What will work—and the workplace—look like in 2, 5, 10 or even 20 years? While we can’t know for sure exactly where we’re going, we can explore the possibilities.
Each month we’re sharing a few of the latest workplace trends to keep you informed on the ever-changing world of work.
This month we’re focused on employee wellbeing and how the future of work will shift our experiences in—and outside—the office. With digital convenience comes certain operational complexities and questions of individual freedom. Do you need to come to the office? And how can you find balance if you’re never really “off”? From flexible (and not-so-flexible) work policies to intuitive technology and healthy workplace design, see five stories about the future of work and its impact on how employees feel.
43% of highly qualified women leave the workplace after having children, but Allison Robinson is out to solve the lack of workplace support for new moms. She’s the founder and CEO of The Mom Project, a digital community that connects professional working moms with open positions. She understands that “if we [can] make work more compatible with life, we [can] keep great talent in the workplace.” With the help of organizations like Mom Project, more companies are realizing that not only should work and family coexist, but moms are seriously efficient with their time. It just takes a little flexibility.
While flexibility is engaging, some organizations value in-person collaboration more. IBM is the latest of several large organizations to end their remote work policy, citing a need for better connectivity in person. While this decision underscores the importance of the physical workplace in building teamwork and culture, it calls into question other issues. Namely, the value of worker autonomy, satisfaction and the ability to focus. Especially in an age where technology is advancing, talent is hard to find and younger workers demand flexible careers.
Wellness rooms are about to get an upgrade for stressed-out office workers. Ben van Berkel, a Dutch architect, wants to combat stress-related illness (a problem worth $300 billion per year in the U.S.) with secluded pods. But rather than just building a room to hide in, he’s creating interactive space where people can “physically and mentally reset themselves.” Surrounded by light-up walls, you can think, meditate, practice yoga, scream or even drum your stress away.
Smart building advancements are discussed—and decided—at a leadership level, but what do employees expect from intelligent real estate? A survey of more than 1,000 London office workers revealed they’re most interested in improved comfort, not fancy features like meeting room technology and smart beacons. The most popular features were intuitive (but adjustable) lighting and heating—two of the most important elements of a healthy building.
The search for sunlight doesn’t end when you leave the workplace. Urban planners have long designed cities around shadows, but new analytics are helping them focus on degrees of sunlight instead. City planners and architects are working with behavioral neuroscientists to figure out which types of light impact human behavior and wellbeing in order to map out parks, plazas, hospitals, retail centers and office space.
41%: Only four in ten U.S. employees said their employers provide resources for mental health needs. This is reported in the 2016 Work and Wellbeing Survey conducted by the American Psychological Association. In the same survey, even fewer (35%) employees said they receive help with stress management. What’s worse: These are the lowest reported scores since the question has been asked.
It’s not enough to expect the best performance from your staff. Your workplace should be an environment that helps employees thrive, let alone survive.
Last month, we talked about boosting employee engagement—a positive effect of workplace wellbeing. Check it out here.
JLL Staff Reporter, Behind-the-scenes
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