Creating ‘Stickiness’ in Your Workplace: Is Your Office People Ready?

Our guest blogger is Maurice Benatar.
Maurice Benatar is Vice President, Business Development and Marketing a Mayhew, a Thornhill, Ontario company specializing in workplace design and solutions.

Collaborative Workspaces Induce Productivity

Attraction and retention of talent has taken on new challenges since the economic downturn that irreparably changed the way companies acquire skilled resources. The flux in the job market, rise of contingent workers, outsourcing of support staff, and the generational shift ushering in technology enabled Milliennials have all spawned new workplace behaviours. The separation of work and home life is a traditionalist relic now blurred by social media, alternative work strategies and tethered expectations facilitated by smartphones and an increasingly global economy.

So how as a company do you retain good talent? The short answer is that retention is no longer the prime directive. Engagement is by and large the mandate providing flexible work strategies that align with the expectations of a fickle labour force, enticed by Google cultural complexes, fitness facility options, and generally warm and friendly environments. Of course there are other less tangible factors that come into play including commitments to sustainability, good corporate citizenship and brand profile.

With workforce trends changing employee behaviour, the evolution of the office has in many cases lagged behind as evidenced by the preponderance of empty desks. Progressive organizations have recognized the need to provide collaborative workspaces and tools to induce productivity. The lack of suitable meeting rooms and absence of appropriate work settings means employees are not engaged at the workplace and that the office does not have the ‘stickiness’ to act as the cultural work center of that organization. People need to have a sense of participation in the collective enterprise and the best place to do this is in the office.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.24.22 AMThe office is under pressure to exert itself in the face of competition. That competition can be alternative work spaces like the home office, co-working environments and companies who provide a range of work options and tools which foster collaboration and team interaction. Steelcase, a global furniture manufacturer, refers to this as palette of choice. Engagement is in part driven by the autonomy to choose the spaces, technology and tools to get work done. By providing a selection of workplace settings, meeting rooms and more lifestyle driven environments which foster cultural interaction, even those employees who have work outside options prefer the office as their go-to workplace. A recent study by Steelcase and Corenet Global showed that 86 percent of companies offer alternative work strategies yet few workers are taking advantage of the flexible approach. Nearly half the companies reported that 10% or less of their employees routinely work remotely  and more than 70% of workers still see the office as the best space to collaborate with colleagues and access tools and technology.

What is clear is that organizations that provide choice and leverage their workspace to meet the changing needs of the workforce will have a competitive advantage. Through smart design and planning, these companies can empower their employees to be more productive and reaffirm the cultural glue that sets it apart as a desirable place to work.

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