Studio Brunstrum
Studio Brunstrum office space

Leveraging the Power of Office Space

September 12, 2019

You spend 1/3 of your life at work! The job that you choose and the office environment you surround yourself with (and help create) can have an overwhelming impact on your physical and mental well-being. Read some tips from the expert that I collected during a presentation through the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

I spent an early morning with Jan Kostner, VP Marketing of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and her team while at Colliers International for a presentation by Jim Carris, Kate North, Jim Devine of Corix Group and Katie Grinberg of Narrative Science on “Leveraging the Power of Place- How to Create a Dynamic Workplace Experience.”

Did you know the average person in the U.S. will spend about 1/3 of their time (or over 90,000 hours) at work throughout their lifetime? So, it is safe to say where you work and the job you do can have a huge impact on the quality of your life. I was particularly interested in the subject as Studio Brunstrum just designed and moved into our new workspace this Spring! This presentation left me speechless – introducing me to new concepts I hadn’t considered when evaluating and designing our office space.

While instinctively, I knew our new work “home” would be beneficial for team interaction, focus and productivity, my creativity and our client engagement and interaction, I underestimated the following:

1. The recruiting power of our work environment (for all 5 generations currently in the workforce).
• What message is our office conveying?
• Could a potential new hire make an impact and be part of our “community”?
• Is our workspace orderly or messy? Are work processes and procedures in place? Is there evidence of that?
• Is there an open-or-closed door policy amongst the team?

2. The power of employee well-being and engagement.
• Does our workplace align with and reflect our Studio Brunstrum brand culture and DNA?
• Do we inspire others?
• Do we have spaces for a variety of activities?
• Is there flexibility of function in our workspace?
• Is our office a place for authentic interactions to happen?
• Are we supporting collaboration, connectivity and restoration?
• Are there places to focus, recharge, and learn?
• Do we have ample natural light? Access to nature? A stocked kitchen to promote health and wellness? Amenities? Daily or occasional breakfast or lunch provided by the company?

3. The power of an intentional client experience.
• Again, does our workplace align with and reflect our Studio Brunstrum DNA and brand culture?
• Have we experienced being a client in our own office? (This is a bit like being a guest in your own guest bedroom). How is a client greeted? Is the whole team introduced? Do we give a client a tour of the space? Do we ask if a client would like a beverage or snack? Do we give a client a complimentary Studio Brunstrum designed gift to take home with them? Is the paperwork we provide during a presentation too much or too little? Is the presentation supported with the perfect amount of technology? Is there collaboration and continuity during the presentation?
• Does it support problem solving so we can seek the best solutions for clients?
• Is it inviting? Like our home environments, when you step inside do you feel welcomed? Will we help you make your house your home?
• Is it wholistic in approach? Do you feel both safe and inspired? Is there a sense of non-perfection? More of a sense of authenticity? Is there a sense of pride in the space and the team?
• Are there unexpected elements that make you look around feel inspired?
• Is it cultivated? Does it support your decision that this firm is the right fit for you and your family?

office kitchen counter with barstools and logo wall

Although the presentation was all about the workspace experience and how to create what is needed for your clients, existing team and potential staff, much of what was discussed is relevant to your home as well. Especially considering, if we are at work for 1/3 of our life, we are likely to spend the other 2/3 of our life either at home, travelling or pursuing various activities. As the lines between home and work continue to blur, this presentation has challenged me to ask a few additional questions about every home/client we work with.

What type of home experience is important to you? Ask yourself the following:
1. Do you have flexibility of function in your home?
2. Do you have spaces for a variety of activities?
3. Does your home inspire you and others?
4. Do authentic interactions happen in your home? Is it engaging?
5. Are you supporting collaboration, connectivity and restoration in your home?
6. Are there places to focus, recharge, and learn?
7. Does your home have ample natural light? Good air quality? Lots of windows? Access to nature?
8. Does it help promote your health and wellness?

private office with desk and custom rug

Open your eyes and take a good look around your home. Are you proud of it? You should be if it reflects you and your lifestyle.

The goal should be pretty simple… love your workspace and your home space!

Susan Brunstrum
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