Traditionally, workplace design has prioritized building infrastructure and physical environment over the space’s inhabitants – the employees. Now, as employers shift the workplace experience in order to retain talent and adapt to workers’ changing needs, office design is becoming more human-centered. In this month’s news aggregate, we explore the humanization of the workplace and the implications of this trend for today’s workers.
Fostering Connection & Spontaneous Conversation
As companies seek to build trust and camaraderie among employees, open plan offices and spaces to connect are becoming essential. Biz Journals explores offices in Raleigh featuring DJ booths, coffee bars and café-style areas – spaces to spark creative thinking and conversation beyond the water cooler.
Rather than continuing to invest in large board rooms, businesses are opting for smaller meeting spaces that serve as an intimate means of conversation. Workplace Insight reflects on this shift as the “death of the boardroom.”
But, there has been debate about the shift toward open office plans that support group collaboration and social interaction. After analyzing Microsoft’s office consolidation, Harvard Business Review proposed that the increased collaborative and conversational opportunities caused by employees being closer together far outweighs the disadvantages of open plans. This shift underscores the importance of humanizing the work experience through fostering chance encounters and meaningful in-person conversation.
Promoting Health & Happiness
New research claims that office design is the most significant factor in worker happiness. As happiness and worker wellbeing become more of a priority for employers, Workplace Insight proposes that personal fulfillment at work will be next big challenge facing employers. Metropolis Mag highlights the importance of companies actively promoting wellness programs, breaks, and flexibility, and Business Daily offers recommendations for providing wellbeing in the workplace.
The implications for promoting this are not insignificant: in a roundup of 2016’s coolest offices, 76% of Medibank’s employees felt healthier and 66% more productive after moving into a new building that supported exercise and mobility.
Celebrating The Individual
Homogenous office environments are no longer the norm – or acceptable – for the most innovative companies. Workplace design that puts talent at the forefront celebrates workers’ individual needs, promoting workspace personalization. Facility Executive explores the ways in which companies offer unique work environments catered to individual needs. Why does this matter? Research indicates that when people have a sense of choice, they are more likely to be engaged, collaborative and productive.
Biz Journals echoes this sentiment, recommending that the modern workplace “must incorporate an ecosystem of spaces” that is suitable for various styles of work that fit any individual employee preference. As the workplace becomes increasingly multi-dimensional to reflect these diverse needs, Business Times predicts the workplace of the future will transform into a more holistic public space that serves the desires of the larger community.
Workplace Insight sums it up best: “It seems the future success of our workplaces is not about being in a specific location, but the creation of cultures of care, trust and empowerment to let individuality thrive.”
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