We’re not thinking right about workplaces in Australia
Although wellbeing in the workplace has been a hot topic in the UK and USA for some time, it seems that many Australian employers are yet to realise that a well-designed workplace is often directly related to the overall health of a company. BRIAN MARGERISON reports.
“Workspace has nothing to do with talent retention.”
Attracting and retaining talent has always been a big issue for Australian business owners, and steady economic growth has aggravated skills shortages – especially in high-demand industries such as IT, engineering, financial and professional services. No one wants to lose the talented staff they’ve invested in training. And when they do, recruiting new staff is harder than ever. Having a reputation as an up-to-date company with a great working environment can make all the difference.
“Productivity isn’t directly impacted by the working environment.”
This couldn’t be less true – and it’s also bound with the issue of wellbeing.
Workers who can’t find a comfortable space to work, or a suitable place to collaborate on a project, or the technology they need, are frustrated workers. Add the stress and frustration of work piling up, and you have a big hit on any company’s productivity.
“Workspace utilisation isn’t an issue in Australia.”
Demand for workspace has been growing for some time, and rents in Sydney and Melbourne are currently up above $1,000 per square metre. That means every square metre counts and every wasted square metre is simply a waste of money. Finding ways to improve workspace utilisation should be a hot topic for many Australian organisations.
“Our workspace needs never change.”
Many office spaces are laid out the same way they have been for years, with fixed desks and formal meeting rooms that don’t really line up with the needs of a modern workforce. Agile working has seen the arrival of workers on the move, armed with laptops and mobiles. Their needs will often demand more dynamic, activity-based workspaces with flexible desk clusters, team rooms, huddle spaces and informal collaboration spaces. Clearly, we need to evolve our workspace design paradigm to meet these emerging needs.
“Everyone knows exactly how their workspace is being utilised.”
It can be a major headache to track utilisation, recharge other internal departments accurately and identify under-utilised space. If you’re planning to adapt your workspaces to match your employees’ needs, it’s bound to be an on-going process that will involve on-going trial and adjustment to achieve and maintain the ideal design balance. To do this effectively, it’s essential to have the correct automated systems in place to measure actual utilisation.
If you do decide to tackle the challenge of transforming your workplace into the kind of environment that can really help to motivate your workforce and generate a sense of pride in your company, you’ll need to include technology as a key change agent.
Workspace management systems can provide answers to some of the most difficult questions. For example, integrated occupancy sensors can be deployed to provide accurate data about space utilisation in real time, and they can also detect when no one has turned up to use a booked desk or meeting room, and automatically release it back into availability.
These systems can also help you to avoid many of the challenges that typically confront the transformation process. By providing smart, integrated and easy-to-use mobile applications that enable your agile workforce to locate and book the space that they need, you can save them the time and frustration of wandering around the building looking for a place to sit and work or a space to collaborate with team members.
A workplace that combines an effective design that’s suited to the needs of its staff with the latest technology that helps to streamline operations by making it easy to locate and book the ideal space for each of the varied tasks your employees are likely to face in a typical day is a workplace that can reduce waste, keep employees happy and develop in ways that satisfy changing business needs.
Sydney-based Brian Margerison heads up NFS Rendezvous ANZ, bringing to the role 25 years’ experience in selling, implementing and supporting technology solutions for clients across all major sectors. He draws on his broad knowledge of enterprise solutions to maximise the value of NFS enterprise workspace and venue & event management applications for corporate clients in the region. Visit www.nfstechnologygroup.com.au.
Image credit: Shridhar Gupta