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The future of work has far reaching consequences on people, organization culture and structure, on management styles, on policies and systems and on the workplace itself. The workforce is in a state of global transition today – the old structures and systems are giving way to the new, there is a shift all across the working world– geographically, demographically, economically and culturally. Employee wants and expectations, attitudes and work ethics are changing at lightning speeds. People are working across geographic locations, but are located where most convenient for them and the organizations.
To accommodate these changes, the office in the future of work is also evolving and adjusting to the “work anywhere” approach. In addition, the innovative and disruptive nature of business in the new work world means a rethinking, reshaping and redesigning of the workspace within organizations.
“My office” is very often a virtual space
The march of technology has made possible remote location working where “my office” is very often a virtual space accessed through smart-phones, laptops and wireless networks rather than a physical work station. Employees are increasingly working from homes, coffee shops, clubs & lounges and while on the move.
Technology is being harnessed by companies in a big way to get work done, faster and at less cost via freelancers and consultants. Thus offices have to incorporate these expanded technologies into the spaces being designed for work.
To connect, to collaborate, to have social contact
But human nature being what it is, there is a need for people to connect, to collaborate, to have social contact, to build bonds with one another. So the new breed of workers do come into the official workplaces too.
The office thus has to provide the space for their interactions. Employees look forward to socializing over a coffee; they learn and grow at informal gatherings as much as in formal training sessions. Offices that offer spaces for such conversations are well placed to blend into the modern business environment – connecting informally with co-workers in and around the office is a major bonus for the new breed of workers.
Employees also need to collaborate and discuss work issues – in person or through conference calls, virtual meetings etc. – the workplace has to provide meeting hubs that are inspiring and energizing so as to motivate workers to put their best foot forward. The new generation desire open communication, in sharing work and workspaces; hence there are partition-less offices, co-working areas and joint work stations – offices are adopting a collaborative ethos to incorporate the requirements of the future of work.
Improving performance, inspiring creativity and innovation
Successful organizations are aware that well-designed offices are key to improving performance, inspiring creativity and innovation, creating a collaborative work environment and nurturing employees. They promote employee well-being and motivate them to reach for the stars. Congenial workplaces help in building healthy cultures. Organizations are exploring the possibilities of developing workspaces that can be adapted to different locations, they are testing the value of in-office sleep pods, recreational areas, relaxation rooms and gyms.
For organizations to be successful in the future of work, they thus have to plan, design and create workplaces that inspire, motivate, encourage and exhibit concern for workers, that ensure employee engagement and collaboration, that integrate employee wellbeing with organizational strategy, aims and objectives, that enhance employee bonding and lead to higher productivity and greater profits.