Take Greenlight Digital for example. We moved them out of their traditional, multi-tenanted building into a unique and dynamic space. Why? Because we understood that in creating a fresh, agile workspace, this would attract and retain the best staff for them.
As Greenlight are a young, up and coming tech company with a demographic of 20 something’s, the new office we created is exactly what Generation Y are now looking for. And technology has allowed us to do this.
Of course, salary, holidays and the extra perks are important to staff, but being able to work in a versatile, multi-functional space not glued to your desk all day will make staff more productive as they have the freedom to be creative and fluid throughout the office.
Before we start the design process, we complete an early workplace consultancy study on everyday working habits. Say you’re a company of 100 staff and the results come back that only 70% of your staff are in the office at any one time. But of this 70%, 10% are happy to work agilely from their iPads. Why do 100% or even 70% of staff all need desks? This allows us to reduce the square footage used for workstations and use the space for inspiring, multi-purpose areas much loved by Generation Y.
Of course, key to this is the technology infrastructure so everyone can work effectively across the entire office, on which device they want and when they want. This means great WiFi, charge points for laptops and phones and being able to hard-wire in to systems and databases.
Technology also reduces the need for travel between offices or to clients if there are interactive TV screens or telepresence rooms installed. Tech companies, such as Bazaarvoice, are like atoms, when they come together and fuse, they produce explosive energy. So why not mimic their collaborative, social spaces into office design?
Technology has allowed us to overcome the obstacles of being stuck at your desk. Laptops and hand held devices, such as iPads, are now common and allow us to work in places such as coffee shops and parks, so why not create these spaces in the office?
Good technology empowers staff with autonomy and trust to work. They can be more fluid and effective with their working day and not be a part of the rigid ‘be seen to 8:30am clock in, 5:30pm clock out’ culture. The modern manager doesn’t need to see their team to know they’re working – the era of true trust is well upon us.
But not only does technology help to attract and retain staff, it will bring in the best clients. Coming through the lift at Essence, walking down the corridor into their reception area, I heard a roar of applause. As I entered, I saw a presentation being held on the bleachers. Now, if I were a client, I would think this company had such a buzz about them and were the kind of people I would want to work with.
The classic office has changed, and technology is leading the way.
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