Why We Need To Move From Being Just Another Monotonous Office To A Flexible, Vibrant Workspace

Employers of today need to focus on the overall health and a structured long-term development of the employees to ensure a long-term profitability, sustenance, and evolution of not just the organisation but the universal community.

Karndee Leopairote & Chulamas Jitpatima(Amy)

The past decade has witnessed drastic and rapid transitions and changes in work culture across industries globally. Our present conditions like the pandemic induced lockdown are a true testament to this fast-evolving space, and employers, real estate developers and designers must remember that the process of designing a workspace needs to be regularly revisited. Before designing and putting in place an ecosystem that caters future workforce, companies must understand how the work landscape will be evolved. In this context, workspace does not necessarily limit itself to ‘physical’ working area, but the ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’ workspace intertwine to create a fitting blend.

The Evolving Expanse

The professional expanse is quite diverse. While baby boomers are in no rush to retire, and Gen X are the current power houses, Gen Y who were once referred to as the job hoppers, are living among explosive external changes and are faced with unprecedented challenges presented by the VUCA (Volatility Uncertainty Complexity and Ambiguity) world. Gen Z too have now started to enter the workforce and seem to be creating their own niche, be it with their strong affinity towards social responsibility and sustainability and brands galore are adapting and acing up to pace up with the newer breed of future workforce. And what is emanating from all of this is absolute evolution.

Within the sphere of careers and employment, an important aspect that remains often ignored is quality education that is the only available tool to address gaps and create job-ready students and bolster employability. According to World Economic Forum, it is estimated that up to 65% of children will end up in occupations that do not even exist today. In addition, over a billion people currently in the age group of working professionals today will need re-education or recalibration of their existing skill set by 2030, propelled by accelerating technological advancements. Realising this is going to be both a huge challenge and a tremendous opportunity companies are likely to seize.

A Futuristic Viewpoint

Our entire work environment is evolving, and this changing discourse involves not only the employers, but also the employees. Individuals do not just want to build careers, there is a holistic perspective that is now strongly linked to one’s professional life.

Futuristic work-life may involve the need for more than one qualification along with continual up-skilling and streamlining. Even though up-skilling of the workforce may pose challenges, the aim of employers for the aligned workforce must be life-long learning, wherein Learning & Development shall be an indispensable component for every organisation. Hence, companies need workspace that resembles an ageless campus where all generations will be alleviated to put an ‘always-on mode’ on the need to learn how to learn, not among any specific functions, but mingle across multiple disciplines, expertise, and profiles

The World Economic Forum predicts that over 40 percent of the core competencies linked to most occupations may be replaced with skills currently not deemed necessary for the profession by 2022. Married experiences of online and offline work, social interactions and healthy community collaborations will become a norm. In such a rapidly modifiable environment, hybrid work structure would present the best of both worlds: providing a good framework and sociability, along with the much-needed independence and flexibility. Companies need to critically consider designing adaptable and multi-functional open spaces with ergonomic and adjustable furniture which would promote and

enhance a sense of ease coupled with transparent communication, where everyone can be seen and heard, with the ideals of mobility and flexibility strongly pronounced.

For All Well-Being

As a community, there needs to be a shift of perspective. Employers of today need to focus on the overall health and a structured long-term development of the employees to ensure a long-term profitability, sustenance, and evolution of not just the organisation but the universal community.

Several biophilic studies have indicated that people have an innate affinity towards being part of nature in some way. This implies, being surrounded by live office plants at their workstations, or having access to natural light. Providing employees access to indoor plants, nature, and natural light can improve their mental well-being which also leads to improved overall health and productivity. As a natural fallout, more and more brands need to factor in sustainability while designing workspaces.

The future space and the dire need to be self-organised is strongly based on trust, on a foundation of competence and merit. This can be enabled only if there is a sense of continuous communication, harmony among employees and enhanced participation by all concerned. There must be a tilling of priorities, from merely being a corporate or a business to growing as a community; and a move from being just another monotonous office to a flexible, vibrant workspace. Therefore, plug and play seems to emerge stronger and enable organisations ensure higher impact and productivity in days to come.

The article is co-authored by Dr. Karndee Leopairote, FutureTales Lab, MQDC and Chulamas Jitpatima, Country Director, MQDC India

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