The “workplace of the future” has arrived, transforming our workspaces into more than just four walls and a desk. We live in a hyperconnected world; one where our workforce has come to expect to utilize the tools used in their personal lives, in their professional lives as well. They expect barriers such as time and space to be broken down, offering the flexibility to securely work wherever and whenever they want. Forward thinking businesses are realizing this as an opportunity, opening up new doors for how they serve their employees and, in turn, their clients. And at a time when workers are placing more importance on company culture than vacation time and annual bonuses, it is critical that organizations invest in the flexible workspace.
“Recent studies have shown that both millennial and non-millennial employees (in equal numbers) desire greater workplace flexibility…To meet these desires, and to provide a corporate culture that allows today’s employees to succeed, more employers are prioritizing workplace mobility.” -Amy Higgins
For many, the implementation of choice in the workplace begins with integrating flexible workspaces. This is often delivered through office redesign that includes an open floor plan, where employees have the option of working at individual desks or in collaborative workspaces. A place where workers are free to move around from space to space, meeting and collaborating with others and where collaborative sessions can include employees from office locations across the globe. These encounters support a more social atmosphere; an environment where free thinking is encouraged and innovative ideas are born. A 2013 workplace survey by Gensler:
“…found that knowledge workers whose companies allow them to help decide when, where, and how they work were more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, performed better, and viewed their company as more innovative than competitors that didn’t offer such choices.”
Many businesses balk at the idea of “workplace mobility,” envisioning a workforce of telecommuters working in their pajamas at home. While this is one facet of the mobile workforce, it is about much more than that. What it really means is offering your employees the tools they need to complete their job regardless of where they are. The results: a more satisfied and productive workforce and, surprisingly, improved security for sensitive information. In a recent global study performed by IBM, respondents reported an average of 20% improvement in productivity and cost savings, with an expected 84% increase in security of systems and data.
While flexible workspaces are important for today’s workers, perhaps more important is the implementation of mobile enabled workplace systems. SaaS software solutions, mobile devices, social media policies, as well as the adoption of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs are enabling workers to stay connected and share real-time information with each other, clients, and technicians. These tools are enhancing the user experience, making mobile working not just an extension of the traditional workplace, but an integral part of the modern day workspace design.
For many, the concept of mobility raises heightened concerns regarding security. Trailblazers in the workspace arena, however, have realized just the opposite. Rather than trying to stifle mobile options for their employees, innovators are viewing this as an opportunity, implementing security policies and procedures that allow their workforce to access encrypted data from secure applications from all mobile devices. By limiting the data accessed to one database, businesses can control exactly how the information is accessed and used, and implement strict password guidelines. And because employees are utilizing just one software solution,
The business world is evolving at a rapid pace, leaving those who fear the unknown at the back of the pack. Pioneers in the facilities management profession are helping executives realize the benefits of early, aggressive moves in adopting strategies in mobility, collaboration, and workforce support. They are developing clear and concise business goals and aligning workplace strategies with those goals. This means understanding what employees require to complete their jobs at peak performance, while making strategic moves to plan for future needs. Workplace choice and mobility is perhaps the most critical step organizations can take when striving for lower costs, reduced churn, and increased productivity.
An employee that is armed with the right tools, and has the freedom to perform by their own rules is left more creative, motivated, and engaged - the perfect recipe for a productive workforce.