Gone are the days of cubicle farms and Monday-through-Friday work schedules. As early as the 2000s, workers began to benefit from the flexibility of mobile technologies such as cell phones and laptops.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic furthered the case for flexible work options. But that case has been building since members of Generation X entered the workforce and started calling for better work-life balance.
As many employees return to the office either full- or part-time, they are demanding a voice in when, where, and how they complete their work.
Considering employers that act on worker feedback are three times as likely to hit their financial targets, business leaders should make it a point to engage their employees and address their needs.
In her article “No Looking Back: The New Design of the Workplace” – first published in IFMA’s Facility Management Journal (FMJ) – Mary Guiteau identifies three things all employees want in a workplace:
According to a study by Gallup, State of the American Workplace (2017), 87 percent of workers want healthier workplace options. Additionally, 93 percent of tech workers would stay longer at a job if given healthy options. Workplace wellness is trending in many industries, including construction, interior design and human resources. What LEED has done for the construction of buildings, the WELL Building Standard is now doing for the health of building occupants. Research has shown that people who work in buildings that promote wellness are more productive and happier. The WELL Building Standard is based around seven concepts to optimize health and wellness: air, water, nourishment, light, ﬁtness, comfort and mind. Designing spaces that follow these guidelines can oﬀer improved employee health, satisfaction and retention.
Choice & Control
Employees in today’s workplace are no longer content with being given a desk and told where to work. They want choice and control, which includes the ability to choose where and how they work. This does not mean that employers have to oﬀer unlimited options. Rather, employers can curate a limited number of suitable options from which the employees can choose. Even if it is small, any amount of choice and the feeling of control can go a long way in creating a positive work environment. A key aspect of choice and control is ﬂexibility.
The pandemic is demonstrating that technology is the key to communication, no matter the distance; people can work eﬀectively with people in other cities, states and countries. It removed the boundaries of proximity. Having a workplace with adequate technology is crucial in today’s environment. Keeping up with the rapid pace of technological changes can be challenging. However, it is necessary to provide a digitally connected workspace. Employees expect technology to be readily available. They expect it to be intuitive and easy to use.
Equipped with a better understanding of employees, business leaders and their FMs can have a major impact on workplace happiness and performance.