The Future of the Workplace

07/11/2018

Yesterday one of our Principle Consultants and Head of L&D Nicola Adcock, joined an HR panel discussing the future of the workplace and its impact on human behaviour. We have been working with clients to help them shape the workplace of tomorrow in order to realise the full potential of their workforce.

Three critical areas were discussed:

1. The changing world of work and its impact on employees

2. How to create powerful employee experiences through work spaces

3. What's the interface between real estate and HR

The world of work is going through a structural shift: with technology and digitalisation creating what were once unimaginable opportunities, the average working age increasing year on year and automation and AI threatening 50% of existing jobs. It is organisations' duty to transform their workplaces to match these changes. From installing meditation rooms and sleep pods, to embracing flexible working, organisations have taken different approaches to try and entice the changing workforce and retain their talent.

Impact on employees

As the digital world develops so too does the world of work. Technology is opening a door to an expanse of new working styles. Remote working is becoming not only accessible but even preferred, with a study by a UK bank, HSBC, claiming that 9/10 employees find remote working the most effective way to boost their productivity.  Additionally, this has brought about changes in the physical requirements of workspaces, where the increase in flexible working has led to organisations implementing open-plan offices or hot-desking. Research suggest that this is a crucial transformation from the Henry Ford "production line" style office and that mixing all levels of seniority on the office floor leads to increased trust and often productivity.

However, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work here. Considering the variety of generations and working styles in most offices, how the workforce develops has to be dependent on the preferences of the employees who work there.

Creating employee experiences through workspaces

There is the growing realisation that workspaces affect the way that employees engage with their organisation. And with a generation of those who would prioritise work-life balance over skill development or compensation, it is important that employee experiences are on the forefront of HR practitioners.

A place of work is no longer a transactional prison but should instead embody an organisation's culture. Even changing the physical design of the workplace can impact the employee experience, with studies showing that empowered environments (those with bright colours and more up-to-date appliances) improve productivity by 30% when compared to lean environments. Many organisations have taken this a step further, with companies such as Airbnb including meditation rooms, libraries and even beer on tap. Microsoft have even created two tree-house meeting rooms to inspire creativity and reduce stress through the powers of nature.

These environmental changes have had large impacts on the employee engagement. The also show the important move from a transactional workspace to a transformational one: by trusting employees to be in control of their own timetables instead of feeling chained to their desks, you are empowering them and, as a result, are likely to see a boost in morale and productivity.

The interface between real estate and HR

Often it becomes the responsibility of the estate agent to find a building with the facilities that employees desire. To ensure that our employee experience is at its optimal, the workspace should reflect the values of the organisation, and this responsibility should be one for HR. A place of work is now more than just a property. It is a living environment that helps individuals and businesses craft and experience a rewarding fusion of life and work.

What to do next

If you would like to know more about the future of the workplace, click here to read the deck that was presented at the event. To find out more about how peoplewise can help to shape your workspace and respond to change please call us on +44 (0)203 9673786 or email at contactus@peoplewise.co.uk.

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