Companies with a one-size-fits-all approach to workplace design are failing to meet the needs and expectations of today’s multigenerational workforce, reveals report.
LONDON, 24 October 2019: A new report reveals the scale of the disconnect between the workplace experience and employee expectation. Undertaken by Chargifi, market leaders in the mass deployment and cloud management of wireless charging technology, the study polled more than 2,000 employees about their workplace experience and how workplace mobility affects their day-to-day lives. The new report reveals that companies with a one-size-fits-all approach to workplace design are failing to meet the real needs and expectations of today’s multi-generational workforce.
The concept of sociability and collaboration has dominated workplace design to date, hence the proliferation of open plan office spaces. This has been driven by a focus on the benefits of bringing colleagues together, but research shows little thought has been given to the needs and expectations of employees across generations or those who are looking for spaces or quiet zones to concentrate and think.
The new study by Chargifi found 54% of workers claim being able to concentrate on certain tasks is the most enjoyable aspect of offices that provide different spaces to work in, whilst 48% stated that seeking a quiet place to think was the most enjoyable aspect. Despite employees’ clear desire to work away from their desks, less than half (39%) said their office is set-up to enable them to do so. Furthermore, more than a quarter (27%) of people who are able to work from a dedicated desk said their workspace environment is not set up to allow them to do so.
When asked about the benefits of mobility around the workplace and the benefits of different workspaces, respondents claimed that wanting to spend time and interact with colleagues was not a priority. Less than a third (30%) said the main benefit is spending time with different co-workers. It is the youngest age group (18 – 24-year-olds) who most like the idea of moving around the office during the day.
Dan Bladen, CEO and co-founder at Chargifi. Comments: “Today’s employees want the freedom to be productive and creative without formal restrictions, and the freedom to move between spaces for different tasks. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to workplace design; today’s workforce is a colourful mix of multiple generations and users, each with different needs and expectations. Employers must ensure spaces are equipped with facilities that cater to these differences and allow fluidity in the office, enabled by technology and convenient access to power to provide a seamless and efficient experience.”
74% of people who felt their office was adequately set up to allow them to work away from their desks conveniently were more likely to agree with the statement “My current office allows me to be as productive as possible”. Tellingly, only 35% of people whose offices were not set up to allow them to work away from their desk conveniently agreed with that statement.
Despite the multitude of technology available, the research found that almost one fifth (18%) of workers agreed the technology their company provides does not allow them to be productive. This figure rises to 20% for those workers tied to a dedicated desk.
Joe Finlayson, Head of Enterprise Technology and Business Development at WeWork, who contributed to the report, comments on mobility and productivity in the workplace: “It [mobility] offers the flexibility and freedom for employees to work ‘their way’.
In tracking the utilisation of space, decision makers can analyse how the workplace is being used and establish effective spaces based on facts rather than guesswork – ones that enable and promote productivity. This is an important step in helping employees use their work environments effectively.
A frustration familiar to many office workers is setting-up the technology required to facilitate an effective meeting – accessing presentations on screen, plug into power, dial into calls. The research found only 46% of workers are able to set-up the required meeting-room technology in under four minutes.
Employees are also looking to cut the cord when it comes to powering devices. More than half (51%) of the workers surveyed would like to see their offices use wireless charging. The main benefits of this were not needing to carry charging cables (51%) and having full battery when leaving the office (44%).
“Wireless charging enables employees to leverage the space around them to be productive from anywhere in the office, not just at their desks. This ‘work from anywhere in the office’ concept also leads to better collaboration among employees, which increases engagement and efficiencies” said Finlayson.
Bladen concluded: “Workplace mobility is altering the way people work and futureproof workspaces, employers must invest in smart technology that is able to meet the evolving demands of a connected workforce for the long-term.”
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