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Like most industries, ours is a very dynamic one. Charged with helping management teams improve organizational efficiency and employee engagement, it is our duty to ensure we are up-to-date on the latest workplace trends, so that we can deliver a product that aligns with those needs.
To aid us in the process, we periodically connect with our customers, exchanging information about the workplace trends that they're seeing and what is going on in their offices, as well as what is going on with us. If you weren’t able to attend the 2016 iOffice User Conference, held in The Woodlands, Texas, you missed an informative event, where we learned about the challenges our clients are facing today, the top workplace trends of 2016, and heard from our guest speaker, Erin Weed, who taught us how to make authentic connections with those around us. If you missed this event, jam-packed with information, we urge you to visit our blog post 5 Major Moments from the 2016 iOffice User Conference, for a recap, links, and quotes from some of the finest in the industry.
In addition to our User Conference, we also enlist the services of an independent survey company, who offers assistance in connecting with our customers from all over the world to ensure we are communicating effectively and consistently with our wonderful IWMS users. In our last survey, we asked our IWMS users to share the top 5 workplace trends that our customers are seeing implemented. They also shared their insight on the contributing factors affecting these trends and how their workplace management solution is assisting them in tackling these challenges.
Let’s see what they had to say.
Technology has offered us a multitude of opportunities and flexibility in the workplace; opening doors and breaking down barriers. Let’s take a look at some of the top workplace trends our clients are currently exploring, allowing their workforce more of a say as to how, when, and where they work.
By now, you’ve probably read some of the studies regarding our global workforce and their desire to maintain a work-life balance, as well as the benefits to offering employees such a balance. Unfortunately, many enterprises are still skeptical, unsure about how to implement a successful strategy in their own business. And we are seeing our workforce fight back. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 million Americans have chosen part-time work over a full-time job. They made this conscious decision as they were unable to find a full-time position with an organization that supported flexible scheduling and a work-life balance for employees.
Despite the statistics, however, only about 5% of U.S. businesses have adopted flexible business hours for their employees - a staggering number considering the multitude of benefits realized by adopting such a strategy. Fortunately, 57% of the clients who answered our survey have recognized this as a top workplace trend and are making moves towards such flexibility.
A happy and engaged workforce goes a long way towards improving productivity and retaining top talent. In conjunction with developing flexible workspace strategies, many enterprises are now adopting wellness programs for their employees. While most wellness strategies are offered directly through the business, many insurance companies have now jumped on board, offering discounts for those who participate.
In an effort to keep employees happy and healthy, these programs offer a multitude of services, such as weight loss programs, preventative health screenings, programs to help you stop smoking, and diabetes management programs. They offer cash rewards, premium discounts, and gym memberships as incentive for those who participate. Employers who have adopted such programs have realized an average of 27% reduction in employee sick leave, a 26% reduction in healthcare costs, and a 32% decrease in workers’ compensation and disability claims. Considering the benefits, it’s difficult to realize why every company doesn’t implement a wellness program!
Known in many countries as the ‘siesta,’ a midday nap to recharge your batteries has been a tradition in many countries around the world for centuries. It originated in Spain, where the midday heat required proprietors to close up shop and retreat to their homes until the weather cooled down. As businesses realized the benefits of a well-rested workforce, the tradition spread like wildfire, with countries such as Italy, the Philippines, and many Hispanic American countries adopting similar traditions.
While Americans have taken a little longer to catch on, enterprises with a commitment to supporting employee wellness are now realizing the benefits of a midday rest. In fact, approximately “29% of workers report falling asleep or becoming very sleepy at work, and a lack of sleep costs the United States $63 billion each year in lost productivity.” In an effort to support their workforce and improve employee performance and alertness, many are now incorporating nap rooms, break rooms, and lactation rooms into their office design. That old saying “A happy wife is a happy life” comes to mind. When you’re employees feel supported by their employer, they are happy, engaged, and, in turn, productive. Everyone wins.
The open space floor design started gaining traction back in 1967, with the birth of the cubicle. At the time, it was more about devising ways to maximize on space, and less about creating an environment that fostered collaboration and teamwork. Now, with the influx of Millennials entering the workforce and as we prepare to welcome Gen Zers, Workspace Management teams are turning back to this beneficial, yet highly-criticized tradition. In fact, 51% of our surveyed clients cited this as one of the top workplace trends for 2016.
While our predecessors are accustomed to working in individual offices, only interacting with colleagues during lunch break, young professionals yearn for a more community-like atmosphere. They view office doors and enclosed spaces as stifling and are not afraid to ask for it. If you have not yet adopted this workplace strategy in your office, visit our blog The Top 7 Unique Space Utilization Strategies To Retain Employees for creative and balances ideas from some of the world’s leading companies.
As more evidence is published regarding the benefits behind remote work, enterprises all around the world are seeking out ways to incorporate this strategy into their workplace. Employees who are able to find the right work conditions are better able to focus and innovate, thus improving their overall productivity. But, for many, creativity is also sparked through the process of interacting with colleagues, bouncing ideas off each other, and developing professional relationships. If you, like many of our clients, are contemplating such a strategy, consider trying a ‘Work from Anywhere Week.’ This would give you an opportunity to see how the workforce responds, identify any issues that would need to be addressed before policy implementation, and offer valuable insight into how exactly developing such a culture would affect overall performance and numbers.
As Workplace Managers work to develop a culture that attracts (and retains) today’s top talent and increases employee engagement, they are seeking out ways to redefine the traditional office setting. While many employees still work best individually, a vast majority find inspiration and satisfaction from collaborating and interacting with their colleagues. If you work to create a sense of community and balance amongst your employees, they will start to feel a sense of ownership towards the organization’s mission and successes that will transcend anything we can accomplish on our own.
What workplace strategies are your enterprise focusing on this year and what are you hoping accomplish from these projects?
Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.