Four Future Workplace Principles

Posted on October 26, 2021 by Brielle Scott and has no comment

How can organizations best position themselves to respond effectively to behavioral changes and new generational needs? What changes in the workplace can create a culture of creativity and success?

In a recent NAIOP webinar, Mark Bryan, certified futurist and director of innovation and research, M+A Architects, addressed these questions and shared some of the generational shifts his company has observed in the workforce and their potential impact on the built environment.

Bryan also identified four principles for the future workplace, based on those shifts and the emerging needs of the post-pandemic workforce.

Living fluidity

Agility and choice have become the norm. Workers will expect offices to be more accommodating in the future. The 9-to-5 schedule is gone, replaced by 24/7 scheduled access. Individual work styles will hyper-personalize the spaces of the department to allow for a team-optimized work style. Workdays become more fluid based on need, but also more exciting as new room types allow for the “choose your own adventure” mode. Accommodating also provides integrated accessible spaces that address physical and mental disabilities or cognitive problems so that spaces are inviting for everyone.

How to start today?: Restructure the office to be available 24/7, never dark and flexible to meet individual work and personal needs.

Liminal Identity

With more flexible/agile/choice-based working, our liminal/gaps are much more prioritized. The need for mental resets requires ladder spaces that provide a break-to-reset moment. Liminal spaces will become the way to enable continuous renewal of joy as they constantly make the workplace feel new. These interstices allow for water cooler chatter and for employees to take their personal artifacts to work if they don’t have a fixed workspace. DEI can be addressed through these areas if employees feel seen and heard through problem boards and areas.

How to start today?: Rethink hallway and lobby areas as transitional areas and places for onboarding/mental breaks. Develop facilities that are attractive to remote talent.

Coach makers and further training

Creativity is the new productivity. Managing future employees is done by leaders who behave more like a coach than a boss. New training and maker spaces will enable employees to develop creative and design skills. Upskilling improves development, not only in the workplace, but also personal skills. New employees can be trained at destination locations or in further training centers/zones. The newly developed workforce will be measured by what they can create in a day versus completing a task.

How to start today?: Begin to understand the skills your employees want to develop personally and professionally. Partner with or develop your own upskilling or reskilling center to attract, engage and retain employees.

Cultural Magnets

Culture becomes the face of your business, the spaces your customers want and the buildings they occupy. As many leaders struggle to solve the WFH/remote work/flexible schedule equation, they will work to identify what their future culture should look like and use that definition to realign their space. These spaces are open to more than just their employees, they anchor them in the community. For success, many companies will create hub-and-spoke offices, dispersing the central core and looking for remote cultural centers to keep employees engaged.

How to start today?: Provide your customers with a cultural assessment to engage them in ways to understand their current culture, what needs to be fixed, and ways to turn culture into space to bring employees back together.

Bryan concluded that with the widespread shift in priorities from ‘work to live’ to ‘work for life’, many employees want to align their personal values ​​with those of their company.

“The workplace often becomes the face of the company.”

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