9 Steps to Implementing Change in the Workplace: Agile Spaces
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What we think of as the “traditional office” (clusters of cubicles in the center of a space, surrounded by private offices around the perimeter) is going away—about 70% of US offices have some type of “open office” design. Companies are starting to go beyond just workplace space planning by investing in healthy building features and looking for ways to provide more choice and autonomy to their employees, but why? Are these strategies actually working, or are they just following trends? Is it worth it to redesign your office layout and make dramatic changes to how your employees work?
Check out our infographic highlighting some statistics that shed some light on how the workspace impacts the employee experience and what that might mean for your company:
1. Innovative companies are 5 times more likely to have workplaces that prioritize individual and group workspace
Gensler’s 2016 U.S. Workplace Survey found that workplace design was one of the key drivers of innovation within an organization. They found that the most innovative companies had workplaces designed for the individual worker that also provided resources for collaborative group work. Employees at these companies reported better relationships with management and said they found more meaning in their work.
2. 69% of businesses that implemented healthy building features reported improvements in employee satisfaction and engagement
A report from the World Green Building Council looked at companies around the world that have upgraded their buildings to offer healthy, “green” features and found positive results like:
- Lower absenteeism rates
- Increased productivity
- More collaboration
Environmental factors like indoor air quality, lighting, acoustics, interior layout, and biophilia (adding plants in and out of the workspace) are all associated with worker performance. Workplace space planning can also mean testing your office’s air quality and ensuring it’s well-ventilated, which can increase cognition scores for your employees. Making sure your workers have access to natural daylight can improve their sleep, which can lead to higher productivity.
3. People are 12% more likely to report being happy with their job when they have freedom and autonomy in their work environment
Much of the backlash against open office layouts comes from concern over noise and privacy. An activity-based workspace, however, offers open spaces where large groups can work together (or at least near each other), but also provides spaces meant for focused, solo work.
Throughout the day, people shift between four work modes: focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize. When your workplace space planning recognizes this, employees are empowered to choose the best setting for their work each day—either based on their to-do list (start in a breakout room for collaborating in the morning and move to a more private space to write a report in the afternoon) or on personal preferences. Let the chatty extroverts work in groups while the introverts use the focus rooms.
4. 37% of job candidates will accept a job with a lower salary if the company offers appealing culture, workplace facilities and technology
A study by Hassell and Empirica Research looked at how workplace space planning and office design affects how attractive the company is to job-seekers. In a nutshell, they found that it does. Employees today look at salary, yes, but if the offered salary is competitive and fair, they also pay attention to other factors, including workplace facilities and aesthetics, the technology provided, and workplace culture.
This means that even if you can’t offer top salaries, you can still attract top talent if you have an attractive workplace with appealing facilities and a positive culture.
5. 42.5% of the global workforce will be mobile employees by 2022
In 2017, the mobile workforce made up 38.8% of the global workforce. Employers should recognize this trend and prepare to manage an increasingly mobile talent force by providing the right technology and designing mobile-ready spaces to accommodate them (think: making it easy for your West Coast sales director to find a place to work in your Manhattan office when she’s there for meetings, or having conference rooms outfitted with technology to make video calls easy and glitch-free).
6. 85% of respondents in a CBRE survey expect to see increase in mobility in the workplace through activity-based workplaces
Mobility in the workplace doesn’t just mean working remotely. Employees who primarily work in one office also want flexible work policies and the opportunity to move around within that office. And workplace space planning doesn’t just affect employees in the office. Those who are working remotely or traveling need to still feel connected to their colleagues in the office. And in fact…
7. 70% of employees age 16-44 say they want to be more mobile at work
A report from Fuze looked at how work is changing and how technology—also a key part of workplace space planning—can help employees work more effectively, leading to more collaboration and innovation. Look at the technology your employees currently use, both in the office and when working remotely. Is it enabling people to work well, according to their preferences? Or are they forced to use cumbersome equipment and outdated applications?
8. 30% of energy used in a commercial building is wasted
According to Energy Star, it can be relatively easy to find ways to save energy—and money. Workplace space planning for your office allows you to manage building systems more efficiently. For example, you might find that your heater is set to turn on a full hour and a half before anyone comes into the office in the morning. There are huge opportunities to be a better environmental steward and save your company thousands or even millions of dollars on energy costs.