By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
SpaceIQ

It’s no secret the workplace is evolving. It’s been changing for years now. In the last decade, we’ve gone through numerous iterations of what the “ideal” workplace looks like. What makes 2020 different from years prior is the focus on workplace culture. More change is coming down the pike and there are several workplace culture predictions to examine.

The reason it’s so important to look at trends in workplace culture is because it has a huge bearing on productivity. Happy employees do better work, provide consistency, and attract similarly good workers to your business. Even the best office layout in the world won’t save your business from low morale, which is why shaping company culture is a critical part of workplace design.

Here are four up-and-coming workplace culture trends. Getting familiar with them now means understanding how your workplace can and should be shaped around the people in it.

1. Preserving and promoting work-life balance

Across the board, one of the top predictions for the workplace culture is preserving and promoting work-life balance. This is a trend largely fueled by Gen Z’s entrance into the workforce.

Younger workers are putting more of an emphasis on life outside of work, as much or more than they focus on work itself. Gen Z has made it clear they’re willing to work, but not at the expense of their freedom. Further, they want to work at a company that understands and embraces this ideology. They demand a workplace that offers flexible hours, lifestyle conveniences, and accommodation that aligns with life’s unpredictability.

Some examples of good work-life balance include simple amenities, like an on-site gym or a quiet workplace meditation room. Child care and kitchen areas are also rising in popularity at Gen Z-friendly workplaces. Among the intangibles, flexible working hours outside of the standard 9-to-5 are highly prized, as well as the ability to work off-site.

Modern employees want to live their lives as much as they want to hold down a good job. As more choose the former over the latter, companies need to adapt workplaces to meet those needs.

2. A clear focus on health and wellness

Wellness is central in today’s modern lifestyle. There’s more variety and information than ever about diets, supplements, exercise, lifestyle choices, and mental health. Employees are taking it to heart and their views are shaping modern workplaces.

Standing desks and alternative desk options are taking over, as more data about the health implications of sitting becomes mainstream. On the mental health front, workspaces are being adapted to meet different individual needs—quiet rooms for introverts, social areas for extroverts, outdoor areas, luxury spaces, and more.

Cramped, disorganized, and distracting workplaces won’t be tolerated by workers who demand space that’s comfortable, accommodating, clean, and interesting. For companies pondering an office redesign, factoring in mental health and physical wellness is critical to good office design.

3. Remote workers and in-house staff, working in harmony

The number of remote employees exploding (read remote working trends). And for good reason. The benefits of remote working extend to companies and workers alike, making it a win-win situation.

The biggest qualm about remote working is that it fragments the workplace, creating a gap between employees who occupy traditional desks in-office and those working from home or coworking spaces. While valid, this is a concern that’s going to change sooner than most people think. Thanks to hot desks and agile workspaces, remote workers may find themselves working alongside their office counterparts more often.

Hot desks and agile spaces are flexible enough to give remote workers the freedom they crave, with the structure they need to do good work. For employers, it allows for space consolidation or maximization of square footage. Remote employees can and will work off-site, but when projects or group work brings them in-house, the gap between them and office workers is dramatically lessened.

4. The demise of the traditional office

One of the boldest predictions about the future of workplace culture is the concept that the “office” may not exist for much longer. It sounds outlandish, but there’s evidence many companies may start to shrink or even eliminate their offices in the coming months and years. Traditional workplaces are already being replaced by coworking spaces, remote workforces, and other alternatives.

Without a traditional office, workplace culture becomes of instant importance. To foster a good team, companies need to create cohesion in new and innovative ways that don’t depend on watercooler chit-chat or break room birthdays. This may mean convening at new coworking spaces, collaborating via messaging platforms, or exploring new modes of communication like video chatting.

If your office is disappearing, pay close attention to communication amongst your staff. Building a good culture through communication is the way of the future for telecommuting and cloud-based companies.

Embrace the change

Company culture plays an important role in how efficiently your workplace functions and what kind of results you get from the people in it. Taking steps to foster a progressive, supportive culture means paying attention to the shifting demands of your workforce. Follow these trends as they continue to develop in 2020 and start thinking about how you can adapt your workplace in tandem with them.