Careers

Is your workspace social enough?

An organisation’s success is directly correlated to the performance of its people. A suitably-designed Workplace goes a long way towards creating an environment that encourages great ideas and promotes performance.

Today, employees demand a workplace that would facilitate collaboration and creativity. To create a workplace that is in keeping with the demand, traditional notions about workplaces should be unlearnt. The features of the modern workplace are: flexibility, agility, receptivity and sustainability.

Agile workspaces

Alternative and agile workplaces reflect the nature of the company's business. To create such workspaces, one has to reimagine how space and employee functions can be optimised. According to Harvard Business Review, the “office of the future will most likely include highly-networked, shared, multipurpose spaces that redefine boundaries between companies and improve everyone’s performance.”

As employees spend a considerable amount of time at the office, workspaces should be more than chairs, desks and meeting rooms. Still, I often encounter a question -

‘Is an alternative workplace same as hot-desking?’ My answer to this is:

a) Agility of a workplace is accelerated modification of real-estate space to suit any business model;

b) Alternative workplaces mean tailoring the programme to the specific needs of an organisation.

Combined, the outcome achieved optimises office space to drive down business costs. Transformed workplace designs should make the life and time spent at offices easier and more pleasant. As a result, employees are encouraged to work, share and innovate in an improved manner. The intent is to trigger the transition of ‘me to we’, which is the key driver of value creation for any business.

To implement a complete workplace transformation, it is important to be experimental and link your organisation’s vision to human behavior. At the same time, it is extremely important to understand the nature of your business.

Collisional conversations

Though technology is a vital tool in today's world to keep teams well-informed, face-to-face encounters more often are proven to enhance productivity and knowledge sharing.

Office designs should give an opportunity for accidental encounters as they lead to collisional conversations, ultimately increasing new thinking. Light and space are the other two things that will immediately catch your attention when you walk into any office. Hence, considerble attention to proper lighting and providing enough space are key to having a good workspace.

Organisations should offer a variety of places to encourage employees to move away from their desks, change postures, use standing work desks or explore other work areas such as open co-working spaces, private areas and working cafés.

Apart from the tangible benefits of real-estate cost reduction, implementing workplace strategy gives a plethora of invisible qualitative benefits such as improved employee productivity, satisfaction and retention.

I believe offices of the future will be designed more by sociologists than architects.

(Anshul Jain is Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield India.)

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 3:59:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/is-your-workspace-social-enough/article18508339.ece

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