In a groundbreaking survey encompassing over a million employees, a clear trend is emerging: the modern workplace is no longer just a physical space; it's a holistic environment that considers the wellbeing of its workforce. Employers are investing in a deeper understanding of what wellbeing means for employees, ushering in a new era where addressing employee needs is not just a choice but a necessity.
Over the last 150 years, the workplace landscape has undergone significant changes. What was once about fulfilling job requirements has transformed into a focus on what employers can do to enhance the employee experience. This shift is not merely an option; it's a demand from the workforce. The days of treating employee wellbeing as a nice-to-have are over; it's now a critical aspect of company culture.
One of the notable changes is the acknowledgment that wellbeing is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Employers are recognizing the diverse needs of their global workforce, which includes new mothers, new fathers, individuals from different cultures, and those with varying requirements. The challenge now lies in creating a workplace that caters to everyone, fostering a sense of belonging for each employee.
The importance of providing a physical and virtual environment that accommodates diverse needs cannot be overstated. For some, the desire for ultimate freedom leads them to freelancing or contracting. Others seek clarity and strength in leadership, something that becomes especially crucial when companies face uncertainties about their future.
Long commutes and a sense of being owned during office hours are becoming relics of the past. A well-crafted roadmap is emerging as the solution – not an immediate arrival at the destination, but a commitment to start the journey. Employers are realizing that they play a pivotal role in the overall wellbeing and longevity of their workforce, introducing new variables into the equation.
Real estate professionals are stepping into this new era by incorporating elements that support health and wellbeing into their designs. From dedicated spaces for parents to quiet areas and employee assistance programs, the design of the workplace is evolving to encompass both physical and soft elements that contribute to employee wellbeing.
Global trends, including ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), are influencing workplace design. Employee assistance programs, initially introduced to address issues like alcoholism, now extend to understanding air quality and overall health. Collaboration between various professionals, from architects with workplace experience to sustainability experts, is essential to navigating this complex landscape.
An essential aspect of this transformation is ensuring that employee feedback translates into immediate action. The commitment to employee wellbeing should not be confined to the construction phase but should extend into the operational budget, allowing for continuous improvements based on employee input.
Investing in employee health and wellbeing doesn't always require a financial splurge. Standard Chartered, for example, has introduced parental leave for all types of parents, showcasing how a strategic approach to employee benefits can create a positive impact.
In the quest for wellbeing, some elements, such as biophilia and basic amenities like coffee, are gaining prominence. Employees notice these small yet impactful details, making them integral to the overall workplace experience.
As we navigate this evolving landscape, creating a proforma for employee wellbeing is becoming essential. The investment in the workplace should extend beyond the physical structure; buildings should communicate with their users, fostering an environment where employees thrive both personally and professionally.
In summary, the future workplace is about more than just a desk and a computer; it's a holistic environment that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of its occupants. Employers, designers, and professionals from various fields are joining forces to create a workplace that not only meets the diverse needs of employees but also contributes to their overall sense of belonging and fulfillment. The future of work is here, and it's centered on the wellbeing of the workforce.