I’m curious …Did anyone that attend Business School in the last forty years receive any education regarding the value of Planned Space to employee productivity?
In 1958, Peter F. Drucker proclaimed that, “The primary resource in the post-capitalist society will be knowledge and the leading social groups will be ‘Knowledge Workers'”. In 1968, Robert Propst stated that, “The office, as we have come to know it, is an adolescent statement starved for appropriate definition and somewhat oblivious to the forces of change”. In 1996, Michael Hammer declared, “These new (work) processes often call for empowered, frontline individuals who should be provided with information and expected to make their own decisions” …further stating that business leaders should “adapt their companies to new ways of working“.
With the exception of some incomprehensible advances in technology, the overall message in these statements, over the last sixty (yes, 60!) years is still quite relevant today. An yet, many organizational leaders still perceive the physical work environment as merely an enclosed, conditioned space where their employees “work”!
Today, there are enormous amounts of valuable information substantiating the need for appropriate workspace for this, not-so-new, way of work. Planned Space that supports today’s interactive work processes, while providing semi-private areas for more concentrative work, is a must in business acumen.
A physical workplace that defines work is not a short-lived trend but a critical asset to business success!
Business leaders are being inundated with reasons to create a more competitive, interactive, work facility for their organizations. And, yes, there is a lot of merit to the value of a workplace planned for the new work initiatives. With that said, much of the push for innovative space seems to be from an “all-or-nothing” perspective which does not need to be the case!
Many going concerns are doing just fine in today’s business environment with a much more traditional business model in place. As a result, their leadership is reluctant to fix something that is far from broken. They do however, see significance in creating area(s) within their organizational space that promote the valuable, interactive, space that can lead to innovative thought within their ranks.
The most logical location to incorporate this type of “communicative” space, within the existing work environment, is in a place where most of the employees naturally cross paths throughout the day. The obvious areas of consideration would be lunch rooms, break areas, copy/support areas and , the often underutilized, entry foyer. Any of these areas could be targeted and repurposed as a virtual oasis of highly interactive, collaborative, thus Innovative Space!
This physical environment, promoting somewhat serendipitous, cross disciplinary, interaction, will greatly accelerate new thought within the overall organization without disrupting the more traditional work modes. However, leadership cannot rely on a “if you build it, they will come” mentality! Employees must be informed of the physical changes within the new environment and be thoroughly educated as to how the space is to be utilized to its potential.
The addition of this new, more open and inviting, location within the existing facility will greatly compliment the more traditional workplace …allowing all employees a greater choice from which to bring their goals to fruition.
I recently attended a presentation given by Kirk A. Young, President of Job Match Assessment, an Overland Park based consulting firm that serves organizations by quite literally, matching available jobs with high performing individuals specifically suited for the job.
Kirk spoke of the recent challenges of “Engaging and Motivating Millennials”. He explained that, even today, many workers new to the workforce come in like other generations have. “…anything is possible but the costs and the paths are not clear”.
Today’s business leaders, and particularly HR Professionals, have an entirely new set of values to match when working with the millennial generation. Leadership must know and understand the unique needs of millennials well. Millennials live in a highly connected society so leadership must make it a point to connect with them. And, they, in-turn, must be allowed to be interconnected with their leadership. In order to be fully effective, millennials must be “continually informed” of the goals of the organization. They must be provided the skills and the tools to do their work in a “Self-Managed” and “Self-Directed” environment.
Today, motivated employees are working to maintain and grow their personal vision of themselves. As a result, their success is achieved by reaching their personal goals as they relate to the fulfillment of their organization’s goals.
As suggested by Kirk, HR Professionals can utilize on-line tools to support their efforts in engaging and motivating millennial employees. For further information, please visit Kirk’s website at JobMatchAssessment.com.
Certainly, as change relates to organizational culture, in many cases, excessive management merely gets in the way!
True cultural change must be promoted through a forward thinking Leadership Team pointing the direction of business goals …allowing their respective associates, as individuals and in groups, the autonomy to reach their objectives.
