It seems that nearly everyone is looking for a sense of balance amid the flurry of the modern world. As a manager, CEO or other company official, you try to find the balance between remaining a profitable force in your industry while your employees seek to find balance between working hard to help meet your goals while earning a living without falling prey to stress and its negative ramifications.
As complex as the problem may seem at first glance, there are certainly ways that you can create and cultivate a collaborative and upbeat working environment where you and your valued team achieve the balance you need.
Everyone Likes to Enjoy a Sense of Mutual Respect, Privacy and Autonomy
The October 13, 2014 Entrepreneur article entitled “Your Workers Want More Flexibility But Companies Benefit Most” states that “54 percent [of survey respondents]
report that home, not the office, is their location of choice to undertake important job-related assignments. Additionally, 18 percent said they would choose the office, but only outside standard hours. Only 19 percent said they would go to the office during regular working hours to get important work done.”
Since you, like many employers, prefer to have your employees and managers on-site for meetings and nurturing a cooperative work culture upon which you can all grow and thrive together, the idea of telecommuting may not offer the ideal solution, but it sparks questions and possible conversations about what you can do to offer your employees a greater sense of comfort and privacy in the workplace.
The Entrepreneur articles goes on to discuss the root of the issues that might give birth to employees’ daydreams of spending days at home, away from the office, or at least trying out some sort alternative flexible floor plan situation, including the following:
- 61 percent of respondents cite office politics and conflicts as reasons to seek alternative working arrangements
- 59 percent of those surveyed noted that they would appreciate fewer interruptions from colleagues, no matter how well-meaning
- 56 percent of queried employees responded that their work and productivity would benefit from fewer general distractions, overall
As part of the management team for your organisation, you feel and sympathize with their frustration since the same issues can sometimes escalate and impose a drag on morale for everyone, leaving you to wonder how to foster a more positive working environment that benefits everyone. When you work with a team, you not only get the best of everyone’s respective talent and abilities to do their work, but you also work with human beings who have varying personalities, opinions, stress tolerance levels and approaches to dealing with the work environment.
When you ponder the idea of creating an environment that allows for mutual respect, privacy and autonomy, you might wonder how to create such an environment without risking the loss of cohesiveness and productivity. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith and simple trust that your staff want to do their best and that their frustration with the current office dynamics is stifling. Many employers enjoy falling back on traditional office layouts that feature an open floor full of cubicles with low dividers — or no partitions or dividers at all — and thus no privacy.
Employers have managed to deal with the struggles that such environments dole out to them for several decades. To a degree. The workplace is an ever-changing animal, and each member of your team is unique and has certain needs that will help encourage them to give you their best work. Many organisations have ignored such individual traits over the years; probably to their own detriment. As a savvy, modern and attuned employer, you understand that you need to address these concerns by engaging positive strategies.
“Workplaces Need More Walls, Not Fewer”
The Washington Post released an article in December 2014 that discusses Google’s adoption of the open-office plan, leading to a sub-heading that reads “Workplaces need more walls, not fewer.” The article notes that several major corporations — including Google, Yahoo, eBay, Goldman Sachs and American Express — have joined, or led, the 70 percent of offices across the United States alone that have “torn down the walls.”
Not only do employees in these open floor plan offices need to avert their eyes — sometimes with great struggle and strain if they face challenges, which may include staff members who struggle with anxiety or those who identify as introverts — from peripheral distractions, they can also hear every bit of white noise that abounds in a fully staffed office where random conversations, piped in music, the din of printers without buffer can adversely affect attention and ability to deliver requisite productivity for the most dedicated employees.
While the open floor plan’s open concept’s modern iteration was inspired by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s approach and ongoing success, which certainly makes it seem appealing to global business moguls as an attempt to create a veneer of transparency and fairness, it simply does not work for all businesses. If you have looked around your office and note that your current environment does not feature an upbeat and productive staff, and your results and profits even remotely reflect the situation, it is time to search for solutions.
Focus On Creating a Flexible Office That Inspires the Perfect Combination of Collaboration and Privacy
It might sound like a tall order, but turning your office into a flexible and dynamic space is not as challenging as it seems. It takes work and trust to make it a reality. Doing nothing in the face of stagnation rarely renders the desired result, so your plan to help to take steps to create a better working environment is the perfect first step toward opening your office to exciting possibilities for renewed vibrancy and competency.
Turning your goals toward creating a holistic approach may help you revolutionize your business. The consideration of a flexible office plan can help you see your office space’s possibilities in a bold new light. Such an environment — giving you license to think outside the box and confines of traditional notions about office environments — lets you focus on your employees as individuals while also keeping in mind the well-being of your entire staff and its camaraderie.
