Over two-thirds of the U.S. workforce find themselves disengaged from their work, according to Gallup's ongoing workplace surveys. In addition, across the last decade, workplace stress has risen—with more workers struggling to focus and work effectively. Are we experiencing a workplace crisis? Fortunately, there are many ways that corporate real estate teams can help. Here are three ways that smart workplace strategy can support greater employee productivity and engagement.
1. Let employees control their own temperature and lighting
The benefits of better lighting design and greater temperature control are well-documented. Most recently, a study led by Purdue University Center for High Performance Buildings (CHPB) and JLL looked into the effect of customizable indoor environment conditions. It found that participants reported higher levels of self-evaluated productivity in customized environments and demonstrated better performance in cognitive tests when satisfied with the thermal and lighting conditions of their workspace.
Simply put: Allowing employees to make small, localized adjustments to temperature and lighting results in better employee performance.
Specifically, an increasing number of employers are finding benefit in empowering their employees to adjust their physical environment via workplace apps. Solutions like Comfy that connect with existing building systems make it easy for employees to customize their workspace, doing things like adjusting the temperature in a conference room or turning lights on after-hours, instantly from their phones.
At Forbes 100 Cloud tech company AppNexus, they felt the difference immediately, with one happy user saying: “It’s such a significant part of our culture now. People having the ability to make a change [to] something as simple as the temperature in an office space really goes a long way for an employee to feel happy, feel appreciated, feel really engaged in their day-to-day work.”
2. Make it easy for employees to find and work in a variety of workspaces
According to Gensler's 2016 U.S. Workplace Survey, that measures employees performance and innovation in relation to how they interact with their environment, high performing employees tend to have access to, and take advantage of, a greater variety of workspaces. This is reflected in the growing popularity of activity-based workplace designs.
Numerous software platforms now exist that specialize in helping employees quickly find and reserve workstations and rooms to accommodate their changing needs throughout the day. For offices that offer a variety of workspaces, these tools can help employees better understand and take advantage of the options their employers have provided to help them be as comfortable and productive as possible. They also eliminate those awkward moments of wondering whether a desk is occupied or desperately searching for a quiet corner for a phone call.
3. Don't underestimate the importance of "cool" workplace tech
Employees increasingly depend on technology to achieve high levels of productivity. Workplace app usage on personal phones is rising; video conference for virtual collaboration is a necessity for global teams; and laptops as a primary work computer is pervasive. According to a 2016 "Future of Work" study by Adobe, 81% of US office workers say state-of-the-art tech is important at work and 85% believe technology makes them more productive.
Workplace IT departments are traditionally responsible for procuring workplace tech. However, the mandate to create a stellar workplace experience includes choosing appropriate digital workplace solutions that are integrated with the physical space and it is a shared necessity, co-owned by IT, HR, and corporate real estate. Some research groups estimate that there are as many as 3,000 tech solutions dedicated to addressing commercial real estate challenges, so there are no shortage of available solutions! Choosing the best tech with the highest impact for your workplace is the challenge today.