The Workplace You Need Now

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The statistical Facts and Thoughtful opinions for the workplace of the future-

 

This month, we are including research from a book published by Wiley and written by Sanjay Rishi, Benjamin Breslau and Peter Miscovich; “The Workplace You Need Now-Shaping the Spaces for the future”. When I picked the book up, I was intrigued by the title and love the book, as it relates to the shape of the office leasing industry, corporate America, and those executives who are making highly strategic decisions about the workplace and how they utilize it in the future, assuming they even use office space in the future.

Here are some facts- 60% of companies say a WFH strategy is in their future, some were leaning that way prior to the Pandemic, 63% of employees surveyed said they are seeking a renewed and deliberate approach to life, becoming intentional about their work life balance in the future. There are those optimists like Andy Gloor, CEO of Sterling Bay (excerpt from book), a leading owner/operator, real estate investment and development company. ” The tech industry’s go to real estate developer-per Crains Chicago Business”. Gloor’s clients are convinced that culture, brand and teamwork just don’t work in a remote work environment.

The research has generally shown that for most outcomes, remote work leads to small but tangible benefits,” says I/O psychologist Bradford Bell, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS) at Cornell University. “Employees who telecommute tend to be slightly more satisfied, and their performance tends to be the same or a little higher.” as you will see throughout the blog, these statistics can be highly swayed by the sampling, as the Hybrid Working debate is as much about innovation as it is about the demographics of the workers in your office workplaces. As a business leader, you can appeal to each group accordingly to find the perfect hybrid office for the employees who might be leading your teams.

Keep in mind, the Baby Boomer in the head office might not be ready for this, which can stall an office or enterprise looking to move into the new millennia, with regard to what a lot of new offices and major corporations will be doing. some may call it the “NEW Norm” Yikes…. overused and dated like Yikes.” or the “workplace of the future”, which in my view is no different than the changes in technology in the 80′ and 90’s, and the simple fact that boomers and gen exers, may not be as ready for the future, as the younger generation evolves and grows into the workplace, creating dramatic shifts, as the millennials and Gen Z’s grow up in the workplace! I believe we refer to it as a Tipping Point!

Tipping Point-
NOUN
  1. the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.

 

Learn more at these links included below-

 

How companies may be using office space by 2022 | National Mortgage News

 

Office Leasing: 2022 Trends and Predictions for Office Spaces (hi-reit.com)

 

http://https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/07/30/does-your-business-need-a-physical-office/?sh=106b136f7de

 

So, what does all this mean?  

 

Here are some thoughts and real discussions with clients and prospects, and how we have helped them in the last 1.5 years, post pandemic. For some 300 potential and actual client’s we have met with, at least 75% are discussing a hybrid strategy for their physical offices and remote workers.  workspace. Hybrid being defined as a workplace model mixing in-office and remote work, allowing employees flexibility and support in their careers. In a hybrid workplace, employees generally enjoy more autonomy and better work-life balance and are more engaged as a result. Employers benefit by building a more productive, healthy, stable, workforce. https://www.sap.com/insights/what-is-a-hybrid-workplace-model.html or www.apa.org/monitor/2019/10/cover-remote-work.

Our clients tend to be in the 5 to 200 seat range as it relates to a traditional office design. As stated, about 75% of these clients and prospects request designing a smaller space to hold only 30 to 50% of their overall headcount, explaining that 50% of the workforce will always be remote, with a flexible other 50% showing up on odd days or even days to collaborate, have face to face or zoom meetings, obtain needed office items for the home office, etc. For those of you who don’t believe in the future of the office being a landing or hotelling location, you may want to consider the benefits of 50% less leased space over the next ten years!

in these surveys and the research book for this blog, they state that 79% of employees reporting that they want to be able to come into the office at least some of the time. The big question for companies and employees will be how to make the hybrid workplace enable, align and empower teams to drive enterprise and employee value. Companies seeking to drive purpose and performance will need to focus on the principles of personalization, corporate responsibility, and a multidimensional workplace experience.

Personalizing the Workplace-The Right Office DesignSee the source image

BT360 PET Slide On Screenwall coverings office design trend 2021

During the past decade, leading companies have begun to view their workplace as a consumer product-meaning the employees can consume just as they might consume a residence, hotel room, a cell phone, or a new car. Many of the products we consume these days can be personalized and configured with a swipe or tap. Alternatively, the workplace, whether physical or digital, has been, historically less responsive. The thinking is if the workplace could be consumed in a more personalized way, it would unleash significant improvements in engagement, performance, and value.

Think about the current more traditional layout of an office with a 100 workstations or cubes with analyst and admins working in an open environment. There is no privacy, quiet, or even collaboration depending on the team leader. This is a one size fits all office design and functionality issue. Maybe some of these employees (statistically proven) could excel or become superstars in the privacy of their own home.

Most employees in this U.S. study report unexpectedly positive remote work experience and productivity in 2020, but there are notable disparities in how the shift to working from home (WFH) is impacting workers across every generation. In fact, respondents’ top requests to make work more productive and enjoyable varies significantly from one generation of workers to the next.  For instance, the top priority request for each generation is as follows:

Gen Z: 55 percent desire additional process software to more easily automate work
Millennials: 50 percent would like better hardware and equipment to improve their home offices
Gen X: 56 percent would most appreciate more work schedule flexibility to care for dependents
Baby Boomers: 42 percent prioritize further compensation increases for more work and retirement planning

Additionally, the experience of working remotely is closely correlated with current job level. Longer-tenured, senior employees report adapting more easily to remote work and higher productivity from home. The study found entry-level employees have struggled more to adapt with work task confusion, living situation challenges (59 percent), and feeling over-worked more than their more experienced colleagues (63 percent).

