Office space can optimize the impact of non-profits: Colliers

Office space can be a lever for impact and increased organizational capacity, according to a new Not-for-Profit Office Trends Survey completed by Colliers International’s Not-for-Profit Advisory Group.

“Non-profits are perpetually trying to maximize the return on finite resources while delivering on their purpose,” says Matthew Johnson, vice president & Co-Chair of Colliers International Not-for-Profit Advisory Group. “As a result, they should utilize any advantage possible to increase their impact and capacity. Office space is typically an overlooked resource that may have a direct impact on successfully achieving this objective.”

The Colliers International Not-for-Profit Office Trend Report identifies Access, Identity, and Collaboration as the three space factors non-profits need to consider in their pursuit of maximizing capacity and optimizing impact.

Out of 11 potential options, Access to public transit was identified as easily the most important factor by 42 per cent of the non-profits surveyed in choosing office space. A five minute walk to public transit was highly preferred and offers a tangible return on investment in both increasing work capacity and attracting and retaining employees.

“Identity and the ability to use space to espouse an organization’s identity was not on non-profits radar. Non-profits ranked identity eighth out of a choice of 10 building attributes. “Space promotes your image,” adds Johnson. “Office space plays a critical role in telling the story of a non-profit organization and its cause. Common words used to describe their desired office space were ‘efficient’, ‘modest’, ‘professional’, ‘warm’, ‘inviting’, and ‘welcoming’. These adjectives illustrate the need for non-profits to diligently review if their space is proving their desired first and lasting impression.”

The Not-for-Profit Office Trend Report showed that 66 per cent of non-profits desired more collaborative work spaces vs. just 26 per cent desiring an open work area. Collaborative work space can be identified as informal meeting areas and kitchens where employees can easily gather to prompt discussions and exchange ideas. These open, collaborative meeting areas result in functional, flexible and productive space.

 “Clearly, Access, Identity and Collaboration are three key factors non-profits should consider closely when choosing and re-designing office space,” says Peter Davies, vice president & Co-Chair of Colliers International Not-for-Profit Advisory Group. “Office space for non-profits is more than just a workplace, it can be a catalyst for impact and promote an organization’s identity and purpose. This can result in a greater ability to foster productivity, promote knowledge transfer, attract and retain employees and most importantly for not-for-profits, enhance access to potential funding in order to enhance their mission.”

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