Office environments are changing – the way they look and how they are managed. Many organisations have long understood and appreciated the power of workplace in driving productivity, employee loyalty, and brand value. Workplace has become a critical component of what an organisation can offer to its current and prospective employees, shaping attitudes to work and forming impressions of an organisation.
Real estate is no longer just about providing space to run operations. Noticeably, it is becoming a facilitator of healthy, productive and comfortable workplaces. Many organisations invest significant resources in creating spaces focused on better efficiency and visual appeal. While these are important elements, there is more to creating a unique experience at work. Innovative design and technology steer the transformational process, while managerial approaches and cultural dynamics shape inspiring and supportive environments.
JLL’s latest global research seeks to understand what experience is about; how different workplace features, ranging from new types of spaces to alternative work philosophies, can positively influence engagement and productivity. The study showed that innovative spaces, collaborative environments and areas dedicated to health and inspiration can drive employee engagement. It also revealed that engagement is driven by trust, highlighting the importance of flexibility and choice.
More attention to wellbeing in the workplace is on the wish list of many office workers. In particular, our UK study revealed that spaces dedicated to health and wellbeing are perceived to be the most powerful drivers of engagement. Younger employees are also very keen on having informal environments, such as cafés, terraces, and coffee areas in the office. Furthermore, they are more willing to give up enclosed offices and dedicated desks altogether in exchange for innovative spaces.
While spaces for relaxation and informal communication are great for morale, they should not be introduced at the expense of areas for focused work. Space for concentration was identified as a priority by a significant proportion of UK respondents that took part in the study. Employees need the right environment to be able to think properly, which can get overlooked in pursuit of more collaboration and openness. Workspaces need to support different kinds of work to provide the best working environment.
Creating a workplace where people can effectively use their skills and truly enjoy their time at work is a challenging task. However, when addressed properly, through physical space, supportive management practices, and a continuous dialogue with users, workplace can help earn commitment from employees. Engaging, empowering and fulfilling experiences enrich work environments, creating room for creativity and propelling organisations towards their strategic goals.