In the past few years we have seen a major shift in the way that people think about corporate working environments and what best stimulates productivity and employee satisfaction. Whether it’s the integration of collaborative breakout areas in what used to be traditional “corporate” offices, the new focus on personal health in the workplace, or the limitless access to information and connectivity– the manner in which businesses are structured and function is changing dramatically.
Big data leads the way
In a recent study by Deloitte on corporate culture, data from 7,000 business and HR leaders from 130 countries found that while 82% of executives believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage , only 12% of executives believe they are driving the “right culture.” In the past, it was attributed to work-life balance and flat organizational structures, but a new focus has recently been placed on corporate working environments as a solution to increased employee satisfaction and productivity.
For The Executive Centre (TEC) this means understanding who is present in each center– what are their industries, their professional positions within their organization, their interests? This knowledge allows for hyper-targeted messaging, program development and business facilitation. It also enables the operations team to anticipate members’ needs in advance; whether it’s pre-emptively providing lunch options for a regular meeting, to offering chauffeur services for a member’s upcoming business trip, data helps TEC be more efficient and proactive.
AI to preempt interactions
While much of the conversation about Artificial Intelligence centers around how it has the potential to replace entry-level jobs, its impact on corporate culture is also something to consider. Already, customer service expectations are accelerating (4% of people surveyed in 2014 expected an email response within 15 minutes; by 2015, this number had increased to 14.5%), and this same mentality is seen in colleague-to-colleague interactions. Connectivity is a huge focus in the current era of corporate culture, however, the lack of time combined with high response expectations creates a conundrum. Where AI comes into play can be as simple as delivering automated responses to basic questions, to more complex solutions such as tracking behavior to provide preemptive solutions.
Silence kills creativity
With the death of the traditional 9-5 workday, the focus has shifted to creating a healthier environment within the workplace. What started with organic tea and fruits in the kitchen has now become maintaining optimal CO2 levels (better air quality can result in 8-11% higher productivity), to creating the perfect amount of ambient noise (complete silence is actually detrimental to creativity), and designing space with natural light and greenery.
Job satisfaction over job security
Job security has reduced over the years due to technological innovations. Ironically, the result has been increased job satisfaction and embracing an entrepreneurial mindset. While some research suggests that this generation has lower expectations of job security, more emphasis is being put on “happiness”.
People are no longer willing to sacrifice quality of life for a job because it no longer exists – the new mentality is if you can’t be content working within a traditional corporation, you’re better off doing your own thing. But that doesn’t remove the need for a workspace and the desire for a community: welcome to the coworking revolution.
Everything, all at once
The reurbanization of major city developments plus the demand for easy access to everything has changed the way that contractors are designing complexes themselves. The best new buildings are full-scale developments that include gyms, malls, restaurants, serviced offices, apartments, hotels, etc. all in one place. Most also have direct access to public transportation. The result is a more confined space for employees, which means the experience within the workplace has to be that much more exciting, diverse and innovative.
Ultimately, it comes down to a fundamental change in the way people consume and share information. The internet of things has opened the doors to seamless, instant communications. The concept of flexibility and mobility is becoming highly profitable and is not only affecting the way that people interact but how the spaces in which they do to add to that shared culture.