This may strike you as a silly question with an obvious answer, but in today’s world it’s actually not as clear cut as it seems; and in tomorrow’s world it’s not at all what you’d think. In fact, this is same question that inspired our latest seminar, and one that more and more of our clients are beginning to ask.
Why is that?
Over the past few decades we’ve seen huge advancements in communication technology, and in less than ten years we’ve seen everything from smart phones and tablets to instant messaging have an enormous impact on the way we work. At the same time we’re seeing a stark increase in office rental prices and what is now the lowest unemployment rate since before the last recession.
With competition being stiff for both office space and talent, a new approach is needed to attract and secure the best people for your team.
The trouble is, if you pack in your talent like battery hens they’ll simply walk away. And if you give everyone all the space they think they need then you’ll go broke. What is a business to do?
Answering this question requires a deeper understanding of how productivity is best achieved in the workplace, with a reconsideration not only of when we work, but how and where we choose to do it.
Grandma’s phone table
Most of us have one. There it sits in the front hall, a determined throwback to a bygone era. And the only companions it has in this space are the lone chair sitting next to it and the draught protection lying at the bottom of the front door. It’s been 20 years since cordless phones became the standard, and in the past ten years mobile phones have become the norm.
Combine all of this with the fact that BT is preparing to shut off the ISDN network, and we’re left with a remarkable realisation…
Attended by professionals from a cross section of London-based businesses, our latest seminar brought into focus the ever-growing need for unified communications in the workplace, exploring the ways in which work habits are continuing to change in response to this new reality.
Workforces now have their own technology, and instead of enforcing outdated options, it’s now possible for talent to ‘plug into’ businesses with their own devices. This new platform provided by Fusion allows for a unified and simplified strategy.
This is not Agile working. This is Gigging.
Enabling businesses to function more efficiently and effectively with a unified and collaborative workforce is something we at Woodalls describe as a ‘gigging desk’, or in other words, a work station that promotes rather than hinders mobility. Just as roadies have the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate between music gigs, so too should office workers have the opportunity to take time out from their desks to discuss ideas, reflect on their work and mentally prepare for the next task at hand.
Being tied to just one work station decreases mobility and, therefore, the possibility of creative collaboration, increasing instead an individualistic and hour-driven attitude among workforces, which ultimately leads to inefficiency caused by an overwhelming sense of disconnection.
Important to think about in the design of workspace is the new day-in-the-life of our gigging workforce. Arriving and departing are critically important aspects to consider, and the inclusion of a space where people can both prepare for the day and shake it off before heading home is as vital to productivity as the desk itself. Shoving lockers into a dark corner is not the way to approach gigging – a celebration of arrival is required. Allowing for social interaction in that critical time enables people to mentally and physically prepare for the day, much like social gatherings enable us to gear up for big events.
And there’s also a moral imperative here.
With an ever-growing number of parents in the workplace, it’s more vital than ever that achievement in the workplace be effort-driven and focused on results, rather than judged by the amount of hours that are clocked in and out. Isn’t it about time that we allow working parents to get to and from their gigging stations in a way that’s conducive to their family responsibilities? With a range of innovative design and technology options at our fingertips, it’s never been easier or more vital to improve workspaces with dynamic, attractive and highly functional solutions that make people feel proud to show up to work, and motivated to work hard as part of a team while they’re there.
At Woodalls we’re currently designing a space on the 11th floor of The Shard for an iconic publishing company, and together we’re driving this conversation forward.
Our guests at this seminar were given a glimpse into the future of the contemporary workspace. The next one is set to be even better.