08 Oct Why Do I Need an Office?
The whole idea of why we go to work has completely changed. We used to need the office for the simplest reason: as a physical structure with all necessary equipment and office supplies where the whole team can do work. But with the introduction of more mobile and flexible technology, this need has all but been eliminated.
Technology is affecting the way that we do business. We can work anywhere, anytime. So the question now is: why do we still need a workplace?
Well, we think there are a few good reasons to consider;
Connection to Each other
We still like going to our workplace because we want to interact with people. We want to connect with them and be part of a community with shared ideas and values. Our workplace is a place where we feel like we actually belong. And that sense of belonging creates a sense of wellbeing.
The workplace presents countless opportunities for us to socially connect with people. Not only does it increase our wellbeing, but it also helps us in our work. We need to collaborate with our colleagues because we can’t solve complex problems and challenges individually. We need an environment where we can bounce ideas off each other and come up with innovative solutions. Two heads are always better than one!
Connection to the Organisation
The workplace gives the organisation an opportunity to align the team with their purpose, their vision and their goals. It provides a platform to communicate these ideas and to create a space that encourages learning, collaboration, creativity, respect, and so much more.
Here are three ways to maximise that:
1. Instill organisation’s culture and values.
The workplace is an opportunity to influence the way that people think and feel. It is a way to shape your people and to align them with the organisation’s culture and values through physical ques that reinforce the desired behaviors that will see your organization thrive.
2. Create a space that supports your people.
A space that provides an optimum environment for different tasks. Because of technology and the resulting work flexibility, the boundary between work and life becomes more and more blurred. We are connected 24 hours a day. The workplace needs to be able to transition us through the different requirements of the day. It needs to be able to support us. A good workplace today supports our synergy for different types of work that we need to perform. There is an optimal environment whatever activity or task we have to do; sitting, standing, quiet, collaborative, group think, individual work, meeting, brainstorming…
3. Space for relaxation.
There is also shift away from the days of work being strictly a work environment, you know those rows of cubicles..? Dilbert style?. Thankfully the workplaces of the future are a lot less rigid and embracing green spaces, relaxation and mediation rooms creating a sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing amongst employees. Our homes used to be our retreat and relaxation spaces—a sanctuary at the end of a work day. But now, workplaces need to provide those retreat spaces as well. Our minds and bodies require this relaxation and our workplaces are adapting to provide this.
Another reason why we like going to the workplace is fulfilling our own sense of purpose. We want to make a valuable contribution in the work that we do. We want our work to be meaningful, something bigger than ourselves.
As human beings we need that sense of purpose. It drives us to do good work, even on days when we don’t feel like it. For some people, that purpose is the reason they get up every morning. And the workplace can contribute to that—a space of shared purpose.
In response to this changing need, workplace design innovations have become necessary. Today, there is a shift towards agile working, and granted it hasn’t always been designed to support the people who use the space the best, but with the right insights it can create amazing results!
Agile working sprouted from the need for flexibility and collaboration, however as people are not always trained on how to best interact with these spaces, the potential does not materialize, organisations don’t get the outcomes that they’re looking for and then people revert back to what they know—to singular spaces, instead of exploring the opportunities that are provided to them.
It may be all well and good to provide these new workplace designs, but if people occupying them don’t know how to interact with those spaces, the positive results won’t materialise. People need to know what the permissions are around using those spaces, and what is expected of them within those spaces.
In sum, we need to really understand why. Why we go to work today and what our workplace means to us and to our people. As leaders, we ask: what is it that the organisation stands for? What’s our purpose? How do we connect that purpose to our people? And how do we use our workplace to communicate that idea?