17 Reasons you should formalize your mobile, activity-based, or unassigned desk program. Plus dozens of tips for how to do it.
New research shows strong trend toward formal workplace policies around activity-based working, unassigned desks, mobile work, and telework. Here’s what you need to know.
If you've been running your workplace program without formal policies, practices, and training, this is a must read. It's based on a new benchmarking report sponsored by IFMA's Workplace Evolutionaries.
The 'Tips' section offers dozens of must-have policies and guidelines for:
- Space usage
- Tools and Technology
- Remote or mobile workers
- And more
The objectives of this study are to 1) examine the direct effect of psychosocial work characteristics (as measured by job autonomy and work-related pressure) in relation to self-reported psychological morbidity symptoms and early retirement retentions, and 2) to investigate burnout as mediating variable of these postulated associations. The study involved 593 NHS consultants (Male = 63.1%) from hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales.
The study concluded that high job autonomy negatively predicted anxiety, depression, and intention to retire. While this may be intuitive to those familiar with the link between autonomy and employee engagement, this offers additional fodder for the argument against micromanagement and in favor of performance-based outcomes.
"In our study on flexibility in the modern workforce, we set out to determine whether a gap exists between flexibility supply and demand. In other words, how many people need flexibility, and how many people actually have it? To find out, we surveyed 1,583 white-collar professionals representative of the U.S. workforce at large."
While more than 9 out of 10 professionals surveyed say they want flexibility in when and where they work, less than half have it. The study also found:
- Only 29% felt the way the worked was sustainable over time
- Only 37% felt inspired by their workspace
- Only 29% said they brought their whole self to work
Respondents without flexibility were:
- 2x more likely to quit
- 2x more likely to be dissatisfied with work
- Had employee net promoter scores 48 points lower
The study suggests a wide range of flexible work options including flexible hours, flexible location, reduced travel, and part-time work.
Over a fifth of millennials have turned their back on a job because of the poor design of an office: 16%t of 18-24 year olds said that they have left a job because of how poorly designed the office was, while 31% of UK workers said their working environment makes is uninspired.
- Kitchen - check
- Meeting rooms - check
- Free coffee - check
- Ability to attract young talent - uncheck
What do they really care about?
- Natural light
- Air conditioning
- Interior lighting
- Doggie daycare
- Breakout areas that offer privacy
Admittedly, Mindspace has skin in the game, but this isn't the first study that shows what employers think their people want and what they really want is pretty darn different.
The bottom line: Ask them (the people you're trying to attract) what matters to them.
An common miscalculation in circulation space can underestimate usable area requirements by between 9% and 20%; a very significant difference that has both practical and legal ramifications.
This article explains how a simple error in the application of a circulation multiplier in a space program can have serious consequences, putting your firm at risk for advising the client to purchase, build, or lease a space that is too small for their needs. It is a simple error, one the authors have seen made by well-known firms.
The bottom line is, if you want 30% circulation space in a 10,000 square foot area, you need multiply the program elements (e.g., offices, workstations, meeting rooms, support areas) by 42.86%, not 30%.
HOK's new report, “The New Financial Workplace,” is an investigation of the forces reshaping the financial industry and how workplace design can position these companies for success.
This 35-page paper examines the banking industry, the threats it's facing, and how their workplace strategies are evolving to meet the challenge. It includes:
- Threats and challenges
- Disruptive technologies
- Talent imperatives
- Benchmarking data
- Case studies
- Industry trends
While the paper is industry-specific, other sectors will find the journey enlightening.
"On a given day, only 10 percent of people say “thank you” to colleagues—and 60 percent of people report that they never or very rarely express gratitude at work. So OpenIDEO posed a challenge for the best ideas on how express gratitude in the workplace. Over 300 contributions later they announced the winners.
You can have a look at the winning ideas here, but the real winners are the employers that are doing something about the sad state of gratitude. In addition to lower turnover, research by Harvard and Wharton shows a simple 'thank you' can boost productivity by over 50%.
The article points to a number of great research papers and articles about gratitude. Here are a few quick tips for getting started:
- Start at the top; people want to hear it from the boss
- Thank the people who do thankless work
- Quality and authenticity trump quantity
- Gratitude isn’t one-size-fits-all
- Make it personal
And there's a bonus in expressing gratitude. It feels good.
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Maybe many of the assumptions we make about Gen Y aren’t unique to this generation. Maybe they’re specific to young people in general, writes Amanda Ruggeri
Garbage in, garbage out as they say, and in terms of designing for millennials, your workplace may be the garbage. That Gen Y is so different really is fake news. Remember beanbag chairs, lava lamps, and nahru jackets? What if workplaces had been completely redesigned to fit young boomers?
This article debunks nearly all we think we know about Millennials. Compared to other generations:
- They work harder
- They are more respectful of authority
- They stay on the job longer
Though not covered in this article, other research shows they are not more collaborative, tech savvy, or social.
Critically, in terms of workplace design, like every generation in the past, they will change throughout their lives. Already, the trends are showing the eldest among them are buying cars, having kids, and moving to the suburbs to raise them.
The bottom line is, it's time to stop making assumptions about how people are , get out there and talk to them about what they want and need, and design with the knowledge that they will change over time.
“We are building the kind of space we need for the future. We’re building for the employees here now and the eighth graders who will be here one day,” said Michael Ford, general manager of Global Real Estate and Facilities. “In the past, the employee had to flex to the space. Now, the space flexes to the employee.”
The refresh will, of course, be infused with technology, but more important to Microsoft is the employee experience. It will include:
- Apps for wayfinding, parking, intracampus shuttles, transit, and even placing lunch orders
- Driverless vehicle parking/pickup points
- A cricket pitch
- Potentially a food-growing program heated by the buildings servers
Similar projects will be undertaken in Ireland, Israel, Silicon Valley, Brazil and elsewhere.
“Increasingly, green building project teams have attempted to incorporate biophilic design into their projects, but often their efforts amount to adding trees and plants or water features to their buildings. I believe this is because nothing in their training or backgrounds has prepared them for this exercise, and their experience with green building rating systems has trained them to fulfill the minimum requirements of a checklist without thinking past that step. True biophilic design goes much further and deeper.”
This excerpt from Amanda Sturgeon’s new book, Creating Biophilic Buildings, looks at how Google employed biophilic principles in every aspect of their Chicago headquarters design. Google turned a windowless cold storage warehouse into a light-filled space. Key biophilic elements:
- Daylighting promotes circadian rhythms and reduce stress. Task lights with color temperature settings
- Places of refuge – private spaces where employee can feel protected but not unconnected
- Direct visual connections to the outdoors
- Video walls that undulate patterns of nature
She stresses the need for making biophilia part of the design strategy, rather than placing a few green things around as an afterthought.