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14 October 2021 | by Ann Clarke
It’s a strange title for a blog we know, particularly when department stores are fast disappearing from the high street – but the concept of ‘everything in one place’ is increasingly influencing workplace design.
There are three main departments that all employees interact with regularly – IT, facilities and HR. The scenarios that might require conversations with these departments are varied. They might involve ordering and picking up new IT kit, resolving issues around meeting room accessibility or out of hours access, or discussing the wellbeing or career development needs of your team. In a world of hybrid working, these interactions all share one super power – they have the potential to bring employees into the office.
We talk regularly about the rebirth of the workplace and how it’s fast becoming a destination office – a place that is sought out for specific activities and experiences, rather than the home of everyday head-down working. The department store is one of the pivotal pieces of the destination office (there are seven others – discover them here) as it acts as a valuable resource hub, where IT, HR and Facilities Management services are based.
The pandemic brought IT, HR and facilities teams together on the same wave length. It united them in a common cause and required them to think more collegiately in order to solve organisations’ challenges. As a result they have become much more co-ordinated and able and willing to work together proactively – so it makes sense that they would coalesce in the workplace.
To make department store spaces successful, there are several key considerations – some are in relation to the etiquette of how they are used and an organisation’s culture, while others relate to office interior design. Department store spaces should be easy to access, welcoming and focused on encouraging collaboration. Importantly they should put the focus on providing a service – essentially recognising the employee as a customer and ensuring they get the support and resolution they’re looking for – in an efficient, friendly and on-brand way.
Department store spaces can be used as:
Most businesses adapted brilliantly to the pandemic and were able to switch to agile ways of working with a great degree of success. Now, as people are welcomed back into the workplace, it is important to ensure these spaces are fit for purpose and suit the new behaviours, want and needs we’ve acquired. The answer lies in offering variety and curating the most positive employee experiences possible. Treat your people like your customers. That’s why every office needs a department store – it’s time to ask your employees ‘are you being served?’.
To discover how a department store could benefit your business and the other seven key spaces that make up the destination office – download our whitepaper entitled The Phoenix Effect here.
Director of Future Workplace
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