The corporate life has been glamorized since the better part of the century, spurred by a robust and fast-growing economy following the industrial boom. Industrial tradesmen were replaced with mechanized solutions and a ‘traditional’ job became mainstream. An individual with a nine-to-five job was suddenly considered stable and hardworking, and the daily grind became the status quo. The corporate workplace has since evolved and continues to be a dominant part of a worker’s life – particularly those who spend an upwards of 40 hours at the office. This is not entirely unacceptable – in an age where most of us ‘live to work’, employees expect to spend long hours at the office if necessary. However, more isn’t better. Study after study shows that employee productivity is not a result of how long a task takes them to complete, but how motivated they feel. Your office design and build can go a long way in influencing this.
While motivation is an intrinsic emotion and ties into subjective values, it has a direct correlation to the individual’s environment. In fact, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs lists ‘Shelter and Protection’ second in order of importance. The right space for an employee can foster their professional potential or hinder efficiency. Employees seem to agree – the Hawthorne Effect stipulates that they are more productive based on their belief that changes made to the environment will increase productivity. To address this, companies traditionally spend fortunes on designs and concepts to maximize department sizes in Tetris-like fashion but have been overlooking the holistic atmosphere they need to create for their workers. But that seems to be changing.
Industries as a whole are undergoing massive structural changes through a concept known as Space-as-a-Service. Space-as-a-Service (SPaaS) is a paradigm shift in the way in which the corporate industry has provided products and services to their employees, and have now transitioned from simply livelihood-providers to career cheerleaders. Space as a Service entails everything from digital connectivity to furniture, fixtures and even the staffing required to operate their businesses, employee engagement activities, project management and much more.
A healthy space that is fully integrated as SPaaS rife with space enhancements and engagement increases motivation and a sense of purpose. This is one of the reasons why co-working – a concept where those employed with different employers or self-employed share a space – has been successful over the past few years. A combination of amenities, community-building efforts and a focus on employee needs leads to rewarding results.
An office design and build that has collaborative events and employee-friendly activities results in higher participation of employees. This range of engagement helps them become proactive and take more initiative. Specifically, where significant efforts have been made to remove friction in workplace environments and to increase availability and choices of food, drinks or workspace format, employees truly value their environment. Additionally, building and strengthening a community within offices has become a priority for workplaces as internal and external event programs aim to drive organizational loyalty and reinforce business culture.
Exit interviews indicate that many employees quit because of company culture. To combat this, companies are rethinking drivers of the workplace experience, including digital tools and flexible work-from-home options. Employees who can structure work around their lifestyle, and not vice versa, tend to feel valued and stay longer. Employees are also beginning to appreciate that non-monetary perks at the workplace – such as subsidized meals, free daycare facilities or a gym – are a valuable factor in determining whether to choose a place to work.
Better Environment, Better Work:
An ambience that influences employees on a psychological level encourages a better quality of work. Factors such as the color of wall paint, decor and even the thermostat level influence employees on a subconscious level. An environment with warm tones that is welcoming and conducive to individual and collaborative learning allows workers to feel at ease, maximize their potential and allow them to be their most productive selves.
A good workspace fosters productivity, streamlines growth, and most importantly enables employees to flourish. An engaging space that addresses the human side of business allows individuals to move away from a ‘punch-in/punch-out’ mindset and encourages them to view their workplace as a safe environment where they can thrive. A space where not only they can make a living, but also a life.