To state that employee engagement is a substantial bottom-line issue for organizations is no exaggeration. With their ceaseless dedication, enthusiasm, productivity and resilience, engaged employees keep companies above the waters during economic downturns and drive the competitive edge when the waves go high.
Nonetheless, actively engaged employees only make up 13% of the total workforce worldwide, leaving the rest of the measure to the disengaged. Consistently low engagement can have a negative effect on company success. Disengaged employees are less profitable, productive and loyal.
Organizations can choose from diverse strategies to take on this disengagement issue. Giving employees control over their workspace through Activity Based Working, is one of them.
Correlation between workplace control and employee engagement
Activity Based Working, unlike other workspace concepts, gives employees a choice about how, when and where they work. In the workspace this translates into a choice of work settings, each designed for different types of tasks, behaviours and moods.
Outside of the office, Activity Based Working enables employees to work from anywhere, whether this is at home, from a coffee shop or an airport lounge.
When exploring the differences between engaged and disengaged employees, a consistent theme appears. The more employees feel a sense of control over where and how they work, the more engaged and satisfied they are with their workplace.
Remarkably, 88% of highly engaged employees report that they have great flexibility in their ways of working, depending on the task at hand. This means that if employees need to focus on an important project or get away for a few moments of rejuvenation, they are able to choose the setting that best support those behaviours, whether it being at their primary individual workspace or at other types of spaces throughout the office.
Disengaged employees experience low control over their workspace
The most disengaged employees have the least choice and control over their working environment. 86% of disengaged employees report that they are unable to work in alternative settings based on the tasks they are doing. 87% of these employees feel interrupted frequently when they work in teams and only 15% say they can concentrate when doing individual work.
Whereas Activity Based Working includes an enablement of remote working, the most disengaged employees report that they do not have the option of working remotely, which compromises their professional as well as private flexibility.
Implications for employers, HR and Facility Managers
It has been found that a distinguishing characteristic of engaged employees is that they have a greater degree of control over where and how they work. Control given and enabled by the Activity Based Working concept. Hence, to increase the level of employee engagement, employers and their subsequent HR and Facility Managers must have flexibility as one of their key design principles.
Employees must have access to a variety of working space, including spaces for groups and individuals, mobile and resident workers – and corresponding work policies that enable employees to make choices about the best ways to work.
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