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The Modern Workspace and Productivity

It all comes down to culture

The Modern Workspace and Productivity

By Pira Kumarasamy

 

In today’s workplace, open floor plans and collaborative spaces have become the norm. In fact, future office dwellers will likely scoff at the idea of ‘high cubicle walls’ in the same way millennials scoff at the idea of giant cell phones and pagers (remember those?).

The truth is, there is method to the modern workspace, and it isn’t simply aesthetic. It is designed to challenge and reshape the traditional standard of productivity, encourage collaboration and foster creativity. Here are a few reasons the workplaces of tomorrow are aiming to shape productivity in new and innovative ways.

 

They encourage collaboration

 

Many modern workplaces have ditched cubicles in favour of open office spaces with a strong emphasis on meeting rooms where brainstorming happens. When employees share ideas with one another, they learn new perspectives and subsequently solve business problems. The modern workplace is picking up on the value of collaboration, but it will only enhance productivity when used in an efficient way. Meeting rooms can help workers work through complex projects by helping them facilitate brainstorming sessions and divide up work. The end result is big picture ideas and an open team environment.

 

They bring forth new technology

 

It is without question that technology is changing the way we work. In a survey[1] by the World Economic Forum, 44 per cent of global HR decision-makers cited new technologies enabling remote working, co-working space and teleconferencing as the principal driver of change in the workplace. Employees can communicate with one another anytime, anywhere, and it changes the very nature of the workplace. That buzzword ‘collaboration’ becomes easier – no need to walk down the hall to get a quick approval – and employees can choose to work in the manner in which they’re most productive. As such, technology has also made it feasible to save the commute time and work from home.

 

They consider the external environment

 

It’s widely believed that happy employees are productive employees, so it’s only natural that the environment that they work in makes a difference when it comes to overall productivity. Open floor plans have their drawbacks, but one of their best features is access to natural light. What this means is that views of the outside world are no longer simply for senior executives in the corner office. In fact, studies[2] have shown that those within close proximity to a window at work get better sleep than those that do not.

 

A final word and caveat

 

Every environment has its drawbacks, and the modern workplace is no exception. Connectivity brings us closer together, but it can also lead to distractions. Communication technology and open spaces are excellent when used to promote efficient teamwork, but they can also backfire and actually decrease productivity.

 

It all comes down to culture. Creating a modern workplace is only as effective as the company culture of that workplace. A company driven by performance and hard work will fare better than one that does not live those values. Give your employees the tools they need to succeed, show them what success looks like and watch your company thrive.   

 

[1] Source: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Media/WEF_FutureofJobs.pdf

[2] http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29503