Flexibility and Inclusivity is Paramount
Technology, demographics, and worker mindsets are drastically changing how we work. A recent article in the Philadelphia Business Journal entitled A Space That Works For You, emphasized the importance of workspace that maximizes flexibility while fundamentally adapting to your unique company culture. To make your company stand out in a crowded marketplace vying for top talent, giving your employees options that fit their lifestyle and workstyle can set you apart.
Matching the look and feel of your space to your culture is essential. Gone are the days of hierarchical design with private offices on the outside and cubicles in the center. Companies are now involving their work force in the office design process. This creates a more inclusive environment where management can better understand employees’ spatial needs and preferences, eliminating top-down methods of the past. Through a democratic design process, a company can echo their core values in the physical office space, demonstrating that the wellbeing of their workforce is a priority and allowing employees to feel heard and valued.
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s article, employees spend a maximum of 35 percent of their time at their desk. Instead passing the majority of their time in meetings, conference rooms, chatting with colleagues, hanging out in the cafeteria, or otherwise away from their desk.
Therefore it is key for a modern office to have multiple types of workspaces to cater to formal meetings, impromptu touch-bases, and everything in between. Amenities have become extensions of the work environment. Cafés, restaurants, mini kitchens, courtyards, outdoor patios, stairwells, and fitness centers, should be re-envisioned as workspaces. Collaborative, social, and individual work spaces should all provide inspiration to foster productivity and provide flexibility.
The demand for flexibility in modern offices doesn’t stop at considering the physical design of your office. The same technology that allows workers to engage in a spur-of-the-moment meeting in a courtyard, also enables them to work from home. Flexibility is translated into workplace polices which can include work from home capabilities, vacation, telecommuting, or a 10 minute grace period when employees check into work. With technology, this added degree of flexibility is a very real option to keep your employees engaged.
Ultimately, employers must open a dialogue with their employees to understand what is most important to them. This type of communication ensures that employees are happy in their work. Facilitated by changing demographics, the majority of employees are desiring a level of flexibility that technology has made possible. This translates into where and how people are working. Curating an environment where people want to work is key.