Workplace vs. workforce: A powerful dynamic

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This post was originally published in October 2014 and was refreshed in October 2018.

From Julia Georgules
New England Research Director

 

Only a few short years ago, news of the millennials entering the workforce and dramatically changing the landscape of work and workplace was all that anyone could talk about. And for good reason. Millennials remain on track to comprise half of the workforce by 2020; with the youngest of them just heading off to college and the oldest of them forming families, contemplating suburban living and affordability, and taking on leadership positions within their organization. They are a generation that never knew a work life before mobile devices. One that’s emerged as adults in an economy more competitive and fast-paced than ever, where everyone now operates on a time continuum called “live-work-play” rather than maintaining a home-life and a work-life.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that millennials eventually began asking for more from their workplace. It’s not that they’re entitled, it’s that they’ve been empowered to make the most out of every minute of their day and if their workplace can enable a better experience, why wouldn’t we all be asking for this?

But wait, it is more than just millennials who have decided that a workplace could provide for an engaging, empowering, and fulfilling experience. In fact, we have the research to prove it. In a global survey conducted by JLL in 2016 across a variety of industries, career levels, and job functions, more than 7,000 respondents provided feedback on the elements that would create a more unique experience.

Do you notice the ingredients that ranked most favorably? Happiness, creativity, inspiration, and personal learning and development.

But this is an article about workplace? How can a workplace/workspace foster inspiration, creativity, or personal learning and development? Similar to artists or writers who travel to faraway lands or picturesque destinations to be inspired by culture, scenery, or the solitude, employees are now turning to their workplace to achieve the same results. It’s the reason why coworking companies like WeWork, The Wing, or Knotel have become so popular. One step inside any one of these workspaces and it’s clear that the experience has been carefully designed.

Additionally, the top three elements that our survey respondents felt would empower them most in the workplace were trust, kindness, and the ability to take initiative. Some of the ways in which employers, and their real estate, can enable this is by providing employees with the choice of how and where they work best. Offering a variety of workspace options within the office allows employees to move to areas where they feel they’ll do their best work. Not only does this consider the needs of employees (kindness), but it also shows that employers trust their employees to make good decisions.

Another way in which employers can meet the needs of employees today is by providing them with the tools and technologies needed to be successful. With the right space and resources, employees can take advantage of these initiatives on behalf of their organization, and employers benefit by fostering innovative and creative thinking.

Given the choice, wouldn’t you want the same?

For any additional information, feel free to contact me.

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