WORKspace vs workSPACE
Over the past few months I have been speaking to organisations in varied industries including Legal, Insurance, Finance, and Engineering and they are all faced with challenges attracting and retaining talented staff and particularly new graduates. I was somewhat surprised given high rates of graduate unemployment quoted on the news, but with companies hiring fewer people, everyone wants the best. These candidates know their worth and come with some very clear ideas about the working life they expect. More than any generation before them, they expect the workspace to adapt to them, just as much if not more than they adapt to it.
So if you are currently looking at your workspace needs, listen to what they are saying and invest time reflecting on how to create a workspace that meets the needs of the new generation while still meeting the needs of everyone else. This is particularly relevant as retirement age climbs and organisations will for the first time have five generations in the workforce.
I think there is an opportunity to think differently about the workspace, particularly when downsizing or upsizing the office to meet changing business needs. Real estate is expensive and location important, but the physical space should not determine how the workspace develops. Rather, its the nature of the work that is done there that should shape the space. And this has changed dramatically over the last decade and will change again over the next.
Unfortunately the design and creation of a physical space is often the most exciting and concrete part of a change programme. It often comes first in the process, working with real estate companies, architects and fit-out firms. In fact many senior stakeholders have an idea of how they want the space to look before they have really given any thought to the work that will be done there.
So next time someone starts a conversation about your new office, I challenge you to address the work issues first and the space issues second. You may find the results surprising and revealing.