We are all unique and the way we operate in the office varies greatly. The usual scenario of sitting at a desk for hours on end is fast becoming a thing of the past. Creating the space to break away and getting head space can do wonders for creativity and bringing on those ‘eureka moments’ that can seem so distant when pounding a 10 -hour day at the desk.

Word on the street from some is that the office is dying. In our opinion they aren’t, they’re just changing along with the world around us. As a generation the divide between ‘working’ and ‘not working’ is long gone in our world and those we know across the creative, digital, marketing and technology. As a result, we’re always connected, we’re often on it, we don’t always have to be in a set place at a set time to show we are working, our results do the talking.

“Creating an environment that people want to work in is what it’s all about”

 

Moving offices at the back end of 2015 was a big event for ADLIB. We weren’t simply looking for somewhere to move to, we were looking for an employee experience space, a setup that would suit the way we work as a business and as individuals.

Jane Ginnever - SHIFTTo learn more about how important this office culture change is, and the effect it can have, we caught up with our friend Jane Ginnever at SHIFT. Jane (pictured right) works with leaders in the South West that are doing things differently and gets to see their environments first hand.

ADLIB: What drives entities to change the setup of the working space? Is there a common objective behind it?

Jane Ginnever: There are loads of different reasons why organisations make changes to their work environments, including: to save space and reduce costs, to attract and retain talent, to stimulate a change in working behaviour, to attract people to work from the office when they have a choice to work from other locations, to encourage collaboration, to keep up with the latest furnishing trends or to replicate the apparent success of more innovative environments in other businesses (e.g. Google and Ovo).

But while it might appear that what’s changing is the physical work environment, what you’ve actually described is the ‘employee experience’ at ADLIB. And that’s about more than soft furnishings; they’re really just the icing on the cake. Creating an environment that people want to work in is what it’s all about and that’s how you attract great people and enable the team to achieve its potential.

“The aim is to create a successful and sustainable environment in which your team will achieve its full potential”

 

By ‘environment’ I mean the physical space, but also the technology that’s available to people, and the way that people are focussed, supported and motivated. What drives the leaders that I work with is a desire to create a successful and sustainable environment in which their team (and therefore their business) will achieve its full potential.

ADLIB: Where do you think is this shift heading? What do you think could a “work environment” look like 5 years from now?
JG: I think the work environment will be more tailored to the needs of the organisation, its aims and its people, and be less standardised. The best environments will also be able to flex and change according to the changing needs of those that use it.

picjumbo---3-doughnotsWe’re already seeing progressive companies moving away from the standard corporate box, creating environments which enable people to work in a more productive and satisfying way. We’ll see more and more employers try to do that.

People like to be able to work together and some great stuff gets done when we do that, so spaces where we can collaborate will always be important. But there’s some great technology out there that allows us to mix our in-person interactions with on-line conversations and sharing. I like the ability that technology gives us to do that, but I think those personal interactions and the relationships we build with others will remain an important enabler. So good physical workspaces will continue to be important too.

And who knows where technology will take us. I look at what’s happening in the gaming sector for a lead on this because that often filters through to the way we work (e.g. AI, robotics, communication). Not so long ago it was the other way round; work introduced many people to technology which is now a huge part of their lives.

“The majority of employees are still working in an environment where they have little freedom or control over how, where and when they work”

 

In many organisations, leaders are changing the way they manage and motivate people (a huge part of that employee experience we mentioned earlier) but the majority of employees are still working in an environment where they have little freedom or control over how, where and when they work.

I believe that will change significantly over the next 5 years, driven by 2 things: the recognition that the way we’ve been managed people in the past doesn’t get the best outcomes (for the employee, the organisation or the customer), and the changing expectations of the people we’re looking to hire. It will be a real revolution in the way we do business, and the UK is lagging behind the rest of the world on this at the moment, but I see real signs of a shift in thinking particularly amongst leaders in the south west.

We’d like to thank Jane for sharing her thoughts. You can see more from Jane on imposed office rules being a thing of the past on the ADLIB website.

Image credits: picjumbo and pexels