Gone are the days of drab and stuffy office environments, places that stifle creativity, used for work and little else.
Technology has opened up many opportunities for companies to analyze data and identify their workforce needs from multiple perspectives. Many of these findings were previously overlooked or thought of as unimportant. Physical space is a key influence on employee engagement and retention as well as work quality and overall productivity. Employee engagement is an important business tool, that can affect productivity customer satisfaction and profit, both directly and indirectly.
How do you maximize your level of engagement? What elements lead to workplace satisfaction and innovation? Here are six key guiding principles that will help any workplace become more innovative and engaging.
1) Bridging the Gap Between Home & Office
Gallup recently reported that 25% of Americans work between 45 and 59 hours a week. As we find ourselves spending more times with our colleagues than our own families, why wouldn’t we feel more engaged in a space that feels like home?
Many organizations are considering activities their employees would do at home such as entertaining or relaxing in the back yard and incorporating them into office space design. As a result, large plush sofas, game rooms, bean bag chairs, and hammocks are showing up in the workplace.
2) Creatively Using Space with the Workforce in Mind
In most businesses, the cost of real estate is a large part of the annual budget, so utilizing every square foot only makes sense.
When planning a stimulating and engaging work environment, business owners should consider the four work types: Focus, collaborate, learn and socialize. Using these four types of working, they should consider for different personality types and include something for everyone. Quiet, individual workspaces for those that are easily distracted, esthetically pleasing collaborative spaces, and learning spaces that support those that thrive from visual and audible presentation.
3) Promote Diversity
Within the four generations that make up our current workforce, and the variety of personalities, there is ample opportunity to develop a unique and diverse workplace culture. A culture rich workplace shows forward-thinking leadership, recognizing that different perspectives will help comprehend the complexity of business challenges.
4) Flexibility and Mobility
While a micro managerial approach may feel right for some managers personalities, it does not work for everyone and sends a message to employees that they are not trusted. This sets the tone and defines the workplace culture, usually stifling growth and innovation.
Innovative leaders can let go of this controlling, low-trust management style, using a more flexible approach. This empowers people to be creative and develop skills that will help them move forward in their careers.
When it comes to the physical workplace, this could mean offering a variety of work options, such as teleworking and hot-desking to accommodate employees’ needs.
5) Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
The current US unemployment rate is 5%, creating a very competitive labor market. Because of this, companies are having to think outside the box, often using the workspace as a recruiting tool. The goal is not only to attract rising industry stars but retain them as well. Thus, it is essential to design a space that creates a positive first impression, somewhere he or she can see spending time at long-term.
6) Continually Evolving
True leadership means continuing to evolve, and it applies to workspace tools as well. Innovation doesn’t happen just once, it requires consistently and aggressively going above and beyond. As outside influences progress, management must be comfortable with taking risks and valuing their employees’ input to enable progress.
Workplaces that are designed with a keen understanding of the work accomplished on-side and the individuals that will work there are most likely to foster creativity and collaboration. From a startup to a global organization, companies are using their real estate as a business tool. The results speak for themselves, increased productivity, and higher workforce engagement, both positively impacting the bottom line.