In June 2017, TEDxSydney explored how we like our workspaces and how that would affect the future of the property industry. What was the outcome?
Well you can probably guess that many employees are tired of working in the traditional spaces they’ve always been in and are demanding innovation in offices to cater to their health, happiness and productivity. Coworking, flexible office arrangements and the work-life balance all got considerable mentions. Let’s look at it all in a little more detail.
There is a two-pronged approach to this word. On the one hand, 33% of respondents to a survey of TEDxSydney attendees said they wanted to work in a commercial precinct that supported the community surrounding it. Suggested methods were things like art exhibitions and public performances.
This is an interesting shift in perspective compared to traditional imaginings of the commercial precinct as a segregated location exclusively reserved for the successful upper class, away from distractions from the general public. Now, it seems, with younger generations entering the workforce, employees want to be a part of the communities they come from or work in by removing the metaphorical wall that separates them.
On the other hand, there is a high priority placed on a sense of community within the workplace. Employees are showing distaste for traditional spaces where one will only really know those working in their immediate vicinity. Instead, they’re suggesting team-building and social events within the workplace so that camaraderie is encouraged between employees that may not have ever met each other before.
This is yet another word with two applications in the workplace. For starters, with the growing popularity of working from home or close to it, many large corporations are either giving their employees the option of working from home or taking on the “hub and spoke” model wherein a company consists of a central (usually CBD) location as well as satellite locations in outer suburbs.
Furthermore, with the also growing popularity of coworking spaces, employees are craving a workspace where they can work the way they want to. This means the introduction of large, open areas for buzzing networking and co-creating, along with quiet areas for those wanting to work in silence, and traditional office spaces for those who work well in isolation. The idea is: rather than forcing every employee into one mold and expecting them to perform well, provide options and let them choose whatever is most productive. With current flexible space at about 5% of the overall workplace, it is projected that this will increase to 30% by about 2030.
The survey of TEDxSydney attendees found that 54% of employees thought that having choice and control in their workplaces was extremely important. It’s a symbol of disempowerment to walk into an office you’ve had no say in. When desks, lighting, seating, design, functionality and amenities have all been taken care of by someone else, it’s easy to feel worthless in the machine you work in.
As a result, many companies are responding to employee requests for indoor greenery, natural light, access to fresh air, and the ability to personalize workstations. It doesn’t take much to understand how making the place where someone spends most of their waking day feel like a place they want to be, is conducive to productivity. Not just a workplace, but a place to work!
In addition, it’s also been recommended that companies harness alternative methods to enhance wellness. Recreation rooms with actual recreation like pool tables or Friday night drinks are a great example, but it even goes deeper into ideas like employing a Chief Happiness Officer (as cheesy as it may sound) to organize yoga classes, motivational speaker events, or even counseling sessions for those who need it to ensure all employees are feeling well and working well. This may come across as extra expenditure for employers, but they tend to overlook that a happy workforce means more turnover, less talent leaving, more talent being promoted and excelling, and so on. With these in mind, it’s easy to notice a good investment.
So, there you have it. Straight from the reputable source that is TEDxSydney itself. We hope this has been a valuable resource for employees, employers and corporations alike as a deeper look into the future of how we’ll go to work! For even more detail and further facts/figures, read the full report about the TEDxSydney event here.
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