Many work environments have all of the tools needed to create a successful workplace where employees can fully thrive. These tools range from tangible elements such as technology and furniture to immaterial elements including policy and communication. The key to creating a successful workplace – and also the area where many work environments fail in doing so – is using their tools as a cohesive unit to create a resilient workplace. The resilient workplace is successful by nature because it is based on the concept of looking at your space as more than just “space”, but as an ecosystem. Like an ecosystem, the workplace is a community of interacting users and their physical environment, and their tools are the components that link everything together. By identifying your tools and viewing your workplace through the lens of an ecosystem you will be able to shape your work environment into the resilient workplace it has the capability to be.
As mentioned, some of the key tools of the resilient workplace include technology, furniture, policy and communication. Let’s dive into each a bit further:
1. Technology: Wireless technology in the workplace is essential for a resilient workplace. Laptops, fixed monitors, iPads, and tablets are examples of some of the tools that are more commonly implemented in today’s workforce. These tools allow for one-on-one and dispersed collaboration. A fixed monitor in a small conference room allows for digital content to be shared locally or with dispersed colleagues. Integrated video conferencing allows for remote colleagues to see local participants and other elements within the space such as whiteboards or easels.
2. Furniture: Furniture should be fluid and interchangeable to allow for easy reconfiguration, with a focus on comfort and ergonomics. A semi-secluded, relaxed area offers a change of scenery and provides users with a “retreat” space during the day. Alternatively, such an area can also be used for collaboration and informal meetings. An open-office island acts as a hub for communication and can be suited as a place to eat lunch or work independently.
3. Policy: Having a policy in place is important, but having a policy that has been co-created with employees is equally as important, effective and reliable. By engaging employees in company policy, it provides a chance for the creation of a living document that can change and adapt over time to reflect best practices. It is important within the workplace ecosystem to ensure that users feel comfortable, included and supported. As people change, so should policy.
4. Communication: Communication occurs through social media, conference calls, web meetings, and face-to-face collaboration. While everybody has a preference as to what works best for them, the options are necessary in order to establish a resilient workplace that supports users and their preferred work style(s). Many workplaces today are familiar with these forms of communication but have failed to implement them as a systematic approach across the workplace life cycle within the workplace ecosystem.
The workplace ecosystem supports physical, intellectual and emotional well-being by providing users with a range of options within the workplace. Ideally, the more options there are, the better. Providing people with a sense of choice and control over where and how they work can help in fostering productivity and engagement. The workplace ecosystem also creates a foundation for working through common issues such as space optimization, as well as generational differences within the work space. Humans have the ability to evaluate and change over time based on their surroundings. The resilient workplace demands a shift in the way we use space and provides an outlet to promote the user’s ability to work through any individual and organizational challenges that may arise.
Article By – Brittany Huber, Marketing Coordinator