Today’s workplace is changing to meet the needs of today’s workforce. No longer is there a one-size-fits-all mentality to the workplace. The traditional nine-to-five, cubicles-under-fluorescent-lights culture has become a thing of the past. Employees are seeking out a personal work experience that meets their individual needs in terms of health, wellness and productivity. A 2017 study by Sodexo found that 67% of knowledge workers left their previous workplace because it was not optimized for them. Attraction and retention of talent is imperative to a company’s success, forcing companies that want to succeed under changing workforce demands to take a more people-centric approach to the workplace. And this is good news for employers too because happy and productive employees make for good business!
It all comes down to values
Today’s workforce values the impact their physical environment has on their overall health and way of life and want a greater say over where, when and how they work. In the Sodexo study, more than half of the 2,800 employees claimed that “reducing unnecessary noise was the single most important factor to improving their effectiveness, while a third (35%) of respondents stated that access to quiet space was key to increasing productivity.” Natural lighting came in as a close second to noise reduction as another key factor that affects productivity. What’s more? In a study by Coster & Govan as referenced in HGA’s National Workplace Forecast: Talent, Experiences and Constant Change,* it is noted that “when choosing between job offers, the general aesthetic of a workplace has a bigger influence than whether an individual has a dedicated workspace.” KimbleCo’s clients affirm these studies; we are collaborating with our project teams to create spaces that allow for both quiet and collaborative work, better artificial and natural lighting, multiple places and ways to work within a space and colorful and creative aesthetics.
Today’s workforce values technology. We have a tech-savvy workforce that demands a tech-oriented workplace, making the digital workplace imperative for employee satisfaction. A 2016 study by Adobe found that 81% of employees believe that state-of-the-art tech is important at work and 85% of employees believe that technology increases their productivity. Many workspaces are now designed as mobile workspaces. Where at one time desktop computers and corded phones kept people confined to permanent desk spaces, modern workspaces are set up to be as versatile as their tech-savvy employees.
Today’s workforce values work/life balance. In order to minimize stress, maximize family and personal time and prioritize a healthy lifestyle, more employees are seeking out companies that offer flextime for commuters as well as opportunities for telecommuting. This is an enormous stress reliever for those with longer commute times. An increase in co-working opportunities also exist within the workplace today and there is a noticeable shift back to urban living which allows employees to bike and walk to work. Check out our recent post to learn more about how location is impacting employee attraction and retention.
Today’s workforce values wellness. Wellness today means more than just health. Employees are speaking up and companies are listening! In order to compete, many companies are offering a broader range of services and creating an environment that supports overall physical, emotional and social wellness. This means employers are working to strike a balance between tech and touch, realizing that employees value both technology and personal connection and collaboration. More and more workplaces are addressing presenteeism and absenteeism by offering better sick and mental health day policies and taking proactive measures to reduce sources of stress and chronic pain in the workplace as well as offering healthy food choices.
The WELL Building Standard
It’s proven that wellness initiatives in the workplace increase employee job performance. It’s from this place that, in 2014, the WELL Building Standard was launched. With an emphasis on creating a physical and social environment that supports all 11 major body systems, WELL raises the bar for employee wellness and is drastically changing the face of today’s workplace. In fact, 92% of employees at a WELL-certified office report that the space creates a positive impact on their health and wellbeing, 94% say it has a positive impact on their performance and 83% feel more productive. To learn more about this people-centric building standard as well as its local impact, take time to view our blog post!
The workplace is certainly changing in response to workforce values and demands. If you would like to learn more about the WELL Building Standard or about how the current workforce is driving a shift in the workplace, we would love to connect with you. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org!
*Kudos to Melissa Jancourt, CID, LEED AP BD+C, of the HGA Minneapolis office who co-authored this informational white paper!