The changing demands of the modern workforce have led to calls for companies to involve workers in the design and layout of the office.
As Generation Y continues to populate and begins to navigate through organisational seniority levels, a few well trodden and frequently reported trends have emerged. These have included differences in certain values when compared to previous generations and a high level of technological awareness. Until recently, a less observed area that their ways of working has impacted on is the office itself.
The office has always been viewed as the knowledge centre of the organisation. There is no suggestion that this will change in the future. Indeed, this is illustrated by the results of recent research conducted by the BCO, which found that despite the increased flexibility and location choice that technology has provided us, we place vast importance on the office as an environment which promotes social interaction.
When it comes to the things that really matter, tools such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime, Webinars, etc all have considerable worth and have rapidly become de facto ways of communicating, but do not enable the level of collaboration that actually being together provides.
PwC’s Global Generations Study proposes that Generation Y are more predisposed to working together in teams than previous generations - due to their absorption in technology and the social interaction it enables, it is easy to make that case.
However, the desire to have face to face contact is also illustrative of the naturally tribal and socially inquisitive nature of people as a species - this traverses generations in that the majority of us need to be with others in order to establish identity, goals and crucially in the context of meetings, decisions.
The long accepted conventional office environment is now regarded as out of date, with people wanting the flexibility to be able to do things not technologically possible just 10 years ago.
In order to accommodate the demands of this new way of working – where efforts should be made to enable optimum performance from workers by creating an ergonomically astute environment, the progressive organisation is beginning to consult its workforce about the design of its office space.
Involving employees in the design and layout of their future working environment makes sense – they are the ones who work there and who are aided or inhibited by the provided environment.
Creating something about which colleagues have been individually canvassed will improve engagement and ultimately, the willingness to go the extra mile to do what it is all about, delighting clients.
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