Who is the Workplace Client?
As designers and project team members, we must know our client. It is that simple. This knowledge and familiarity can help shape the perfect work space to fit the client’s brand, culture and mission.
At the beginning of every project we ask and define, “who is the client?” No, it’s not simply the name of the CEO or the name of the firm. It is everyone and anyone who will utilize the space we are designing, and fully understanding this client is the key to a successful workplace project.
Our client may be someone who wants to operate sustainably, wants flexibility for a growing workforce, or wants each employee to receive natural daylight. Our client could be someone who doesn’t want technology to define where she works. Our client also could be someone who wants to provide amenities to retain and retract a specific type of person, and to create spaces to foster innovation and creativity.
DLR Group’s workplace design teams follow a process to get to know our clients. At the project kickoff, when key client members are present, we ask each person to shout out their desires for the new space and any known parameters, like schedule, budget, seat capacity, etc. We record these thoughts and use them to start a dialogue to define the project’s Vision, Goals, and Imperatives (VGIs.) After thoroughly vetting and refining the VGIs, we create a document that guides key decisions throughout the project. This process helps us understand the true purpose of the project, and metrics the client will use to measure success.
I have led or participated in many large corporate workplace projects, including United Launch Alliance, United Services Automobile Association, and multiple Boeing facilities. In my experience, a successful project is the result of truly knowing our client. If we follow our proven process, the client embraces the VGIs, the design solution becomes an environment that the client is ecstatic about, and the design team is proud for creating it.