During recent years we have experienced a transformation in how we understand the workplace. A workplace is no longer viewed as purely functional. Today, we are concerned with how employees experience the workplace and how the workplace affects company culture, employee well-being and productivity.
To be able to create workplaces that motivate and inspire people and also reflect the company culture and values, HR and Facility Managers must be aware of the negative factors that can disturb the workplace and eventually prevent them from creating the ultimate workplace experience.
1. Lack of social cohesion and high degree of individualism
No matter how great a workplace design and quality of a service, if employees in a workplace do not feel the care of their co-workers, do not feel comfortable challenging the ideas of others or be challenged themselves in fear of losing face – the workplace, employee well-being and productivity is set to fail.
A great workplace is a place with strong bonds of friendship, caring and knowledge sharing for the good of the company and the team as such.
Facility Managers must consider how the workplace fuels social interaction. If the office space consists of cubicles or many closed areas, creating a workstation with lower – or even non-existing – panel heights might be the right approach. Facility Managers must also make sure that there is plenty of space for social interaction, where employees can break away from work together.
2. Low level of supervision
If there is one thing we know for sure about monitoring behaviours and every single action employee take during a workday, it is that it is far from being a good thing. It simply makes employees uncomfortable.
Giving employees freedom to carry out their tasks and self-manage their work life must be the good thing to do, right?
The fact is that supervision is extremely important for employees’ everyday workplace experience. Research evidence actually suggests that employees’ experiences and conditions at work are closely linked to the levels of engagement that they feel. If employees do not feel supervised, noticed and recognized, their engagement levels simply decrease. Whereas visible and accessible leadership and supervision automatically lead to higher levels of engagement and are typically found in employees whose direct managers exhibit more relationship-oriented behaviour.
Hence, if the consequences of low level supervision are to be avoided, facility managers must use the workplace configuration to define the closeness of the relationship between an employee and supervisor. Workspaces where leaders work directly alongside the team members can undoubtedly make a difference for the level of supervision perceived.
3. Unclear goals and vision
Almost nothing can distort the workplace experience more than if employees do not really know where the company is going and what they are striving to achieve. The employees must know how their every day activities fit into the wider strategic vision and goals in order to find their work purposeful and feel motivated to make a difference.
Even though it is not up to the Facility Managers to develop the overall organisational goals and visions, they can definitely help the C-level executives promote their thoughts in the workspace and also reflect the identity and ambitions of the organisation in the workplace design as such.
On the individual or team level, the goals and visions can be clarified by creating physical communication boards in each team area that can help visualise the performance versus the goal while telling the company stories of the organisation over all.
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