Technology is many things to many people. While often blamed for breakdown in inter- personal contact, it has the opposite impact in the work sphere. Not only has it broken down geographical barriers, it has allowed for better cohesion amongst a diverse stakeholder group. It has enabled a kind of flexibility and collaboration that has changed the way we work and the way offices are designed. According to a report in the Economic Times, “Over two-thirds, 69%, of global corporates plan to increase their utilisation of co-working spaces and 80% expect to grow the amount of collaborative space they use over the next three years.”
From a design perspective, an open office design is considered an important element of providing flexibility at work. Moving away from the traditional single-cubicle spaces to open offices offers better collaboration and creativity while giving employees more space to move and breathe. Apart from that, provision for breakout spaces, collaborative areas – all promote flexibility and easy options for connecting and collaborating at work. This has been substantiated by a study done by Herman Miller, that states that an employee’s comfort directly affects important predictors of operational efficiency like job satisfaction, well-being, worker health and retention. Thus, changing flexible spaces that allow employees to be mobile, switch their surroundings and work however they are comfortable can bring out positive results in terms of job satisfaction and employee engagement.
Another aspect of flexibility is the balance one seeks out in their work life. Today, employees are striving hard to have a healthy work life balance. Here flexibility in terms of where you work from, the freedom to work from home or login remotely, at hours that work for you, is the biggest advantage one can have. It also helps combat the long, unproductive hours spent in commuting to and fro from work.
Keeping these factors in mind companies have started to rethink the way they design their workplaces and are pursuing newer design and options to provide a work environment that nurtures and encourages employees, allowing them to give their best. Flexibility is one such factor- flexibility in the way one works, thinks and owns the space increases the accountability and ownership aspects – thereby personalizing the workspace and creating a connect with the organization.