As we near the end of 2017, Evoke Projects looks at the workplace trends that have been widely discussed over the last year. We also give our views on what the future holds for these trends, and how your office design influences them.
Employing new staff according to cultural suitability
This might seem like recruitment best practice, rather than a workplace trend, but the balance has changed in recruitment decision making. Skills and experience are still relevant for a role, but the cultural fit of a candidate often outweighs skills that can be taught and experience that can be gained. Changing somebody’s attitude and personality is a little harder!
Workplace culture is becoming an increasingly strong point of differentiation for brands. Think Google, Apple, Nike, Lego and Virgin. Employees who are engaged with your brand and corporate message will personify that brand through their actions and attitude. Think of your workplace culture as the beating heart of your brand. Hiring new staff that fit your culture will be your future life blood.
Office design is a great vehicle for surrounding your staff with positive branding messages. For example, next time you undertake an office fit-out or refurbishment, integrate your products/services/solutions into your office design. At Virgin, the communal space resembles an airport viewing deck and is complete with a full-size cockpit and a row of check-in desks.
Evoke Projects managed the office design and fit-out for Aspire Wealth & Protection, a lifestyle-oriented company. We included mood lighting during the office refurbishment process and added the relaxing ‘Aspirations Lounge’ to emulate a positive lifestyle feel for clients and staff. This is an example of blending workplace culture and brand.
Increase in focus on work-life balance
2017 has seen a big push in raising awareness of mental health. This focus looks set to increase further after the $20 million increase in funding for mental health reform announced in the NSW State Budget. Work-life balance is essential for mental health and yet technology is leading many of us to adopt a 24/7 approach to emails. The technology that helps us to be more efficient can also be our downfall if we do not manage it well.
Flexible work arrangements are the key to this juggling act. Give employees the flexibility to work at hours that suit them, within reason of course. Your office design and fit-out can support flexible working with smaller workstations in the office for people who often work from home. During your next office refurbishment, consider a hot desking zone to cater for more flexible work patterns.
Retention of the best employees through an engaging environment
There is a trend for employees to switch jobs more often than in the past. This is partly driven by the Millennials/Gen Y generation, who have a different attitude to careers compared to their parents. A strategy for retention of the best skills is vital for a business to be successful.
Focusing on providing a great workplace environment will discourage employees from constantly seeking and networking for their next role. Your office design can make or break the environment. Look at workflows and tasks, and create an office design that facilitates your business processes and collaboration. If it will be a while until your next major office fit-out, consider a ‘makeover’ office refurbishment. It’s amazing what you can achieve with a splash of colour and some funky office furniture pieces!
Another trend in the workplace environment is for a more relaxed corporate culture and work-day. Again, this is driven largely by the younger generation entering the workforce. They prefer variety and activity rather than long periods of monotonous sedentary work. Casual wear days, workplace massages and fundraising initiatives can happily fit into the working week alongside spreadsheets and meetings.
This relaxed feel can be enhanced through the office design. Flexible office layouts with activity based zones for different types of working let employees move around the office for a more free-flowing work day. During your next office fit-out or refurbishment, ask your office designer to include a mix of private spaces, collaborative zones, breakout areas and shared workstation or desk spaces.
Social events and regular opportunities for training and development are other ways to keep employees engaged and motivated.
As older workers retire and the new workforce fills with Millennials/Gen Y and even Gen Z, retention of your best workers is going to become even more of a focus than it is now.
To discuss adapting your office design for these workplace trends, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.