You might think there has never been a better time to work in an office. Through the implementation of technology and in-depth research into how employees interact with their environment, we’ve overcome many of the office challenges of the past.
But all of these modern advances still haven’t completely conquered some of our trickiest office challenges.
Technology has, in fact, reshaped the way we work. The Internet, for example, made teamwork much more seamless. As a result, modern workers now demand office environments that promote collaborative work. And when you consider the constraints brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the modern office challenges seem even more daunting.
Rest assured, though: You’re not alone. It’s possible to plan around some of the modern office challenges by knowing what you’re likely to face. Here are a few to look out for.
1. Employees Aren’t Sitting Still
Whether it’s because of health concerns or the changing nature of work, employees aren’t using their desks in the way they once did.
In fact, NowSytl, an office design company, found the average desk occupancy level within companies is only 55 percent. What this tells us is workers are either moving about the office throughout the day and aren’t spending time at their individual workstation or are instead working remotely. Either way, it’s a stark contrast from the way we typically envision offices.
Changing workstyles necessitate a change in the way offices are designed. Instead of designating workspaces for individual teammates, office managers should create common work areas throughout the office. Team members moving throughout the office over the course of the day will therefore no longer need to worry about having to travel back to their desk when they have open time to work on individual or team projects.
We’ve also mentioned before how flexible work arrangements are poised to restructure the office. With teammates no longer working in the office five days a week, there is simply no need to have rigid workspace assignments. Rather, your staff should focus on creating open and welcoming space for workers who might only be in the office once or twice a week. Again, it’s a good idea to focus on creating communal areas for work since a premium will be placed on interaction between teammates given the amount of time they’re now spending working from home.
2. Generational Clashes Over Working Styles
The number of articles written about the impact of Millennials in the workplace is seemingly endless, so we won’t belabor the point. But Millennials, along with their Gen Z counterparts, are different.
Much of the previously mentioned demand for collaborative work environments stems from the growing number of younger workers. Most of them attended schools and participated in activities throughout their childhood and early adulthood that celebrated team work. For Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, however, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Studies show older workers desire recognition and pay over collaboration. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that, but it means they likely won’t concern themselves over whether an office employs an open design concept in hopes of promoting collaboration. Some of the modern amenities younger employees seek out, such as cafes and gyms within the office building, are unlikely to top the list of priorities for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, either.
Balancing these competing priorities should be an imperative for any management team. You could start by assembling a cross-sectional employee experience team. Ideally, this team will include employees from different age groups and functions. During routine meetings, you can discuss and address the major issues affecting your staff as a whole and also communicate major upcoming projects that have the potential to affect the staff as a whole.
In the long run, your teammates will be grateful for management’s efforts at transparency around major initiatives as well as its willingness to keep employee concerns top of mind.
3. An Increased Focus on More Cognitively-Demanding Tasks
In the past, most companies sought to compete by creating a line of products superior to those offered by their competitors. While this is still true for some firms, the vast majority in the United States now compete over the quality of their services.
It’s certainly harder to innovate around services. Unlike product innovations, where changes are tangible and easier to imagine, service innovations often involve wading into unfamiliar territory. Companies, therefore, need employees with a great deal of creative capacity. And to unlock this captivity, they need workspaces that promote creative thinking.
Oftentimes, the best ideas are generated when someone is working in solitude. But how is that possible given the demand for open work environments?
Start by identifying underutilized locations within your office. These are ideal creative spaces for your employees. Try to make them as conducive from creative thought as possible. For example, you might want to consider installing soft lighting in the room as well as placing it in a well lit area. As an added bonus, you might want to give them easy access to speakers through which they can play soft music while they work.
Make sure teams within your company that most often take part in creative work have easy access to these spaces. You’ll want to locate them near the common work areas for these teams.
Creating a work environment tailored to your staff’s needs starts with an office moving company dedicated to unmatched customer service. Nodus Office Movers is here to help.
Contact us today for a free office move estimate!