The workplace should be used as a physical advertisement to attract and retain the best talent yet, for many UK Plcs and SMEs it’s still an under-utilised asset.
A workplace is more than just a place of work. It houses the community, people, processes, ideas and culture that make a business but it’s rarely showcased as a means for differentiation. It gets little mention on company websites or as part of the marketing effort even though its contribution to the War for Talent is huge.
Our place of work affects our ability to be productive, feel supported and have a social and communicative connection with colleagues. It’s one of the key enablers of business and one of the factors that Millennials (soon to dominate the world of work) will most definitely seek out during their job search.
Today’s workplace design is already responding to the wants and expectations of Millennials and this will only increase, for they will soon make up the bulk of the UK workforce. The Intelligence Group’s study found that 88% of Millennials prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one, 74% want flexible work schedules and 88% want work life integration – the idea that personal and professional time can be blended together with ease and within one day.
As our most connected and tech savvy generation, Millennials expect the spaces they occupy to be fit for purpose. For workplace design this requires social and collaborative spaces where team work and problem solving is enabled. It means seamless connectivity so a multitude of devices and platforms can be used in tandem. It involves recognising that personal and professional lives are intertwined and that relaxation zones have just as much value as areas for productivity. It means putting directors and workers together to enable the best transfer of knowledge and workplace mentoring. It involves bringing organisations values to life so that employees feel wedded to them and sharing social projects so that employees see the wider contribution they make to the business and beyond.
Offices full of desks have little appeal, instead they crave creative community spaces and activity based work settings where they are free to use the spaces as they see fit. So communal village green spaces are peppered with individual work pods, private booths, meeting tables, soft seating and desks. Meeting rooms vary in size, design and formality and spaces are increasingly unallocated. Relaxation areas include reading corners, well-stocked kitchens and yoga zones.
For a while there was talk that workplaces may cease to have value in an age of mobile and remote working, but big businesses now realise the real value of creating spaces that employees actively choose to occupy. Employees, particularly Millennials, want to be in spaces that stimulate and excite, that promote collaboration, build community, share values and aid creativity. Tie all this into your workplace design and you will cater for your workforce of tomorrow and have another powerful weapon in the ‘War for Talent’.