Many of what we once considered alternative workplace strategies, have now become mainstream. Now in its fifth year, this benchmarking study was conducted by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), Global Workplace Analytics, and Haworth Inc., and additionally supported by Workplace Evolutionaries, a community of practice within the International Facilities Management Association. Over 130 organizations representing over 2.3 million global employees responded. The results were compared to longitudinal data collected across four similar surveys fielded since 2008.
The 'Once Alternative Workplace Strategies Report’, reveals significant changes in how and where people work. Some of the more interesting findings include:
- The worry over a loss in productivity when people are able to work anywhere is entirely unfounded.
- People impacts, rather than cost savings, are now the primary measure of success
- Internal mobility has more than doubled since 2008; External mobility (working at home, coworking places, outside the office) has remained flat
- Nearly half of employees are still permanently assigned to one space; no change since 2008
- Employee involvement in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of workplace change programs has decreased significantly
The free 50+ page report can be downloaded at http://we.ifma.org/resources/we-research/.
You've got a full hour until your next meeting. But you probably won't make the most of that time, new research suggests. In a series of eight studies, both in the lab and real life, researchers found that free time seems shorter to people when it comes before a task or appointment on their calendar.
According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, free time seems shorter when it precedes a meeting, appointment, or even lunch with a friend.
So, if you ask a person how much time they had to read in a free hours, on average they'd say 50 minutes. They pad it with a "just in case factor." If they have a meeting scheduled an hour from now, they double the padding and estimate 40 minutes. These results were consistent with real life studies and, by the way, the opposite was true also. People get more done when their time is not bounded by stop time.
So how do we get that time back? The author has two suggestions: 1) stack meetings close together for part of the day and leave the balance for unbounded work, and 2) train yourself to remember you actually have more time than you think.
"Americans took more than 500 million domestic business trips in 2016. And while many workplace health programs for business travel provide immunizations, information about avoiding food-borne illness, and alerts about civil or political unrest, few focus on a more a common threat to health: the stress, sleep interruption, unhealthy eating and drinking, and lack of exercise that are common side effects of being on the road."
The study found that compared to those who spent 6 nights or less away from home, those who traveled for business 14 or more nights a month had higher body mass scores and were more likely to report symptoms of anxiety, depression, alcohol dependence, physical inactivity, and poor sleep. For extreme travelers, those who spent 21 or more nights a month traveling for business, were 92% more likely to be obese.
The HBR article suggests employers:
- Rethink the need for employee travel
- Increase employee awareness of the need to eat, exercise and sleep well while traveling
- Provide stress management and sleep hygiene training
- Book travelers at hotels that offer fitness options and/or provide gym memberships they can use wherever they travel
"Some firms say they care about the well-being and “happiness” of their employees. But are such claims hype or scientific good sense? We provide evidence, for a classic piece rate setting, that happiness
makes people more productive."
This rigorously academic study, showed employee happiness predicted a 10-12% increase in productivity across three different styles of experiment. The opposite proved true as well.
Rigorous study measures dramatic improvement in employee performance factors following 2.5 day well-being course
"Programs focused on employee well-being have gained momentum in recent years, but few have been rigorously evaluated. This study evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention designed to enhance vitality and purpose in life by assessing changes in employee quality of life (QoL) and health-related behaviors."
Johnson & Johnson's Human Performance Institute teamed up with Tufts University to study the impact of an intensive 2.5 day well-being intervention that focused on energy management. Six months later, they measured marked improvements in participants' vitality, general health, mental health, social functioning, sense of purpose, and sleep quality.
It's a heavy read with 10 authors, 48 footnotes, and a heap of statistics, but it's an important one. It shows, among other things, that we need to measure what matters. Though wellness interventions have scored poorly in reducing medical expenses, their ability to improve employee performance could be far more impactful.