Attracting the best people is fundamental to the success of all companies and in the war for talent, the workplace has become an increasingly important strategic tool to draw and retain excellent people.
Linda Trim, Director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap, said that there is a strong relationship between workplace design and business outcomes. “There are four current identified trends that are driving the future of the workplace. These trends can make the difference in recruiting and retaining the talent you want.”
Trend 1: A workplace always in ‘beta’
Technology is evolving faster than ever, and billions of new devices connect to the Internet each year. Said Trim: “The scope and scale of this unprecedented level of connectivity is revolutionising how we think about the future of work. During such rapid change, organisations must develop strategies to determine where to direct their technology Rands.” Trim noted than in response to constant change, workplaces must adopt an “always in beta” mindset, recognising that the workplace must go with the flow of constant experimentation to get the best out of technology.
Trend 2: A workplace that acts like a city
For the first time in history, city dwellers represent the majority of earth’s population. Cities attract talent in dense clusters, and they are creating the innovations that drive economic value and jobs growth.
“The best workplaces function like the best cities. Some of the unique tenets of the urban experience can also serve as workplace design principles. These include characteristics like supporting higher density, diversity, walkability, a wealth of amenities, and a celebrated local culture,” Trim noted.
Trend 3: Individual, Group & Office Community
A good workplace incorporates three building blocks. These workplaces:
Improve the work environment for individuals. “We have found that any form of workstation can be part of a high-performance workplace, including an open floor plan. But an individual’s workstation needs to be designed to support their particular work — taking noise, light, and layout into account, “ said Trim.
Provide collaborative workspaces to support group work. For knowledge workers to be effective, they need a wide range of spaces equipped with places to meet — from small breakout spaces to larger conference rooms. These spaces should include technology, especially access to Wi-Fi and outlets.
Empower the whole office. People are more effective when they work in a variety of spaces throughout the day - and that the spaces are accessible to everyone.
Trend 4: Experience matters
The two most important catalysts for great work experience are the integration of social space into every environment and a fluid mix of spaces.
“Today most work spaces are multipurpose, rendering single-use spaces obsolete. In terms of the workplace, this means there should be plenty of space to allow for all kinds of activities,” said Trim. She added that there is growing importance for socialisation at work to create employee engagement, retention, and a sense of connectedness.
These four trends shaping the future of the workplace suggest that we are headed toward a time when work and the workplace will be even more focused on optimising human potential. "We expect that the most successful organisations will be those that seize the opportunity to use workplace as the means to double-down on their greatest asset, their people,” Trim concluded.