How Modern Workplaces Help Shape the Employee Experience
Employee Culture and Post-Pandemic Workplaces
Our offices have changed drastically over the last two years, and with them so has our experiences at work as employees and coworkers. Hallway conversation became instant messages, the commute was significantly cut down, the list can go on.
Our workplace routines have changed, and with them, the culture of work and interactions employees had with work did as well. Now we are faced with the question of returning to work and what form this will take, and with the modern-day workplace what the modern-day employee experience will look like.
The physical design of the workplace and facilities in the building itself, with the modernization of the office will contribute to growing a new overall employee experience for the return to work.
Physical workplace trends
At the forefront of the modern workplace discussion is the design and layout of the modern office. The call for increased visibility and collaboration spaces in lieu of rows of cubicles could not be louder, and the integration of technology that integrates those working remotely with those in the office is at the top of priorities for any organization looking to return to the office. Remote work has brought us many improvements, with many finding that productivity and innovation increased.
The requirements of a modern workplace will inevitably change over time, as short-term and long-term plans will take on different forms. But the physical workplace will need to adapt and stay true to sustainability and flexibility as time goes on. Similarly, equal opportunity for those remote working rather than returning must be considered, and the proper technology for this integrated into the workplace.
Currently, the focus is on short-term office changes such as office hoteling, flexible short-term leases, and adhering to Covid health and safety protocols. However, the long-term outlooks are focused on aspects such as sustainability in both environmental and business operations contexts.
The new physical designs of the office must work with the hybrid office movement that will take over and shape how modern workplaces function for years to come. With many workers voicing their wishes to continue remote working, or split time between remote and in-person work, office spaces must adapt to smaller occupancies and leverage collaborative technology so those who are remote working are not adversely impacted by their choice.
Sustainability of these changes is paramount; can these functions be supported long-term? How will they impact the organization and employees over time? What are the costs associated with maintenance and upkeep? Is this environmentally safe?
The list of questions is endless with equally as many variables to consider when it comes to modern workplaces and their employees. What will truly shape the employee experience and workplace culture going forward is the long-term changes that are made, as these will shape new routines and sentiments about in-office work.
Workspace Health & Recruitment
Health was the reason we left the workplace, now we must integrate it into our return to the workplace as well. While there is no such thing as zero risk areas, workplaces must work to build the safest possible areas with as much attention to employee health & safety as possible. The “healthiest” workplaces will be seen as more attractive destinations for recruits and see lower turnover rates than those that may not prioritize health.
Recruiters will leverage a company’s health and safety regiment or their “green buildings” which go beyond the normal satiation and contact tracing and look to make sure that air quality, facilities and environment within the building are working to improve the health of employees.
Healthy Buildings & Healthy Employees
So-called “green buildings” lend themselves to healthy workspaces as well as being environmentally friendly & sustainable. These green buildings are becoming increasingly common and are expected to be the future of work environments. But what makes a building healthy? Ventilation, certain kinds of lighting, green spaces, air flow, all of these and more make up these green buildings and contribute to the health and even productivity of the employees who occupy them.
Productivity & Healthy Workspaces
A particularly important aspect of healthy workplaces that may be of interest to business owners is the impact of quality air and ventilation on the productivity of employees and customers – poor air quality hinders cognition, resulting in a foggy, tired individual. Investment in quality ventilation and air flow will benefit employee productivity on top of ensuring their health and well-being.
Humans spend most of their time indoors, and this has a significant impact on health. Connections between lights and the circadian rhythm as well as productivity have been made. Further implementation of things such as green walls, and biophilic elements (bringing the outdoors indoors) be it through design or physical objects in the office have been shown to positively impact health as well.
New-look Offices & Employee Experience
With new office environments and protocols comes new employee experiences and interactions with colleagues and the office itself. While remote work has encouraged new forms of collaboration, it has brought with it a call for expanded collaboration spaces and repurposed office space. Employees require an engaging workspace to be happy and productive at work.
Impact of physical space
The impact of physical space and how it forms workplace culture and behavior can be seen best in how collaboration and connection have been affected over the pandemic. Optimizing space planning and use of real estate to build effective areas for collaboration such as coffee tables and lounges, which will allow for these new-look offices to be an upgrade to the comforts of home and encourage employee interaction. For the employees that do not return to work, companies will need to invest in technology that leverages connectivity and communication to bridge the gap between office and remote workers and help strengthen the culture of a workplace once again.
Building Workplace Culture
Workplace culture has taken a backseat over the last year as we have been separated by screens and emails, and a return to work in modern workplaces gives organizations a unique opportunity to build or strengthen culture and transform it from what it once was. Using social spaces and designing a workplace that functions on connectivity and openness that fosters trust in employees allows for a workplace culture where employees feel valued and welcomed, rather than numbers that sit in a grey box.
Culture & Productivity
With trust and openness will come a workforce that is more productive and motivated to accomplish an organization’s goal. A positive work culture will inspire employees in their work and produce better products through their work. This can be helped through an open workspace that encourages informal interactions between colleagues as well as managers, which drives an engaging atmosphere to the workplace. Engagement drives productivity, and modern office spaces must find ways to incorporate engagement and collaboration into the workplace to satisfy employees and bolster productivity upon returning to work.
As organizations look to how their modern office will look and how these spaces for collaboration, focus, and socialization will come to fruition, the integration of IWMS software for space planning and facilities management to optimize aspects of the employee experience that are not as prevalent initially. Archibus and IWMS solutions can help to optimize a comfortable workplace that fosters productivity and a positive office culture for return to work.