A workplace where people want to be
More than two years ago, Covid forced employees out of the office and into their homes. Now the pandemic’s impact is steadily decreasing, businesses are actively trying to get employees to return to the office. But not everyone is equally eager to return. Getting workers to come into the office, even for a few days a week, may be difficult when work can be done from anywhere. Instead of being a location where employees must go, the workplace must now become a place where they want to be.
Visionary companies are crushing the office game and forging a reputation as an environment people would like to work at, by creating a space that is distinctive to their business. They are attempting to transform the workplace into a fascinating destination with a healthy, happy culture that fosters meaningful relationships amongst employees, teams, and management. The most successful businesses will alter their workplace strategy to focus on making it somewhere that people want to be, to not just get the best out of their employees, but also to retain and motivate the most talented workers.
Why do we need offices?
Just because we can cook all our meals at home, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need restaurants anymore. Just because we can enjoy a drink at home, that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to go to the pub for a couple of drinks (or more!). We cherish the experience of going out for meals or for a drink with family and friends. We connect there, we like to get out of the house and enjoy ourselves. So why do so many people not feel that way about the office?
We need to talk more about the experiences people want to have in the office. Because of the outdated assumption that all work had to occur in the office, they became increasingly generic. Employers now need to recognise that their office is in direct competition with other places where people can do work. The office has to be a stimulating place for collaboration, fun and socialising, even with people who are not in your immediate work group.
An environment where everyone can thrive
If businesses want to lure people back into the office, then they need to make it a place that’s not just for silently getting on with work that could be easily done at home. Providing social opportunities is key and the modern workplace needs to provide experiences that cannot be had at home, such as areas for collaborating, socialising and events. Social activities aside from traditional meetings should be high on the agenda, and the office needs to become the space to do it.
At the heart of it all, the office should provide a platform for culture to thrive, so at its very foundations, understanding what your people want from work should form the basis of your workplace strategy. Work environments that pay attention to people's physical, cultural, and social demands will provide actual value to their lives while allowing them to produce their best work. It creates a comfortable working environment for employees, not necessarily full-time but actually embracing the concept of a flexible and hybrid workplace.
Create engaging experiences
Look at the armed forces as an example, they don’t do basic training by remote, and there’s a reason for that. Building a healthy culture requires real face time. The social experience of work matters, particularly when people are getting started. The first weeks are the best chance to foster a sense of connection with work colleagues and build relationships, while at the same becoming accustomed to the company’s values, culture and processes. The same can be true for collaborative projects.
Employees who find meaning in their work are more likely to stay with their employers. People are increasingly looking for meaning and connection in their job, and the modern workplace needs to play a role in assisting individuals in finding meaning and developing relationships. No two employees are alike, yet our workplaces have historically failed to accommodate these variances. Employees and employers are urged to collaborate more than ever before to create a workplace that meets everyone's requirements.
In this day and age, many employees find traditional workplaces to be unappealing. As a result, the urge has arisen to establish an enticing environment where people are ready to get to work. Some office design improvements are obvious, like making meeting rooms more Zoom-friendly, comfortable dining facilities with food and drinks, and multi-functional soft seating areas where people can recharge and enjoy some down-time, but it’s often not clear what exactly employees really want to see when they return to their desks.
Most workers have become accustomed to having dedicated spaces for focused work at home during the pandemic and they’re seeking the same in their corporate headquarters. Research has highlighted that the number one thing people struggle with is finding space for focused productivity. Someone has to know that if they commute in, they will see people they do know, they will have social time with people they don’t know, and if they need two hours to dig in and escape everyone, they can do that.
Salesforce, for example, recently reduced their desk space by 40% and embraced a floor plan that features more team-focused spaces that encourage a balance of individual and collaborative work, with flexible seating for when people need a break from their desks, and lounges for socialising. Creating a workspace that allows for different work zones needs to be meticulously planned, but it doesn’t need to be overly daunting.
With Dams, specialist advice, expertise and resources are literally on the doorstep, with an extensive one-stop-shop product portfolio and customised support to work with you to you drive your office furniture sales. Our in-house team of interior design experts can take room measurements and then suggest the perfect furniture solutions for your space, in addition to mood boards and photo-realistic static visuals as the project progresses to deliver a professional, accurate project.
The evolving workplace of the future
Some businesses are noticing that the great return to the office isn’t always that great. Although many employees look forward to getting back to their desks, others are hesitant to come back to the office. And simply forcing workers to return might lead to discontent, which can have a negative effect on employee morale and wellbeing.
With thousands returning in force, it’s crucial that each worker is treated as an individual and their needs are assessed, with a work environment that offers a feeling of community and flexibility, in addition to being a source of income. People are looking for conveniences or advantages that will make their commute to work a little bit more enjoyable. This generates a buzz around your company that may attract fresh talent, retain the best workers, persuade potential leavers to stay, and boost productivity.