According to a 2016 study of employees across a wide range of industries conducted by TECHnalysis Research, people only spend about 46% of their average 43- hour workweek in a traditional office or cubicle environment. Organizations have been witnessing a shift away from those workspaces over the past decade, and the study suggests that the move is likely to accelerate: most workers believe that less than 41% of their time will be spent in traditional offices by the end of 2018.
What does the organization of the future look like?
That’s the question forward-thinking executives are asking themselves. Of course, all organizations and office spaces won’t look alike. But they will have common qualities that reflect the evolving needs of the workforce of the future. Changes in how and where work is done will continue to be a driving force in redefining relationships between people, space, and productivity.
How Corporate Workspace Utilization Is Changing
According to a 2016 study of employees across a wide range of industries conducted by TECHnalysis Research, people only spend about 46% of their average 43 hour workweek in a traditional office or cubicle environment. Organizations have been witnessing a shift away from those workspaces over the past decade, and the study suggests that the move is likely to accelerate: most workers believe that less than 41% of their time will be spent in traditional offices by the end of 2018.
Discussion of this seismic change in workspace usage often centers on the role of Millennials. However, the desire for greater flexibility and a healthy work-life balance affects all generations in the workforce today. With all the demands of daily life facing today’s workers, it’s not surprising that work habits are evolving.
According to an international survey of employers conducted by CoreNet Global and Microsoft, 76% of respondents indicated that they utilize some form of a “flexible work” program. Combined with the enabling power of mobile technology, these trends are driving a rapid transition to a more flexible workforce—and as a result, companies are embracing an equally flexible workspace.
How you use your space directly impacts your bottom line. According to Gartner Group, providing a workspace to an individual employee costs an organization from $8,000 to $14,000 a year. Based on those numbers, eliminating 100 workspaces can save an organization for more than one million dollars a year. It all comes down to utilizing space efficiently.
New Challenges In The Flexible Workspace
Mobile devices and wireless access to business systems are critical in supporting new work-life patterns, because employees are increasingly able to do their jobs outside the office. They are also being given the discretion to make their own choices about where and when they work—creating new organizational challenges.
Maintaining Company Culture And Effective Collaboration
As organizations seek to provide more flexibility for workers, teams will increasingly span multiple office locations, time zones, and international borders. The reality of the reduction in traditional face-time is that the increase in remote working has made effective collaboration both more important and more challenging. Additionally, mobile employees don’t absorb the organization’s culture as effectively as office-based employees.
Employee mobility mustn’t come at the cost of collaboration. Companies should strive to retain the benefits of in-person meetings—and good old-fashioned camaraderie in the office—by providing the right flexible spaces for their workforce.
Scheduling Mobile Workers In A Flexible Workspace
As organizations transition toward a flexible future, it is easy to underestimate the complexity of scheduling resources such as rooms and desks. With increased mobility, employees must accommodate a more diverse range of schedules. Furthermore, a lack of clear rules and processes for reserving and using workspace can result in double-booked spaces, employees getting bumped from rooms, and endless headaches sorting out the confusion.
As frustration rises, employees start gaming the system—for example, abusing personal relationships or status to bypass the usual rules. This breakdown in trust disrupts workflows and damages morale in the office, which may have taken years to cultivate.
Optimizing Investments In Real Estate
Even as the corporate workforce becomes increasingly mobile and flexible, real estate remains one of the largest expenses for many organizations. Whether you have thousands of workstations at offices across the country or around the world, or a handful of workstations at a single office, it’s important to maximize the utilization of your space to get the greatest return on your real estate investment.
Achieving this goal requires an accurate understanding of how your mobile workers function day to day—and how they use traditional and alternative workspaces.
What The Organization Of The Future Looks Like
Today’s workforce is moving from sitting at the same desk every day to working from anywhere. Consequently, the office of the future will need less space. Leading employers will leverage technology to utilize real estate and assets more effectively, allowing the organization to increase productivity while reducing costs.
The office space of the future is also taking on an increasingly fluid quality to give employees freedom of movement. Workspaces will continue to become more open and flexible—with fewer walls, doors, and dedicated cubicles. But as private, personal spaces are traded for more open collaborative spaces, the diverse needs of different departments, teams, and individuals will still need to be met. In addition to providing space for employees that still spend all or most of their time in the office, mobile workers will need to be able to easily reserve the space they need, when they need it.
However, knowing what the office space of the future will look like is quite a different thing than creating one. Shifting gears from a centralized and closed workplace to one that is decentralized and open is challenging. Moreover, the change will take place whether an organization plans for it or not. Organizations that fearlessly embrace change will be the ones who succeed in attracting and retaining the most talented workforce.
How To Create The Organization Of The Future
Creating the organization of the future requires both tactical and strategic approaches.
Tactically, it is essential to streamline the process of reserving workspace so that employees can easily find, reserve, and use the spaces and resources they need. Deploying a cloud-based workspace reservation system has become a critical best practice for organizations with mobile workers or a mixed workforce. Having a system that’s accessible anywhere, anytime empowers workers to manage their daily schedule and work in the way that’s most effective for them. Even employees who spend most of their time in the office benefit from the convenience.
Whether your office uses hoteling, agile working, desk sharing, hot desking, virtual working, or any other specific style of workspace sharing, it is essential that you align your system with the evolving needs of your people.
At a more strategic level, it is critical to track workspace utilization to gain insight into your workers’ current and future needs. For most organizations, leveraging technology is the only way to gain the business intelligence necessary to meet the needs of the mobile workforce while simultaneously optimizing real estate investments.
As you develop your strategy, it is important to keep in mind that choosing the right metrics is critical to success. If you don’t examine workspace usage based on hard data (e.g. the presence of employees and frequency of cubical and conference room utilization), you don’t know how your valuable workspace is truly being utilized. Without this strategic insight, tactical efforts will fall short of your organization’s intentions.
Asure Software Helps You Build The Organization Of The Future
To build the organization of the future – one that maximizes the productivity of the mobile worker—you must create the right space for the type of work being performed. Asure can help you make those crucial decisions based on reliable business intelligence gathered from multiple data sources across the organization.
Asure Software provides integrated and intuitive scheduling tools that empower your employees to maximize the available space. Our cloud-based booking system is available anytime, anywhere, and on any device. By using our resource scheduling software, your employees can quickly and easily secure everything from cubicles and conference rooms to available services and support across multiple locations.
As your organization adapts to the changing nature of work, the relationships between people, space and productivity will continue to evolve. Find out how Asure can help you stay ahead of the curve.
Source: Asure Software