Designing for the Changing Workforce… Attracting Top Performers & Emotionally Engaged Employees

Companies today are faced with unprecedented changes and challenges, not the lease of which is the changing workforce, driving the need for companies to examine the functionality of their existing workplace as it relates to the “new work force”.

1. What does the “new workforce” look like?

  • The Telecommuter- This worker works from home, on the road and only occasionally requires “in-office” space.
  • The Hoteller- This worker uses unassigned work spaces that require scheduling or reservations.  These “floating offices” are typically used by mobile workers or by workers within the office that are not near their assigned work station.
  • The Mobile Worker- This employee works both inside and outside the office, consistently using multiple spaces.
  • The Co-Worker- This worker shares a smaller off-site office in an area closer to their home.

All of these “offices of the future” require collaborative spaces for work, for sharing technology (i.e. video conferencing and file sharing) and for socializing

2. Why should a company re-design their office to adapt to the changing workforce?

  • The “Alternative Workforce” is expected to grow by 25% over the next 3 years
  • By reducing the square footage allotted to traditional office space and by increasing the space allotted to “Alternative Workspace” a company can realize significant reduction in overhead cost.
  • When employees are empowered by choosing where (and when) they work, it gives them a sense of control in their lives; at home and at work.
  • Increased visibility & functionality of office space
  • Research shows that companies who provide great workplaces tend to attract and retain top talent, have high workplace satisfaction which leads to increased commitment and higher level of performance.

3. How does  a company get started?

  • A thorough design review to measure effectiveness of existing space-both “traditional” and the “new workforce” (telecommuters, hotellers, and mobile workers)
  • Identify areas that need to be reconfigured or those that simply need to be maximized for even greater performance.
  • Generate space plans that provide solutions that are specific to the business and their future plans.  They should offer flexibility and adaptability.
  • The value of a smart space plan is that it is a tool that can be implemented in phases or as resources become available.  Even modest changes and improvements will help motivate employees.

The recession has caused many companies to downsize- both real estate and staff.  In becoming “leaner”, companies are more keenly aware of maximizing the effectiveness of their office space.  One thing for certain is that the office of the future will require flexibility to adapt to the ever changing needs of the new workforce.

Forward- thinking companies “Get It” and are choosing to invest in smart office design knowing that a well planned “office of the future” will be key in attracting and retaining top performing and emotionally engaged employees who will drive innovation and return on investment.

A recent renovation (see photo) of a growing and forward thinking Wilmington CPA firm shows a previously underutilized corridor that was converted into an attractive, yet highly functional storage/ hotelling area which will position the firm for growth in the future.

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