JLL’s March 21st, 2021, global survey of 3,000 employees revealed four primary worker profiles, reflecting on the traditional worker who enjoys getting a cup of coffee and heading to the office every day, whereas the free spirit, likely a millennial or Gen Z employee, who is simply a free spirit. One enjoys the commute, while the other does not, and enjoys a variety of spaces. Add to that the in betweenness, and the experience lover or wellness addict. These younger employees (Free Spirits and wellness addicts) are very interested and immersed in the workplace and are now redefining the workplace.

 

Learning from the leaders in Hybrid Work Experimentation-AIS Divi workstation after Covid-19

 

Right here in Atlanta, Microsoft is implementing a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is being brought to life with its investment in community development, and future talent recruitment, providing a leadership template to be considered.

At Capital One, the development and implementation of their @work app, in particular, is ideal for differentiating between an employee experience and a client or visitors experience. They use it for scheduling a desk, cafeteria ordering, tracks shuttle transportation, associate look up, and workplace service request.

Dell Technologies’ connected workplace program provides a canvas of possibilities and thought-provoking illustrations of a workplace leader. Mark Pringle, head of real estate for Dell is a leader in domain of workplaces. Pringle is the guy in workplaces as not a place or time, yet an outcome, productivity and return on employee investment. His quest for Dell started in 2013, and with 65% of the Dell workforce being remote or flexible. When Pringle spoke to the senate in the Summer of 2020, suggesting to the government that they may want to consider the Dell program for cost savings, creating a more creative workplace, while helping employees be the best version of themselves while working in corporate or governmental buildings.

Using one of our clients as an example when shutting down their existing office then designing and furnishing their new offices, we saw firsthand, an operational executive creating a hybrid workspace strategy.  this client had 100 employees in their office space, about 15,000 square feet. We were contracted to remove some 100 seats or cubicles, plug the holes in the walls, remove the voice and data cable from the walls and ceilings, while moving a few items to buyers of their old furniture. They then asked us to design a space for about 20 to 30 employees being in the space at any one time. They will be rotating the 90 workers through the office space, yet the space is more of a hotel and landing spot, provided you are scheduled in.

 

In Summary-

Check any news station, blog, or simply ask an employee or executive in the workplace as to their opinion on all of the issues and questions raised, and you will likely be split 50-50 or 60-40, on what is the best approach or solutions, depending on the sampling. What is a clear for us as a furniture design and move management company, is that no action is really action as you will likely fall behind finding great talent if you don’t make a move to rethink the office of the future and the workplace you need now?  Don’t overlook the WFH (Work from home) strategy as well. A high percentage of companies we work with or call on are not making the office design in the home a priority. For example, providing an ergonomic solution for sitting and standing (sit stand desk and ergonomically equipped chair) for both employee safety and comfort, along with a consistent platform for all employees to create the perfect workspace within their homes.

Free Office furniture giveaway from BT360 Compel Derby Task Chair

This may help when considering the needs and legalities for your at home workers-

WFH Policies Both employers and employees should have clear guidance on WFH work and communication expectations.  Good WFH policies clearly reserve for the employer discretion to decide whether a job can be adequately performed remotely.  And the policy should address the fact that just because an employee is authorized to WFH does not excuse all of the employer’s normal policies dealing with everything from attendance to computer use policies to confidentiality/intellectual property issues.

Further, an employer is not excused from the obligation to maintain time records and to pay overtime.  So, WFH policies should include a clear process for tracking employees’ work time.  Some employers set specific work hours for each employee, including any lunch or rest breaks.  But, while the schools are still wholly or partially on lockdown, employers may establish split workday hours to allow for necessary home schooling or childcare.  Regardless of the issue though, there should be a clear policy for the process an employee uses to request an alternative schedule or absence.

While you may want to provide a stipend or allow an employee to pay for his or her office furniture for the home, then be reimbursed, think again, as we are hearing more and more about complaints about poorly resourced chairs, working from kitchen tables, not knowing the ergonomics required for sitting, standing and moving every day, ultimately challenging productivity and efficiency gained by working from home.

Last, employers are liable for on-the-job injuries even if occurring at a remote worksite.  Workers Compensation insurance may require employers to have clear guidelines setting forth safety expectations for use of equipment and the WFH workspace.  Good practice may dictate that employers remind employees to maintain a safe workspace at home and practice the same safety habits as at the office or normal workplace.

 

For more information on WFH policies and these legal issues, feel free to contact Dawn: dcoulson@eppscoulson.com.

Sources – The Workplace You Need Now-Rishi, Breslau, Miscovich, Wiley Publisher, American Psychology Association website, BT360 Research and Records, Eppscoulson.com regarding work from home legal issues. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn about our three hundred and sixty degree approach to office furniture projects including furnishing, renovating, designing, relocating and decommissioning an office. BT360 has provided creative, functional and cost-effective workplace environments since 2011. Have an office furniture project or question? We’d love to hear from you.

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