Let’s face it, offices used to be all about little soldiers coming to work to produce their workloads each day. Working 9am to 5pm, having an hour for lunch. Suits, ties and a rigid environment and don’t ever show a mobile phone on your desk. But what does an office look like in 2019 and beyond.
We need to embrace our new millenniums to the workplace and offer a workplace that they want to come to, we need to shift our minds from, these are rules, if you don’t like it, you are not the right fit for our business.
I’m not suggesting that the new employees get nothing done, and I am certainly not suggesting that Instagram surfing all day is acceptable. But it is well known these days that our newest workers need to be connected, they almost starve without checking their social media and also, that suit and tie, well suits are still ok, but ties have hit the back of the wardrobe and smart casual is becoming the new professional look.
I agree, it depends on the industry, it depends on the role within the company. But flexibility and comfort are trending in the workplace more and more each year.
Let’s talk about the daily commute for a moment, getting on a jam-packed freeway at 7am to make it to the office by 9am, up to 2 hours to start our day bumper to bumper.
Or even better, hoping on public transport and having to fight your way into a overcrowded train or tram, never getting a seat and always having that lovely body odour no matter which way you turn. This is all after waiting for multiple full vessels to pass you and a crowd of people.
So why, oh why, does everyone start at 9am?
Changing hours to avoid horrible peak hour experiences can make such a difference to the working week. Lower frustrations and offer this flexibility to your team.
Start early, finish early, start late finish late, there are many options.
So rigid, so boring, so not necessary.
We’ve all seen it. The local café at 12pm, it’s a mess, you wait almost half your lunch break to get your food and then try and find a seat to have it.
These days with the likes of UberEATS and Deliveroo, we have again flexibility in time.
Maybe some workers enjoy to get away from the desk for a full hour, go for a walk, call their friend back or go and run an errand at the bank. But what about those that don’t. To some people an hour for lunch feels like a lifetime and the task they are working on feel like a weight on their shoulders.
Offering flexibility, things like, take 20mins for your tea breaks and 40mins for lunch can also bring a sense of value to employees today.
This is very popular in modern work engagements. With parents returning to the workforce and some business tasks being needed during international times of day, having the flexibility to have employees working remotely is a huge advantage to today’s workplace.
This also needs careful consideration and open communication. Working on a give and take system and having a structure behind the agreement.
It has become the norm and will only expand in employee offerings as time goes on as technology around it has become simple and trackable.
OK, so here is the elephant in the room. What is acceptable, what’s too much. Do I give and inch and they take a mile? Finding this balance can be tricky.
I think you will find help in the point above, offering flexible break times, helps the new generation stay connected and therefore helps feed their cravings during working times.
We all know if we open the flood gates, there is no getting a decent day’s work done!
It takes the average employee 15-20mins to refocus on work after a distraction, but these kids have been distracted their whole lives, this is normal to them, perhaps the stats on the millennium to refocus has changed?
So be open and honest with employees about your rules, set what you are comfortable with and ensure everyone agrees. And not just everyone says yes, actually have a good conversation about it.
Office Look and Feel
You want your employees to want to come to work. The feel of an office can make or break this for some millenniums.
Having a funky interactive space can entice attendance and boost morale in the team can lead to more work, better atmosphere and means better returns for your business.
Have you watched the movie about Google? The headquarters of Google made employees want to work there. Modern, engaging and socially enhanced workplaces are getting applicants by the masses.
Sometimes it can be the little things, such as colour schemes, lighting, a coffee machine, open plan, and optional work areas.
Laptops are replacing desktops; office desks are being transformed like coworking spaces.
Yes, I know again, it depends on the industry, but do what you can in your office to make it home away from home. A lounge area, a trendy lunch hub can mean your employees want to stay and want to work harder and engage for your company.
And you can’t forget the perks… what do you offer employees? Why would someone want to work in your office compared to another business in the same industry?
You can make your office one of the perks. Back to the hours and flexibility, another perk you can offer and if you can offer the remote working arrangement this is also a common perk in modern working arrangements.
Many businesses these days can’t offer things like employee discounts, depending on the business itself, we need to find other creative ways to entice employees.
Think about what you offer in way of social gatherings, the annual Xmas party, further education for your team and above all, don’t forget to ask them what they want.
Remember when interviewing new employees, your business is being interviewed also.