It’s the time of year again where we like to look at trends emerging for the year to come. Here’s our review for 2020.
Probably the biggest trend for us is the growing importance for HR and business leaders of the workplace experience itself as part of the overall employee experience. This puts Facility and HR teams in a shared position of making that workplace work as well as it can to engage employees & boost productivity.
[These are just our considered opinions and if you’d like to join the conversation please get in touch! ]
TREND 1 – AN INCREASED FOCUS ON THE WORKPLACE EXPERIENCE
The workplace experience we mean the experience by employees of the workplace itself, its services, amenities, its design and even the emotions it evokes.
We are living in an experience economy – this concept was first described in the Harvard Business Review over 20 years ago and refers to the fact that as individuals we consume products and services not just for what they physically provide, but also for the experience (Air BNB, SamsungGear, WeWork). In the experience economy the workplace offers rational, emotional, sensory, physical and even spiritual experiences for employees.
Facility Management focus is shifting from cost reduction to achieving a return on investment in people. FM Managers now ask how to increase productivity of the workforce through the workplace itself, not just through return per square metre and better room efficiency but also through engagement.
By engagement we’re mean being psychologically in tune with the organisation. Research has shown that engaged workers do better – they’re more productive. And the workplace can make the emotional connections important for engagement.
33% of employees say that the design of a workplace would influence their decision to work at a company. Most recruits have consulted Glassdoor and other peer reviews to get an insight into an organisation, including its facilities and coffee machine! The workplace has the potential to attract talent, and to help retain people.
The trend where Facility Manager becomes an Experience Manager will continue in 2020. FM’s will deliver value to the organisation by boosting productivity, talent acquisition and retention.
TREND 2 – THE WORKPLACE AS PART OF THE CORPORATE BRAND
“Every second of every working day there is an opportunity for the workplace to enhance or diminish people’s performance; to reinforce or dilute messages about brand and culture… and to articulate the truth around how the organisation feels about its people.” says Advanced Workplace Associates founder Andrew Mawson in his 2016 report, ‘Designing and Delivering effective Workplace Experiences’.
Using the workplace as a resource to convey the personality and values of an organisation will grow in popularity in 2020. Particularly with company mergers and acquisitions where staff are experiencing big changes (more about this here). Each coffee corner, collaboration space and wall space is an opportunity to translate the organisation’s personality into day-to-day enjoyable experiences.
TREND 3 – FLEXIBILITY IN WORKPLACE FLOW
Workplace fit out will increasingly be based on needs of workforce and the variety of working styles and activities in one day. Office design is moving away from gimmicks like foosball and beer fridges, and toward impactful spaces and services that encourage and enhance collaborative work. It’s about encouraging team work and the cross pollination of ideas and encounters across departments.
We attended Workplace Week London 2019, where we visited organisations that are crafting the workplace experience, including Viacom’s EMEA HQ among others. Viacom is home to a wide diversity of people doing all sorts of jobs – scheduling, sales, digital, IT, consumer products etc. This workplace fosters deeper and better collaboration between all, with ‘collision zones’ planned to create interactions at reception areas and break out rooms and spaces.
TREND 4 – BIOPHILIA – MORE NATURAL ELEMENTS IN THE WORKPLACE
Biophilia refers to the practice of incorporating plants, water, sunlight and other natural elements in the workplace. Studies have shown that connection with nature, heat/cool, fresh air and the presence of water all have positive impacts on us, reducing stress, improving performance and mood. Our bodies and brains respond to these parts of nature, and this increases our creativity, focus and wellbeing.
The Human Spaces Report 2018 (7600 office employees in 16 countries) found that workers in environments featuring natural elements report a 15% higher level of wellbeing. Connections can be as indirect as an image of greenery. And it can be more subtle too – even borrowing colours, pattern and textures and shapes from nature. With 24% of workers saying that their workplace does not provide them with a sense of light and space we see this trend blossoming in 2020.
TREND 5 – TECH TO CREATE FRICTIONLESS ENVIRONMENTS
Time is new luxury. Higher end tech will become more commonplace to help workers offload non value-add tasks, and to increase engagement with workplace. We saw this at ASOS HQ in London, where employees interact with their workplace in the same way as users on their ecommerce website. Workers use an app for everything, from ordering a coffee, booking a room, checking lunch – apps developed and provided by their workplace service providers.
We also saw in this interesting study by Future Workplace that almost half of workers want to use an app to personalise their dedicated workplace environment – from temperature to lighting levels.
The potential of the workplace and its services to impact growth by engaging employees is becoming better understood. Exactly how that works is also becoming clearer. 2020 could see the workplace experience, an often-untapped resource, become a key performance enhancing tool for both Facility and HR leaders.
2468 works with our customers to improve their workplace experience through better tea, coffee and refreshment solutions and equipment, drinking water systems and high-quality washrooms. We plan, deliver and manage each service personally on a bespoke basis – by humans for humans. Contact us to talk more here.