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Thriving in isolation

There is no sugar coating the fact that social isolation is tough. For a country with a rich history of mateship, we are accustomed to our personal displays of affection and sharing our time socially throughout our communities.
This is no different in our workplaces. We live for the tales of our weekend escapades, sharing what we are all binging on Netflix or simply admiring the culinary skills of a colleague as the smell of their leftovers wafts over the office at lunchtime. The office is our second home.

Globally, the last few months have been a challenge we could have never predicted. Our worlds have been turned up-side-down and inside out. A quick glance of the news each night is enough to unsettle the strongest mind. This challenge is real, and it is testing us all.

I was speaking with a close friend of mine the other day and we were discussing how each of us was handling our ‘iso hours’ as we have nicknamed them.  As our discussion passed about the virus and onto our own emotions we both noticed a profound feeling of gratitude.

My friend runs a small business and is by definition, a ‘workaholic’. Spending long hours away from his young family and putting on hold the relationships in his life to achieve his own business goals and to provide for his family.

This is a common story echoed by many Australians. Over time, we have forgotten what is most important to us all – connection. Connection to our families, our physical being as well as our mental toughness.
Whilst the mortality rate of the coronavirus may only disproportionately affect older Australians, we must all do our best to keep our immunity at it’s highest levels to fight off the chance of infection. Again, we must all do our own part.

For some, it can hard to conjure motivation to stay fit and active in their own homes. The temptation of ambling across the hallway to the kitchen cupboard for snacks at all times of the day is part of their daily isolation struggles. For others, it could be that they are accustomed to their group fitness classes and the enjoyment of slogging it out with their mates. The challenge just isn’t there to keep the spark alight.
Research has shown that social isolation could have far greater health impacts on our communities than the virus itself. Remaining connected is the greatest challenge for us all.

Over the next few months, I will be sharing our ideas with you on how both you and your workplace can adopt our ‘Thriving in isolation’ strategy to help continue to build a strong workplace culture away from the office. With advice on setting up workplace challenges, goal setting and how simple changes to your environment can help you thrive in isolation.

Out first tip is our weekly challenge that the Formline team has brainstormed to keep our bodies and our mind firing on all cylinders.

How does it work?

Take a look at our breakdown video below for a simple points guide to fire up the competitive nature in your office.

We are using our project management tool – ClickUp to keep track of our scores, with final tallies calculated each week to reveal our winner each week. ClickUp is a brilliant cloud-based management tool that has been invaluable to our business, allowing us to develop, plan, track and analyse our performance across our departments.

Keep your eyes posted to our blog and our social channels for more tips and tricks on how you can ‘Thrive in isolation’.

We would love to see your business take up our challenge so don’t forget to share your results on Linkedin.

Stay safe everyone and look after each other.



How to maximise the ROI on your office fitout

Ok, so we all agree it’s time to update the office environment. The ideas board is overloaded with fantastic concepts & exciting drawings. But how do we win management buy-in to prove that there will be a substantial return on investment (ROI) in fulfilling this costly & disruptive project?

Well firstly, we need to establish what workplace ROI is.

Put simply, it’s a measure of how our physical office space impacts the profitability of the company. In today’s world, our offices are investments. Instead of the office being just a place where people work, it can be transformed into a powerful business tool by investing money into the correct redesign.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a simple checklist for you to come up with your own solid business case that measures your workplace ROI.


FIRST ASK: How will your office redesign affect the bottom line?
THEN WORK OUT: Space & operations costs

The number of employers offering flexible working patterns such as the ability to work remotely is growing, potentially meaning that your office space is rarely being used at its maximum capacity. In this case you’re likely under-utilising valuable space which could be re-purposed into an area which adds value to your organisation. Alternatively, an office relocation is certainly an option especially if your lease is close to expiring and you’ve outgrown or are under-utilising your current space. The best way to calculate how much you could save in terms of space is by asking:

  • What percentage of your workstations are currently not being utilised and how much space does this equate to?
  • What is the average cost per workstation in terms of equipment, heating, lighting, cleaning and security?
  • How much would your new office design save in terms of utilities, equipment and maintenance for each workstation?


FIRST ASK: How does your office redesign have a positive effect on revenue?
THEN WORK OUT: Your employees are the company’s biggest expense, so even small improvements on their comfort and productivity can have a marked effect on the redesign’s ROI. Take note of:

  • Employee Turnover
    The cost of replacing an employee can range from 30% of their annual salary for an entry level employee and up to 400% of a high-level employee’s salary, therefore meaning a high churn rate will be detrimental to your company’s bottom line. Investing in a good office redesign can reduce this, as 48% of employees consider their current office design to have a major impact on whether they stay working for a company.
  • Productivity
    Office design can impact productivity both positively and negatively as 2 in 3 office workers say their inadequate office space has an adverse effect on their performance at work. 72% of employees working for companies with modern work spaces say their inspiring office design meets their needs and subsequently enhances their productivity. The best office designs will include a variety of spaces for different working styles, such as spaces for spontaneous collaboration but also spaces where employees can work in peace & quiet.
  • Employee Wellbeing
    Prioritising wellbeing as a key factor in any office design can lead to substantial benefits. Modern offices which include plenty of greenery have reported a 30% decrease in sickness related absences as well as an increase in cognition and sleep quality. Offices with adequate ventilation, lighting and temperature can positively impact employee wellbeing and subsequently may increase productivity. Poor air quality and a lack of thermal comfort can each reduce productivity by 10% meaning any redesign should pay careful attention to these important elements.
  • Sustainability
    The use of sustainable building materials and technology such as LED lighting could be costly in the short term, however the future return on investment may be huge. Research shows that sustainable office design can potentially reduce annual energy costs by 30 – 50%. Cost savings aren’t the only reason companies are adopting the latest sustainable innovations as companies use sustainable office design to change their company and their culture, allowing you to attract and retain the right employees for your business.


FIRST ASK: How does your office redesign reflect the way your company works?
THEN WORK OUT: A design that works for others may not work for you. In order to improve function and flow of the entire workplace and provide employees with a redesign that will work best for them, it is important to use evidence-based design. This means that, rather than creating a design based on assumptions, and forcing employees to adapt to their new surroundings, you instead configure the design based on the culture of your organisation and the ways in which your employees prefer to work. For example, an open-plan layout might save space and increase collaboration – but it may not necessarily be the best arrangement for your sales team if they spend most of their time on the phone, especially if other departments are located close by. Evidence-based design can help ensure you get maximum ROI from your workplace redesign, ensuring it is tailor-made to deliver happier employees and greater profits.

The best office design companies work to understand your business needs, designing spaces which accurately reflect your organisational culture whilst taking into account the everyday needs of your business. At Formline Group, we ensure your office redesign can achieve the greatest return on your investment, through enhancing employee wellbeing, retention and reducing operational costs, delivering the most inspirational workplaces.

Determining workplace ROI is a powerful way to gain new perspectives on your professional space. It will help provide insights that can guide major decisions about renovation, relocation or expansion.

It can also help shed light on little changes that have a big impact.

Once you start asking questions and collecting data, you’ll find all sorts of ways to remove obstacles to productivity. You’ll plug leaks and smooth edges and silence distractions. You’ll boost morale, increase engagement and build culture. And most importantly, you’ll knock down the barriers that keep good people from doing great work!



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