Installing workplace partitioning solutions gives employees the chance to work according to their own comfort zone to decrease stress and improve productivity. By offering your employees their own little corner of the world in which to work in privacy, you instill a sense of mutual trust that can only further your mutual bond and success. The HR Council of Canada reports that businesses that commit to flexible office atmospheres — in their many forms — enjoy great benefits and returns from employees that include:
- Reduced absenteeism and/or lateness
- Increased productivity because of fewer distractions or interactions between colleagues
Such a sense of trust and respect from employers, by providing private work spaces, helps employees reach greater depths in concentration to complete work without distraction and far less stress. Employees feel a greater sense of pride and look forward to taking responsibility in their own work that they can accomplish in their own space, in their own time and on their own terms. No longer do they need to tune out impromptu conversations that strike up right next to their desk or ongoing passive-aggressive skirmishes among fellow colleagues.
Your employees can take on greater control and creativity about their own flexible office space, as far as optimizing the design for comfort and enhanced productivity once they settle in. Making it their own space gives them the freedom and ability to work at the top of their game each day.
Use Office Partition Solutions to Create Optional Working Environments
In addition to kitchen areas and break rooms, you might consider the value of designing a unique space where employees can gather to work on their own projects among colleagues. Create a space that features mixed furnishings, such as sofas and comfortable cushioned chairs, as well as communal work tables with swivel chairs. Even your privacy seekers might want to join in this type of collaborative and engaging environment from time to time.
Thanks to the ever-increasing mobility of technology, it is simple for employees to pick up their tablet, smartphone or laptop and stroll down the hallway toward this collaborative destination space where they not only can make the choice to work in a more lively atmosphere, but they can also lightly chat while working.
These types of spaces let your valued staff members know that they are not “chained to their desks” and that you welcome an upbeat atmosphere that might bear exciting new ideas to increase productivity. An open creative space might also serve as a way to alleviate any office frustrations and politics since traditional settings can often create barriers where there really are none.
Most importantly, this type of flexible office space gives you another way to express your belief in your staff’s abilities and level of commitment to achieving the best possible productivity while not keeping constant watch over them. While you set certain workplace rules — that your staff agrees to upon reviewing your policies — to help facilitate these freedoms, everyone stands to benefit from taking this leap together.
Workplace Partitions Allow for Other Creative Work Areas
As you continue to expand your ideas about the possibilities for flexible office space, you might consider other innovations to further enhance your overall office environment:
- Temporary Worker, Consultant and Outside Personnel Spaces. Consider situations where you need to call in a team of temporary staff members to help you through special projects. These workers often find themselves shoved into a far-off corner among stacks of boxes, wondering how to find their way back to the reception area at the end of the day. By using workplace partitions to design auxiliary spaces can help you welcome teams or short-term staff, consultants, outside accountants or auditors who come to call.
- Part-Time and Flexible Work Schedule Areas. Perhaps your company allows for flexible working schedule arrangements that allow employees lenience in their work environment. The Australian Government’s Business Council cites that these workers might include those working at home, also known as teleworkers or telecommuters, as well as those who choose to work flexible hours, flexible patterns or flexible rostering. Additional flexible work programs include those involving job sharing and employees returning from work after maternity leave or illness. In order to give these employees easier access to exits — for their convenience, as well as a measure to prevent disruption for their colleagues during their transitions — you can create a special zone in your office to house these staff members.
- Greater Overall Ability to Efficiently and Flexibly Use Your Office Space. Sometimes when employees leave, you may not need to hire someone to fill that position, leaving you with an open space. If that space is adjacent to another open area, you can easily remove a partition to create a unique new and functional space instead of needing to letting a quality space sit unoccupied.
The Long-Term Benefits of Creating a Flexible Office Space With Room Dividers
It might seem an obvious point, but committed, professional, knowledgeable and highly qualified employees tend to stay with their employer longer when they feel respected and that their needs are heard and met. Like some employers who do not look at the big picture for their organisation, you could stick with the status quo and keep open space environments or low partitions that cause discomfort and even distress, but you run the risk of incurring unnecessary turnover rates that lead to greater expenses in hiring, training and other costs associated with revolving staffing.
Search for Workplace Solutions to Create a Flexible Office Space That Serves Everyone’s Needs
As you search for the right solution to create this ideal working environment, we at Portable Partitions Australia feel confident that we can fulfill your needs and help you design an attractive, functional, warm and flexible workspace. When you begin to browse through our collection of products, you will find full sub-categories of items to satisfy your staff’s workspace needs, including:
- Acoustic room dividers
- Acoustic privacy screens
- Economy room dividers
- Barricades and fencing
No matter what your industry, we offer products that align with your specific needs. Applications for our workplace privacy products and space creation items include office partitions and dividers for school administration, church functions, pharmacies and anywhere else management teams need to create warm and private spaces for valued staff.
Contact us to learn more about the value that we offer you and your employees.