only the physical aspects of your workplace.
The second fatal mistake clients make when selecting an architect is that they select architects who focus only on what the space is and its physical attributes, rather than what the space can do and create beyond itself. This is a very understandable mistake since most architects do not concern themselves with the space beyond form, square meters and functions. Architects are trained to deal with form, and so, they focus, design and deliver the form of a space, what it looks like, its sizes, proportions and functions. While this is all needed, it is a fatal mistake to only consider space in its physical aspects. I believe that your workplace can, and should help your employees have better interactions, better collaboration and indeed perform better work. In addition to creating the most beautiful and functional space in terms of physical attributes, I believe that your architect should aim to create a space that first, embodies your vision, values and business model and second, a space that proactively helps your employees live those values, and create the work and impact they are aiming for. Your workspace should not only house your activities, but indeed support them, enrich them, and trigger better interactions between employees. This will ensure that your new workplace design empowers your employees, supports your business model and serves your client better. All in all, I believe it is totally realistic to expect and demand from your workplace design to help accelerate and optimise your work and the impact you aim to make in this world. Your workplace can be designed to do exactly that. The problem is that not many architects know how to create a workplace that can foster the interactions needed for it. So when selecting an architect for your workplace, look for an architect that has a vision and experience around workplace interactions. 

Mistake #3: Choosing an architect who does not leave when construction is completed.
The third fatal mistake clients usually make when selecting an architect is that they select an architect who will end their involvement right at the end of construction. Again, this is a very understandable mistake since no architects – as far as we know – offer what I call an adapting phase. What I would recommend is that you select an architect that is accustomed to staying beyond the end of construction in order to on the one hand, help your employees settle in the new workplace and on the other hand to learn from their behaviour in order to improve the workplace when and where needed, and refine and fine-tune the details that make all the difference.  

In essence, when selecting an architect for your workplace design, whether it is to design and build your next headquarters, to help you renovate an existing building you have decided to move into or to simply help you optimise your current workplace, look for an architect that has a vision, a practical process and the ample experience of creating workplaces that foster better employee interactions and can help take your company to the next level. 

 

Are you interested in knowing more about what you can expect from your architect? Are you curious about what an architecture vision can be and how it can help you and your company innovate and succeed? Download here the book Architecting Interaction: How to Innovate Through Interactions and get to know the vision and process of AKKA Architects, and most importantly, how it can help you. 

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