Insight Partner EMCOR explores the third of our megatrends, the future of work… They were live at the IWFM Conference 2021 held on Monday 13 September,
As Abraham Lincoln once famously said, ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it’ and that is exactly what is happening now as employers seek to modernise workplaces to better suit those who use them. Workplace of the future is about creating destinations of choice where people can collaborate, connect and succeed; delivering personalised experiences and customer choice; are centred around health and wellbeing, are sustainability focussed and digitally SMART.
Clearly the mood has changed. Rather than the workplace simply being thought about as a building, now we are putting the needs of the building occupants front and centre. That means looking at everything from the space and how people use it, maximising technology and digital tools to boost both building and people performance, accommodating new hybrid ways of working, even making workplaces desirable places which not only support but also attract the best employees. At the same time, the wellbeing and sustainability agendas are also colliding with the rise of workplace technology and AI. Ultimately, for people to be at the heart of this new ultra-connected, data-driven world, organisations must now completely realign their culture and their purpose. It’s a heady mix.
Interestingly this change in focus is not simply a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a fundamental paradigm shift. If wellbeing is not at the heart of a wider people engagement and business strategy, organisations are unlikely to succeed or survive into the next decade. Similarly, if sustainability is not a core purpose of business, customers and employees will become disenfranchised. We must achieve our carbon neutral goals.
Are employers doing enough?
According to our recent poll on the IWFM LinkedIn page, 38% of employees think wellbeing is a top priority in their business; a similar number, 37%, believe it definitely is not. Food for thought? Perhaps.
So how can business leaders and facilities managers balance cost pressure and stakeholder demand with reimagining, redesigning and creating sustainable workplaces for the future? It’s a complex challenge which requires critical thinking. But creating environments in which people enjoy enhanced levels of experience, wellbeing and engagement enables networking, collaboration and socialising, and is a clear indication of an organisation’s future intent.
‘We are seeing an unprecedented demand for new workplaces that support the challenge to deliver great work, which promote wellbeing and contribute to more productive outcomes in the context of a flexible work life balance.’
Ian Baker, Head of Workplace Solutions, EMCOR UK
Time to find a better way
- Take a fresh look at workspace, how it should be used and how much you actually need
- Identify what users think and feel about their workplaces and the services they receive
- Capture data through employee experience surveys, sensors and monitoring tools, which can be converted into insight and positive action
- Use evidence-based analytics to change, inspire, adapt and sustain a transformative workplace
- Optimise building performance using environmental monitoring sensors to measure temperature, light, humidity, CO2 and noise levels
- Build a next generation culture with SMART workplace technology that connects systems and subsystems into one core data platform
- Create intuitive, sensitive and adaptable workplace ecosystems.
Workplaces need to become a destination of choice; providing people with flexible options of when, where and how they work. But they can also be so much more. Consider the important social elements of the workplace for example. And what about how workplaces can actively encourage and embed shared values and a positive company culture? One thing that has become clear is that creating a sustainable workplace of the future is so much more than the facilities.