Friday, March 30, 2012

Notable Workplace Trends

   The high performing workplace, like the complicated world we live, work and play in is isn’t necessarily simple to achieve.  Such a workplace reflects the need to soundly integrate work processes, physical settings and furniture along with technology in service to the overall business needs of the organization and its larger mission.  It’s also hard work and demands constant organizational engagement over time.
     Rather than talk about the workplace of the future, a term routinely used over the last forty years, we believe it’s important to focus on creating and cultivating workplaces which promote collaboration, innovation and a sense of entrepreneurship aligning with an organization’s mission, brand and values.
     The following trends are vital to consider in the coming years in the design of the enduring high performing workplace.   They are adapted from a number of sources as well as our own experience.
  1. Integrated workplace solutions:  Integration of architecture, interiors, operational processes, branding, information technology, furniture and office systems.  Bring a comprehensive and collaborative approach to the design challenge.
  2. Sustainability Action: More direct integration of sustainability concerns in workplace design, ongoing operations reinforces employee engagement and brand strength.  Also supports lower operational costs through energy efficiency, resource conservation.
  3. Branding & Storytelling: Tell the bigger story! Work to reflect organization wide core values, history and brand promise in physical design of your building, your work space, furniture, finish and color selection along with media and wall graphics.  Create a seamless experience from bricks and mortar to online.
  4. Motivation, Opportunity, Inclusiveness: It’s not about carrots and sticks, but motivating employee’s sense of purpose, desire for advancement and organizational engagement, all helping in attracting and retaining quality staff. Workplace design echoes and amplifies the strengths of a diverse workforce in reinforcing employee engagement.
  5. Collaboration: Adapt best practices in collaborative focused space planning, space design and use of technology to workstation design, meeting and teaming spaces appropriate to business needs.
  6. Mobility and Virtual Work: Workplaces support off site workers in alternative work settings, whether home, co-working spaces, telecommuting, collaborative telepresence.  Workplaces also support mobile workers by providing spaces for engagement such as hotel spaces, touchdown areas as well as use collaborative technology to connect while off site.  Address and non-address spaces will be come more prevalent.
  7. The Built Environment as a Driver of Employee Engagement: High quality high performance work environments attract, retain and engage employees and help organizations be more profitable, effective in getting work done.  Recognition employees account for the majority of business expenses and supporting them through well designed workplaces is critical obtaining best performance from employees base.
  8. Evidence & Research Based Space Design: Use best practices from applied research and learning informing space planning and organizational fit, furniture and equipment selection.  Become a learning organization dedicated to constant growth and improvement.
  9. Comprehensive Employee Health, Wellness Initiatives: Engage in vigorous and comprehensive programs benefiting the whole organization.  A healthy organization is a more effective organization. Design exterior and interior spaces with wellness in mind whether exercise paths, bike parking, showers and lockers, an internal wellness center or gym, a healthy kitchen and cafeteria with farm to table food choices, designing spaces with ample daylight, operable windows and central stairs to reduce elevator usage.  
  10. Workplace Flexibility: Includes both flexible hours and work policies, remote telework whether from home, alternative work settings.   Focus on performance rather than onsite all the time presence.  Organizational openness to changing technologies and adapting to evolving employee needs while getting work done.
     These ten or so principles on one hand are trends today but over the long haul we think make plain economic sense.  If you take care of your most important asset, your people while seeking to create a impassioned work community through a comprehensive integrated approach in facilities and ongoing operations we believe you will lay the foundation to future organizational success and longevity. 

Continually paying attention to them will help cultivate an enduring high performing workplace over the long term.

*Note: Post adapted from a blog post from Arocordis.

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