Right size, Right fit
While the office is no stranger to change, the pandemic introduced a new and unexpected competitor – the home office. According to research by Leesman, a world leader in measuring and analysing the experiences of employees in their places of work, up to 56% of employees have a dedicated personal office space in their home. This means more than half have a convenient setup featuring comforts and amenities that many office spaces will struggle to match.
In recent times, the workplace has had to work harder than ever to entice people back. It now must be worth the time, effort, and cost of a commute, putting employers under increasing pressure to strike the right balance and ensure their people realise the advantages of working in the office.
During the pandemic, many employees enjoyed comforts while working at home, such as an ample supply of their favourite hot drinks and snacks, a clean bathroom and kitchen, or the opportunity to curl up and work from the sofa with a pet nearby — and some continue to take advantage of in hybrid working systems today. This has led offices to take on a more human-centric approach to compete. Biophilic design, soft textiles, agile working facilities and many of the other concepts behind the world’s best workplaces will have a role to play. We’re even seeing offices with pods where employees can take a nap!
Increasingly, offices enable people to spend time with colleagues socially and create a collaborative workplace that promotes more than just working – something you can’t get at home. Concepts such as yoga classes, pop-up retail and catering and event spaces make the office more than just a place of work.
While aesthetics and plentiful communal areas are in demand for comfort and socialisation, they are not the only consideration. The workplace needs to provide an experience that’s inviting enough for employees to leave the comforts of home.
The home might provide these comforts, but the office will always have aces up its sleeve. Gone are the days when technology at home supersedes office equipment. Workplaces are investing in more cutting-edge IT systems to improve efficiencies, support productivity, retain talent and lower operational costs. Higher internet speeds, AV equipment, desk booking systems, air conditioning and air quality control monitoring make the workplace a more productive setting than the home office.
Merely supplying state of the art technology and equipment is never the answer though. We know technology can be a nightmare if it is not managed correctly and there’s nobody to lend a helping hand. Leesman reported that 73% feel more supported using technical equipment when in the office. Among several other service excellence deliverables, our Anabas floor captains are expertly trained and upskilled to provide technical support to building users with including AV set up for meetings and events. This makes it simple for employees within our buildings to focus on their area of expertise and leave the technical function to us.
The same goes for professional development. Office occupancy levels are directly impacted by the suitability of the office as an environment for learning, development and upskilling. Research from Leesman’s Purposeful Presence report shows that 82% of employees feel more supported learning from others in the office. When the office becomes a platform for career development that can’t be duplicated at home, attendance rises. Career development is critical to employee engagement.
Being more present in the workplace can improve contribution recognition. Anabas runs what it calls the Small Decencies awards programme. All managers have reward vouchers to distribute if a staff member performs particularly well, along with a personal thank you note. Anabas has given out hundreds of Small Decencies awards, they can be very powerful motivators.
At Anabas, we encourage and empower our own employees to take part in professional development opportunities. Since joining Anabas, Kelly Graves is now completing her CIPD level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management which will form the foundation to progress into a more senior HR role.
Anabas operational teams are upskilled to deliver a five-star experience for clients. For example, floor captains are trained to support teams with frontline technical support including setting up AV equipment for important meetings and presentations in the office.
To further facilitate engagement, implementation of new roles such as employee experience managers or workplace community managers are also on the rise. With the current challenges of recruitment and the ever more important task of retaining good talent, employee engagement and culture are king. Gen Z especially thrives on engagement and experiences and prioritises training and development opportunities, reward and recognition, mental health, empathy, and work and personal identities.
Organisations are increasingly relying on their facilities managers to know how to get the most out of the office. This means watching, listening, and learning to make the office a pleasurable place to be, a place that aids personal and professional development and provides equipment and technical resource to make someone’s day that bit more productive and enjoyable.
Next week in part three of our Finer Details blog series, we will explore collaborative environments at work.