Behavioral change is occurring within the workplace that is far beyond the control of organizational leadership! This transformation of the basic human condition is innate in today’s society and is greatly affecting the “Culture” of every business organization.
For perhaps the first time in history, leadership is not is a position to totally stipulate the overall work arrangement and work processes of their employees. They must work WITH their associates …sharing the goals of the organization and, together, creating a path to their fulfillment.
Likewise, business leaders must thoroughly understand the social atmosphere of their organization. Good or Bad, the existing social culture of an organization is very hard to change. However, through the planned physical manipulation of people, work-tools (including furniture) and the work-space, a highly effective work environment can be realized.
Promoting the strengths of your workforce culture through a planned work environment is a critical element to business success.
Business decisions regarding your direction to the future cannot be taken lightly and must be continually reviewed to assure that you are on the right path to success. At the speed of today’s business, we cannot merely react to change and remain in control of our business objectives. As business leaders, we must be able to perceive change as it relates to our organization and determine the most logical path in which to either avoid its interference or take advantage of the opportunity it brings.
None of us can predict the future with any certainty. However, there are things that we can do to get a baring on our business path. We may not be able to forecast the future but we can utilize Futures Envisioning in order to visualize where we want to be in the future and strive to move in that direction.
A thorough knowledge of the TRENDS & DRIVERS of today’s business will help to determine a plausible path to your business goals. Where do you want your organization to be in five years and what do you need to do in order to get there? Imagining and agreeing where you want to be, as an organization, is the first and most critical step to futures envisioning. Upon agreement by the various disciplines of your organization, the second phase would be determining and prioritizing the steps that will be necessary to get there. What strengths within are the mainstay of your success and what can be done to enhance that particular performance? On the other hand, what weaknesses are impeding your forward progress and what can be done to overcome them? Do your associates have an adequate physical facility with the tools and technology necessary to perform in an effective and efficient manner? A very open and candid understanding of these and other factors within your organization (both good and bad) must be addressed in order to determine your critical steps to the future.
The resulting information gained from a successful envisioning session will lead to a unified leadership team that is actively pursuing, from their respective disciplines, the same end goal to the future.
We must continually peer into the future and direct our course with a pro-active plan that incorporates anticipated change. …researching the future to predict a positive and successful outcome.
This article from GlobeSt.com. Bernice Boucher is lead of JLL’s workplace strategy and is right on in her comments regarding the Evolving Workplace. …Check it out!
- Do your people have the tools they need to do their jobs?
- Does their workplace support collaborative activities as well as other aspects of employee’s jobs?
…Can they concentrate? Can they share ideas? (There is a percentage game there that is critical to space planning!)
- What combination of spaces will best support the variety and proportion of the work modes identified?
- Is the message your environment sends consistent with the rest of the organization? What about sustainability?
- Does your space allocation and management strategy position your organization for the future?
It truly is about people, Your People!
A thorough and candid understanding of your organization must be the center-point of futures thinking in regards to providing an appropriate physical work environment. Again, your organization is unique. Your cultural criteria cannot be based on assumptions of other, like, organizations!
Take the time to create a foundation of knowledge regarding your organization. It will lead to organizational space that truly enhances your valued employees productivity!
I was recently honered to give a presentation to the Kansas City Chapter of the International Facilities Management Association.
My subject matter, as usual, was the unprecedented CHANGE in Individuals within the workforce and what facilities managers, and certainly their Leadership, must do in order to utilitize it to the good of their organization.
Some brief notes from that presentation:
Business Leaders must acknowledge and use a new process on understanding change within their organization and creating a VISION of that new organization that informs and inspires fresh and enlightening views of the required physical workplace.
The work-day, as we know it, is a thing of the past! Jason Fried tells us that, “We have traded the eight-hour work day for twenty-four hours of ‘work-moments’.”
Old paradigms of thought regarding the workplace environment are no longer effective! …Every organization is unique unto itself!
Decisions regarding the organizational workplace can no longer be based on assumptions! Every business leadership team must have a candid and personal understanding of their organization before they proceed to work with outside professional resources in the planning, design and development of new workspace.