What trends can we expect to drive change in the office now and in the future? We asked Gitte Andersen, the Managing Partner of SIGNAL, our newly acquired strategic workspace management & design consultancy. Here is a highlight of her thoughts on the emerging trends that will drive change in the office.
1. The ageless workplace
In the workplace, age is losing its relevance. Due to decreasing birth rates, longer life expectancy, and thanks to improved healthcare and better working conditions, the worker longevity is increasing.
High-performing companies will use the multi-generational workforce to their advantage by mixing older and more experienced employees with younger generations of workers.
This will create new synergies in the workplace blending years of work experience, with strong tech-savviness and an eye for what is next.
To make this work, employers need to ensure to create spaces where all generations feel comfortable working side by side. This requires taking a greater responsibility for promoting the healthy way of living, providing food rich in vitamins and minerals or enhancing wellness in the workplace.
2. The mindful workplace
Our focus is increasingly moving away from the physical health towards mental health. The days of iron mans and marathons are reaching a tipping point. Instead, we’re seeing that mindfulness and meditation have received renewed interest both at work and outside of work.
Being unplugged and disconnected from everything digital is becoming the new luxury. We will be more focused on enhancing physical contact in the workplace and give each other more space to daydream away from work, whenever that is needed.
To respond to this, employers will place greater emphasis on how they can enhance psychological health and help employees to disconnect from work and their digital devices to support performance in the workplace.
3. The intuitive workplace
Fueled by technology and data intelligence, companies will increasingly look into how they can create personalized experiences that meet the needs and desires of an increasingly diverse workforce.
Using Internet of Things and sensor technologies, companies will track their workers to be able to create more intuitive workplaces based on the employee data they are able to gather. Employers will analyze information about employee interaction and use this to build an orchestrated workplace environment that fosters creativity, innovation, collaboration and fuels employees’ productivity.
The companies that do not manage to quantify and pre-empt employee needs and wants will lose talents as the relationship will continue to be a guessing-game, resulting in lower productivity, loyalty and staff retention.
4. The collaborative workplace
In today’s growingly social, transparent and interdependent world, we are seeing continued democratization of hierarchies, and the female workforce taking over the world of business, which is bringing new values and ways of working into the workplace. This includes providing a culture of empathy, flexibility, openness and importantly, collaboration.
More employers will focus on enhancing listening skills, understanding other people’s perspectives and relationship building. This will result in more cooperative workplaces focused on promotion of an open social exchange. Employers will create an environment where employees regularly can engage in open discussions, workshops and brain storming.
We will also see more companies celebrating common purposes and turning competition into collaboration for mutual gain.
About Gitte Andersen
As the founder and Managing Partner of SIGNAL, Gitte is the creator of the mindset, which SIGNAL’s work is founded on: to work with space as a strategic tool, for better performance in corporations. Gitte consults top managements in both the private and the public sector. Gitte gives public lectures, writes articles and books. Her most recent book Space at Work will be published at the end of March 2017.