Whether you’re building out a team, or hunting for a new job, perks are important. But what people want today is different than even five years ago. Back in the day, employees wanted expense accounts and fancy corporate cars, but today we see benefits and compensation differently. We want flexibility: in how we work, where we work, and even when we work. We want work/life balance: not a 9-5 and 5-9 split, but a focus on our core values 24/7. We want to feel a sense of ownership and connection; for our day-to-day contributions to be recognized as important.
But contrary to every millennial-critical op-ed, flexibility, work/life balance and ownership aren’t just idealistic buzzwords. They’re the values that make today’s workforce adaptable, agile, and passionate about what they do. To create effective work environments companies have to embed a culture of social responsibility and mutual respect between employers and employees. In return, they’re likely to get a team who is healthy, efficient and emotionally invested.
The needs of today’s workforce are changing fast, so the workspace needs to keep up.
Workplace values we care about now
Have you ever taken a client out for a long lunch, or left work early for a dentist appointment? Burned the midnight oil working on a high-stakes project, or arrived late after dropping your kids off at school? None of it would have been possible if we were still required to clock in at exactly 9 a.m.. These days, flexibility is table stakes.
- For employees: Let’s talk about trust, baby.
Sure, employers should care about what the team is doing but that doesn’t mean they have to hold your hand. Leaders who embrace flexibility trust employees to get their work done, which ultimately makes them feel more engaged. Studies have proven that flexibility can increase personal feelings of productivity by as much as 91%.
- For employers: You’re hired!
When surveyed, 46% of American CFOs said that offering a telecommute is the second best way to attract top talent, after competitive salaries, and 33% listed it as a top negotiation tactic. If the best person for the job is happily based in Portland, they shouldn’t have to relocate to a San Francisco HQ. And if half the team wants to dodge SF prices by renting in Oakland, they could just as easily do the job from there. It’s no wonder researchers have found that dispersed satellite offices or telecommuting is more sustainable than a single, highly centralized office requiring long commute. We can imagine how skipping bumper to bumper traffic twice a day would make a team happier.
Ergonomics: health > hype
We’ve come a long way from having ashtrays on our desks, but an increased focus on personal well-being continues to impact office design. For a while it was enough to have a “cool looking” office, but growing awareness of how office culture relates to overall health means ergonomics have become a major priority in the workforce.
- For employees: Ergonomics keep the doctor away
We’ve talked about positive ergonomics before, but here’s a quick refresher: furniture, technology and other design elements (think standing desks, natural light and posture-correcting apps) benefit physical health and emotional well-being. And all of this leads to increased hormone levels (because chemistry), which eventually lead to happiness and engagement within your organization.
- For employers: Healthy employees = productive employees
As if wellness isn’t enough, there’s actually more to gain than happy, healthy employees. Optimal ergonomics are proven to increase employee engagement and productivity, making functional office design a worthwhile investment.
Is Space a Solution?
Industries, companies, and employees alike are evolving their expectations of flexibility as it relates to office work and office space. Further, corporate values related to physical and mental health, a sense of autonomy, and connection to one’s work are maturing.
Investing in new corporate headquarters, coworking spaces, and hot desking solutions are obvious fixes for the needs of today’s workforce, but they come with their own issues. General distractions, and a loss of ownership, branding, and security are all examples of a suboptimal work environment. And we’ve all heard about Apple employees walking into glass walls, right?
So how about a hybrid model—where a traditional office works in conjunction with a modular space? It’s a low risk strategy for supporting the changing nature of your company’s work and your employee’s changing values. Modular offices can act as your home base, while allowing your team the flexibility of working from home or from the office. And cost-savings are significant because the spaces are only paid for when used—so there’s no lost overhead.
Stop paying for kegs of beer that go flat before they’re finished, or steep energy bills to light up largely empty rooms, and instead find a truly flexible solution that suits you and your team’s evolving needs.
Book a Breather location in your city to discover the benefits of a working in a flexible environment.