In recent years, drastic changes have occurred in the workplace. Previously the aim of the employer was to restrain staff within the workplace walls for as many hours of the day as humanly possible; providing free lunch so that they weren’t tempted to leave their desks and therefore miss out on precious work time. The culture was centred around maximising work production, in turn, leading to unhealthy, stressed, exhausted and over-worked individuals with little room for personal lives (and suffering from a severe vitamin D deficiency).
Cut to the present day and the strategy behind office functionality has altered dramatically. The goal for employees now being to encourage staff to spend as much time outside of the office walls as possible; socialising, walking, observing and breathing in fresh (if not polluted) air.
Free gym memberships and yoga classes are now offered as incentives to encourage employees to leave the building. As generous as this may sound, this also functions as a slightly selfish, albeit clever, ploy. Statistics show that fresh air and hour-long lunch breaks make for happier employees, in turn leading to greater employee retention, superior work culture and improved work quality due to a heightened level of productivity. Furthermore, healthier employees lead to less sick days. It’s a win-win situation; happier staff means better results in the long-run.
The shift in workplace culture has seen the focus reformed; it is no longer resting on the number of hours worked but rather the amount of work completed. Employees are realising that a level of flexibility must be offered in how work expectations are approached. The goal having gone from ‘your work must be done by the end of the day’ to, ‘I don’t mind when or where you do your work, as long as it gets done’.
The fact is, modern-day life is miles away from where it once was; with the work place culture being forced to accommodate. Many employees are now encouraged to work from home or their favourite coffee shops. Board meetings are now hosted over Skype, Google Hangout and WhatsApp rather than in conference rooms; all of this leading to less face-to-face time and more FaceTime, if you will.
The physical requirements for an office are evolving too. Requests for open spaces and fewer walls are becoming increasingly popular; rendering individual cubicles a thing of the past. It’s not so much about requiring private workspace but rather sharing your space and encouraging collaborations and new relationships to be formed. A communal culture is now what many companies seek. CEOs are choosing to step out of their private confined offices and instead are mingling amongst employees to gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of their businesses (literally).
Dress codes are also slowly coming to an end; although certain industries will always adopt the suit and tie requirement; many are beginning to opt for a more relaxed attire; encouraging jeans and t-shirts; anything that will make staff feel at home. In fact, coming to work in fancy dress (and I mean that in the literal term) would be quite strange in today’s working world.
Statistics reveal that one third of a human’s life is spent working. That’s roughly 30 years of your life spent doing ‘what you love’. People are starting to realise, now more than ever, that life doesn’t have to be spent behind a desk full of ‘shoulda, woulda, couldas’ and are doing something about it. Life is for the living, as much as for the working and being a zombie 9-5 is not exactly the way forward.