Jacob Morgan, an author and futurist, says, ‘In software, you iterate, make changes, upgrade and evolve. The physical space needs to be thought of in the same way.’ A slight change in the work environment of an organization, such as office design or physical features, can drive its culture and have a pronounced influence on its workforce.
An enterprise is known by the culture it promotes. The first impression of the company’s culture to prospective employees is well-thought office spaces. Millennials and Gen Z, who currently constitute the majority of the workforce, feel a pull towards corporates with workspaces that prioritize their personal well-being and comfort. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; ranks love and belonging as the third most important need in affirming interpersonal relationships, after all. These play an underlying but very essential part of an organization’s internal dynamic.
The workforce, for any organization whether big or small, is the assimilating tool bringing together all its resources and synergizing them into fruitful output. A sense of fulfilment and job satisfaction tends to yield higher productivity and performance and brings in greater retention of talent. Physical workspaces have a lot to do when it comes to boosting employee morale and value. As the adage goes, ‘show rather than tell’ – it’s important for any organization to create workspaces and environments which make the employees more engaged and happier rather than just talking about work culture and team-building. An average worker spends about one-third of their life in the office. Numerous researches have shown the magnitude of impact that a workspace has on a company’s culture.
Employees cannot deliver their 100% if the environment they work in is restrictive or stressful in some way. Work culture simply implies the way things are done at work. There are significant impacts these working conditions have on an individual and on the organization as a whole.
There is a growing realization that a maturing, global Indian workforce needs a workplace that speaks to their ethos and mores. ~Gensler
The phenomenal concept of shared workspaces and flexible, scalable office structures is gaining more prominence with the rise of startups and with the realization that corporate biggies cannot just survive on frigid and fixed office spaces. In India, it was initially observed with the increase in number of shared or coworking spaces Bangalore, as it is the IT capital and later spread across the country rapidly.
Employee well-being does not only involve managing their financial requirement or other stress but also curbing the primary reasons leading to it. A creative culture consisting of unhindered and unconventional spaces where walls or boundaries do not mark hierarchical distinctions goes a long way in empowering employees. Such spaces become a hub for exchanging ideas, forging relationships beyond formal email conversations and bringing in a sense of freedom and democracy. Employees seek to communicate, collaborate and create in such environments. These flexible structures assure a welcome change where stress is laid on working intelligently rather than slogging on repetitive tasks each day
Work culture and environment
The most happening of offices take care of key goals while planning their workspaces, namely, Focus, Collaborate, Learn and Socialize. This would include things like giving employees the freedom to choose their mode of working from multiple options. It may be a cubicle or a coworking space, working with the team or as a single entity – a comfortable workspace can sort half the worries an employee suffers from. Organizations such as Google, LinkedIn, Airbnb and many others go the unconventional route of providing their employees with an open environment, with features like innovation hubs, a coworking cafe, less isolating cubicles, smaller meeting rooms, conference halls and more. It is for the company to decide what kind of culture it needs to promote depending upon its objectives – competitive or entrepreneurial, flexible or steady, innovative or controlled.
Historically, offices used to be all about desks and desktops, but with changing times companies are becoming increasingly experimental and adventurous with their choice of office spaces. Employees are encouraged to choose their own comfort areas, be it a cubicle or the company cafe, work from home or through an innovative coworking space making it possible to work from any corner of the world at flexible working times. Particular care is taken about the lighting and colour scheme of the office and it is important that working areas are vibrant and lively. Such spaces liberate the working experience.
Collaboration and Productivity
Collaboration is a soft activity with a leader acting as the guiding force. One of Fayol’s principles of management – Principle of order – enhances the usability and feasibility of workspaces as a medium of attaining organizational goals.
A well-structured and open office space says a lot about what the company priorities when it comes to customers, clients and employees. The office space gives the company its own individual character. Think of an office space made of small covered cubicles, grey walls and shabby furniture; The first impression we get of the place is that employee motivation matters less to this company, and working here would get dreary very soon. Now compare that with a swanky place vibrant with colours, ample sunlight, plants and innovative work desk setups with plush furniture and a cafe for recreation and relaxing. Grazing the walls of the cubicles and opting for an open workspace creates a more equal and healthy exchange of ideas leading to better productivity and we get the idea that the health of the employee really matters to the organization.
In the Indian context, the workspace gains more prominence as part of the character of an organization defining its socio-cultural outlook. The economic factors impact the choice and type of workspace that an organization adopts. With collaborative coworking spaces, the need for innovative and resplendent work culture is fulfilled at affordable costs. More and more businesses are becoming service-centred nowadays increasing the need for evolving office spaces that make the employees feel at home. Whether online or on a desk, hybrid workspaces are here to stay and impact work culture.