Do Job Candidates Really Care About a Smart Workspace?
There’s a reason “organization” and “organism” share the same Latin root. A business is a living entity, and if it appears slow, sluggish or stale, job candidates won’t want to work there. A smart workspace is dynamic and flexible and can be molded to fit the needs of its workforce. It exudes energy and makes job candidates want to be a part of it.
As smart technology becomes intertwined with nearly every aspect of our lives, it is naive to expect job candidates not to require some level of smartness in the workplace — especially because adults spend, on average, nearly a third of their week working.
Here’s why investing in a smart workspace is necessary for recruiting.
A smart workspace supports the recent shift toward breaking down the division between our personal and professional spaces. At first, this seems counterintuitive to recruiting and retention — after all, today's workforce demands work-life balance.
But when you consider our 24/7 connectivity and the need for flexible modern workspaces, you can begin to see that rather than work-life balance, we are moving toward work-life fluidity. In an “always-on” culture enabled by the power to work from mobile devices anywhere at anytime, job candidates need your organization to give them the ability to seamlessly transition from their personal spaces to their professional spaces. In other words, job candidates assume the way they utilize their smart technology while working will mirror they use it in their free time.
The “free” in “free time” is key. A job candidate’s free time is, for the most part, spent doing what makes them happy in the places they feel most comfortable. They have a high level of autonomy and choose how (and more specifically, where) they spend their time.
To better illustrate this idea, here’s an example of global commercial real estate services firm CBRE:
In 2013, CBRE opened a new office in which there were no assigned offices or workspaces. Instead, employees choose one of the 15 types of spaces that best suited their individual needs and what they believed would be most beneficial for their productivity. CBRE also supported this freedom and flexibility outside the office by providing employees with mobile technology that enabled them to choose where and when they worked while not on site. Not only that, CBRE created a paperless office environment by digitizing nearly every paper file, allowing the workforce to access the data they needed on their schedule.
A smart workspace grants the autonomy employees need without sacrificing accountability. Beyond simply affecting job satisfaction and being less attractive to job candidates, extreme rigidity in the workplace has been linked to decreased life expectancy.
Job candidates have easy access to volumes of information via their smartphones. With just a simple Google search they can find out Warren Buffett’s net worth ($73.1 billion), the number of iPhones sold in 2016 (211.9 million) and how much Microsoft paid to acquire LinkedIn ($26.2 billion).
This ability to immediately find nearly any piece of information about any topic means they (understandably) expect your company to provide instant access to an infinitely smaller pool of data — for instance, the availability of meeting rooms, the location of an asset or levels of inventory.
When an employee has access to this information, they won’t waste time wandering around the office trying to locate an open conference room with the specific equipment they require or looking for the one printer that has the capability to create the custom displays they need for a client meeting. And if they know in advance inventory is low on a particular item (say, for example, the material on which these displays must be printed), they can place an order with enough time to print the displays and prevent them from scrambling to get the project done on schedule.
A company’s commitment to sustainability and being green is becoming increasingly important, especially in the recruitment realm. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, 58 percent of job seekers consider a company’s environmental responsibility when choosing where to apply and 51 percent refuse to work for a company that doesn’t have a strong commitment to the environment.
Investing in a workspace with smart lights that turn off when an area is unoccupied and a smart thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature based on the time of day will attract the right candidates. On top of that, your business can use sensors to monitor energy consumption and identify opportunities to increase efficiency and decrease your carbon footprint.
Just like any organism, for you organization to grow and develop, you must create the right environment. And in this case, that environment is a smart workspace where employees have the technology they need to be efficient and productive and can be confident in their employer’s dedication to innovation.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.