The office workspace has seen constant revolution ever since the 1950s. Corporates have been redefining their workplace layouts in pursuit of enhanced employee productivity.
The 1950s were characterized by open office layouts, while the 1960s saw the emergence of private employee cubicles. Ergonomic layouts became common in the 1970s to offer comfortable spaces for employees. Then came the glass windows and concrete walls in the 1980s when corporates embraced more professional-looking spaces.
In the 1990s, we saw more open-plan offices that were meant to encourage more employee interaction. Then came the co-working spaces in the 2000s for people to collaborate even if they were not from the same company. Corporates began embracing remote workspaces in the 2010s, which meant that employees were allowed to work remotely.
From 2019 going forward, corporate office workspace are wellness-centered as employee well-being and health becomes the focus.
Today, big companies like Google, Amazon, General Motors, Armour and Away all invest heavily in their employee experience.
So, what are the steps companies are taking to improve their employee work experience? Read on.
Suggested Read: Experience success and comfort with our managed office spaces
Re configuring Office Design and Layout
Various researches and studies have established that workspace design has a huge impact on employee productivity. A Harvard Study put the final nail on the coffin for the open-plan offices as it found that open layouts make employees less collaborative.
By choosing just the right design and layout for your office, you will enable fresh and creative ideas to flourish. Employees will be empowered to realize these ideas and collaborate to actualize these ideas. This will ensure that the employees will have positive work experience.
Companies can consider the following while in this stage;
- Biophilic Design (Greener in every sense) – Humans’ disconnect from nature is apparent now more than ever before. Urbanization and technology give us fewer opportunities to recover our physical and mental energy. We find ourselves on our laptops, tablets, and phones even when we shouldn’t be working. Biophilia is an innate tendency that humans possess to seek a connection with nature and other forms of life. It allows companies to create green office workspace for the employees. Environmental friendly designs, such as a plant in a pot, can create health and well-being benefits as well as increase productivity.
- Quiet areas to boost concentration– It has for long been established that one of the employees’ top priority is an area for focus. One where they can put their heads down with minimal or no distractions.
- Have various spaces that will boost creativity and collaboration– It is important to offer a range of spaces to choose from where the employees can work. Have meeting spaces of various sizes with reconfigurable furniture. This will help serve many uses. You can also include in-house cafes, lounge areas with a variety of seating options, or even “cellphone free” areas. All these contribute to a richer workplace where creativity and collaboration thrive. The employees become more satisfied and connected to the company.
- Create spaces where employees meet randomly– Groundbreaking concepts are not always birthed in planned meetings. Sometimes great ideas come from chance encounters. Companies can capitalize on this and create areas where the employees naturally intersect. This will boost innovation as well as remarkable conversations that were unforeseen.
- Embrace the value of “un-focus” spaces– Companies need to understand that even the most productive and efficient employees need to relax and unwind. Top-rated companies allow their employees to have productive breaks where they recharge. These employees display a high level of productivity and satisfaction.
Also Read: Recent spurt managed office spaces
Incorporating More Flexible Hours
Over a few years, it has been established that flexible working hours benefit everyone in the company. This is backed by research.
Your employees will be happier because this allows them to work when it is most suitable for them. They work when they are productive, instead of being tied to the traditional office hours. Let’s look at an example. Assume you have an employee in your company called Mark. Mark is more of a night owl than a morning guy. Getting up early and having him do tasks in the morning is always nerve-wracking. Would you rather have him come to the office in the morning or afternoon hours when he’s more productive?
Flexible working hours allow the employees to work when they’re most productive. This means more benefits for the company. It can steer towards its goals, be it financial targets, or maybe more sales. The staff gets their work done faster and better than they did before.
If you make someone who is productive in the morning to work at night, your company will fail to hit targets and suffer losses. The employees are also a lot less happy.
Advancement in Technology
As we have already seen, the office workspace is changing constantly. To ensure that employers also reap the benefits that come as a result of the redefined office workspace, they need to make sure their technology keeps up with the demand.
One significant way that this can be done is by providing employees with laptops instead of static desktops. This way, employees will not have any difficulties when they have to move to attend meetings in other departments. They are also able to carry work home in case they need to work remotely the next day.
Also, employers need to provide their employees with VPN Access Keys. This will enable them to access company documents while on a different network. Remember how companies are enabling employees to work remotely? This means that they will be able to get the documents regardless of whether they are in the office, at a coffee shop or home.
Improve Company Ideologies
The perception of brands is bigger now than before. People now aren’t just buying into products and services that suit their needs. Instead, they are constantly seeking brands that they openly support.
This is more evident not just in personal lives, but also in careers. It applies to future employees too. Job seekers are starting to seek opportunities in companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.
Companies are growing and that’s not only functionally. This also refers to the rise of a more humane approach. Nowadays, branding is people-oriented. You will notice that strong brands are not merely supported by the employees. Rather, the brands are the employees.
Companies Redefining Workspaces
We now have a better understanding of factors that companies should consider when redefining office experience. Now let us look at companies that you can borrow a leaf from.
Premier tech companies are today gaining popularity, while also setting the bar high, for their unique office culture and workplace perks that set them apart from their competitors. Which are these companies?
For a long time, Google has been one of the most coveted companies to work for in the tech world. This is not only due to their status, but also office design and work perks. The Googleplex in Mountain View, California, includes tight network security. This goes far to cement the company’s place at the forefront of the tech space. That is not all. The company considers its employees massively. It includes facilities such as a 24/7 gym, massage rooms, sports areas, an on-site doctor, dry-cleaning facilities and kitchens too.
The Apple Park in Cupertino, California, famously known as “Spaceship”, is one of the eco-friendliest tech office workspace worldwide. The space has native trees, gardens, fields and a dozen nature spots, including meadows and ponds. It also includes a gym where employees can work out. The icing on the cake? Everything is powered by renewable energy.
At Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, they too embrace modern outdoor architecture. The offices consist of a lot of outdoor meeting rooms and open spaces that are integrated with nature. They have also taken up hip culture with murals and art pieces installed around the offices. Lounges and relaxation corners are available for employees when they wish to take work breaks.
At Airbnb, employees get together daily for a company-wide lunch. It is prepared and served by a professional chef. SC Johnson provides concierge services for its employees so that they can run errands while at work.
Cisco goes even a step further and provides its employees with the technology they need to run their services at home. They are availed with data and voice services to be able to maintain a work/life balance.
We can all agree that there is a seismic shift in the work environment. Companies and employers, in general, are no longer emphasizing the amount of time employees are spending behind desks, instead, they are looking for ways to enhance their productivity and well-being.
The workplace technology is also advancing in a bid to catch up with the trend. There is a need for new hardware, software and security technologies to keep up with the rate of change being experienced in the workplace. However, embracing this technology doesn’t mean completely overhauling your business. You can improve the technology as well as your employee productivity. Let the cases above guide you on how to achieve this.
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