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How workspace design attracts talent and delivers business outcomes

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By Abhilash Raghavan, CFO & Head of Workspace, ANSR

Increasingly, companies see Global Capability Centers (GCCs) as an attractive source of
cutting-edge talent and are using them to support their tech transformation agenda. That
view means companies face several new challenges including how to attract top talent; how
to replicate their corporate culture in the new space; and, perhaps above all, how to achieve
a compelling return on their investment.

In the wake of the unprecedented global pandemic, the world witnessed a transformative
shift in the way we work. The COVID-19 crisis expedited an evolution in workspace design
that would have otherwise taken decades to unfold. Remote work rapidly became the norm,
enabling professionals to carry out their duties from the comfort of their homes, blurring
the lines between personal and professional life.

Now, as the world has embraced the & new normal, organisations are making strategic moves to entice talent back into physical office spaces, recognising that a harmonious blend of remote work and in-office collaboration holds the key to unlocking unparalleled productivity and innovation.

Gone are the days of fixed cubicles, assigned seating, and rigid hierarchical structures. The
most productive offices today are centered around concern for overall human well-being,
flexibility, and interconnectedness. The concurrent rise of ‘hybrid’ home/office working
schedules due to COVID-19 has further blurred the distinction between physical and digital
work, requiring a complete rethink of workspace design. Many innovative companies
already have plans in place to redesign their offices to support new ways of working.

As companies evaluate their workspace strategy, they should accept that purely utilitarian
workspaces are no longer relevant. That is why GCCs should be designated as innovation
hubs, and focus on enhancing employee engagement, elevating the output over remote
work, and attracting the best talent irrespective of location.

The ingredients of compelling workspace design
The approach to GCC workspaces places a strong emphasis on manifesting the client’s
overarching corporate culture in the workspace design, positioning companies to attract top
talent with transformational digital skills. At the same time, these workspaces are also
designed to help companies achieve their innovation, business transformation, and financial goals.

Attracting global talent: GCCs have to integrate the local culture with the culture of the
company’s headquarters. As the main avenue for employees to experience the company’s
brand, GCCs leverage the workspace to replicate the experience of the company’s frontline
operations. For instance, the Bangalore GCC of a top airline industry designed its GCC with
branding elements from various aspects of their operations ranging from their first class
lounges to their ground operations. Another client designed its GCC workspace to mimic
the experience of working in a retail store environment.

Creating an exceptional work environment offers added benefits in the era of hybrid work,
especially as organisations might find themselves faced with the challenge of persuading
employees to come to the office. When designing their GCC workspaces, companies must
ask themselves: What can an employee achieve in the office that they can’t while working

Typically, the answer boils down to the opportunity to socialise and collaborate, factors that
are also critical to the success of companies' innovation and business transformation goals.

Furthermore, beyond fostering productivity, physical workspaces play a pivotal role in
cultivating brand affinity and enriching the cultural experience for employees. The office
environment becomes more than just a place to work; it becomes a tangible representation
of an organisation’s values, identity, and shared vision, serving as a powerful catalyst for driving employee engagement and loyalty.

Supporting innovation and business transformation: Modern GCC workspace designs
prioritise flexibility, collaboration, and well-being above other attributes, to enhance creative thinking. For example, open floor plans with mobile workstations and in-office cafeterias that encourage employee interactions replace linear desks and walled working areas that section people off into rigidly defined groups. More “jump spaces” for adhoc conversations are also incorporated in the GCC’s overall design.

Multi-purpose work settings are also becoming the norm: spaces that transform into social
hubs for townhalls events; flex cabins that can accommodate small meetings; and work
cafes that are used for break-out, collaboration, and focus work.

Giving employees the right environment to perform intellectually intensive work also means offering a degree of personalisation. This includes subtle interventions such as the ability to control the temperature and light settings when in meeting rooms, the ability to work across multiple work settings, or the use of height-adjustable workstations to meet individual preferences.

Meeting productivity and financial goals: While GCC design increasingly focuses around the
way work is performed in the digital economy, GCCs also need to address the fundamental
operating principles of all for-profit businesses: productivity and ROI. Thoughtful design of
day-to-day functional workspaces remains important to maximise productivity. To that end,
companies need to incorporate a more holistic understanding of employee experience in
their GCC workspace’s design by placing health and wellness at the center of design

Organisations are leveraging technology to monitor space utilisation, validate design
hypotheses behind specific configurations, and ensuring spaces serve their intended

With the emergence of hybrid work and the adoption of no assigned desk policies,
organisations prioritise optimising space utilisation. That means modular layouts are
preferred so spaces can be easily reconfigured as the business scales or the company’s
needs change.

In the past, companies hesitated to invest in their GCCs because of the significant upfront
capital investments required. However, new solutions that help them sidestep that
challenge exist today. Subscription-based models are available today, which remove the
financial risk for companies and offer a more attractive option to set up global teams, as
companies can now take ownership of its GCC without worrying about the cost or upfront
capital and risks.

Salary is no longer king for top talent
In this new world of human-centered work environments, financial rewards are now only
one piece of the puzzle when it comes to attracting – and retaining – top talent. The role of
the office now goes beyond physical infrastructure and caters to every component of the
employee value proposition, impacting employee retention, productivity, and ROI.

Tailor-made GCC workspaces, designed by on-the-ground experts who understand cutting-
edge workspace trends can provide the environment required to attract top talent, and
nurture and sustain the innovation and productivity required of the world’s leading

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