The Top Workplace Trends

As the country recovers from a recession, workplaces are moving forward in new ways with new rules. Changes are afoot from how our offices look to who runs them and what equipment will be used. BalanceGal LLC looks at the trends seen in 2012 and what to expect in 2013:

• Employee engagement. There’s no polite way to say it — workers have had it. In 2012 we lost our happy-to-have a job mindset and now we want appreciation. For some of us it’s been a few years since we’ve had a raise or bonus. An October survey by by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training found only a mere 29 percent of employees are fully engaged. Experts say if our employers want us more engaged, they need to boost our confidence in senior management and look for ways to reward us. “Companies are going to have to decide, do we want to invest in our people again?” says John Hollon, vice president for editorial at TLNT.com, which follows workplace trends. “They will need to reconnect with workers in ways haven’t had to worry about for about 5 years now.”

• Top performers are lifelong learners. It hasn’t been easy, but American workers finally realize we need to take control of our careers. Most companies cut way back on training and on education reimbursement at the same time we discovered a need to add to our skills toolbox. Being the top sales person, or even the best doctor now means we have to keep up with new technology, trends and approaches and we have to do it on our own time and our own dime.

• Social media at work is a complicated mix. Through social media, companies now have an amazing way to market their handbags or food delivery services. But this new outlet for driving sales is also driving management crazy. As American workers turned to Facebook and Twitter to rant about cheap bosses or snotty customers, we saw employees getting fired and employers getting sued. Meanwhile labor lawyers are busy drafting social media policies for companies trying to protect themselves by letting workers know what’s acceptable. The rise of social media in the workplace isn’t likely to slow and employers will have to prepare themselves for the benefits — and the hazards.

• Flexibility is king. Sure we want to be paid well. But more importantly, we want to know that our employers “get it.” We want the day-to-day flexibility in how, when and where we work to better manage our lives. This year, we even saw reports that claim almost half of all workers would give up some of their salary to get more flexibility. We also saw smart employers of all sizes begin to position flexible work as part of their culture. Guillermo Rotman, president of Regus Americas, predicts more businesses will offer their employees flexible work options going forward, particularly as technology untethers us from our desks.

• We’ve got to get up. This was a breakthrough year in understanding how we work affects our health. Sitting at our desks, staring at a screen all day is making us fat and unhealthy. We saw a new pressure on employers to encourage workplace heath initiatives and pay more attention to physical activity at work. And we’ve realized we need to work differently, to get up and move around because mini-breaks, just one minute long throughout the day, can actually make a difference.

• Wellness programs are on the rise. Our employer really does care if we eat that doughnut or go for the apple. In fact, he cares so much, in many instances, he’s going to pay us to lose weight or participate in a wellness program. By now, employers realize that if we engage in healthy behavior, they benefit from lower healthcare costs. Expect this trend to get even more attention because The Affordable Care Act will expand the ability of employers to reward workers who achieve health improvement goals.

• Overtime. Is stopping on the way in for doughnuts for coworkers considered on the clock time? It could be. Companies are running into trouble with workers who claim there’s a rampant disregard for overtime pay provisions. In 2012, employees filed more than 7,000 federal lawsuits commonly known as wage-and-hour cases against their employers or former employers, records show. Losing these cases proved costly for some employers, and lawyers say they see these types of lawsuits continuing in 2013 along with a new interest in management training on what counts as a violation.

• Boomers retiring. We’ve been told it is coming, now it is happening. Experts say 2013 is the year that kicks off a wave of boomers retiring from careers they held for decades. “Some industries already are very focused on how to replace those exiting employees,” says Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting for the Society of Human Resource Management. Others will have to work hard and fast to develop the next generation of corporate leaders. At the same time, retirement creates a need for older workers to find ways to stay productive. Look for retirees to seek out opportunities to find work that helps them contribute to the greater good or causes they care about, says Marci Alboher, VP of Encore.org and author of The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life. “They will be looking for opportunities to do something impactful.”

• Newly designed workplaces. Our workspaces are changing along with our work habits. As collaboration becomes more important, we are finding that workplaces that allow for sharing ideas are the new norm — open floor plans and collaborative work environments, standing work stations and dual monitors. We also see an increasing number of co-working or shared office space and virtual offices, preparing us to say goodbye to office cubicles of the past and look forward to opportunities for better networking. And while we’re at it, we will likely be bringing our own device with us to the office of the future. A Cisco study showed a staggering 95 percent of organizations permit employee-owned devices in the workplace. This includes laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Leading organizations recognize the challenges and opportunities that these trends bring. For most, the belt tightening is over and 2013 will be the year to refocus on top talent and move forward together.

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

25 Amazing Offices

Office Snapshots ran a recent update on their website showcasing some of the most amazing offices out there. Check out the link here to see and read all about these great places to work. The picture below is from the offices of Mojang, the creators of Minecraft.

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About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Office Space Tips and Productivity Ideas

A recent article from Gensler On Work, You Are My Density: Snow White and the Open Plan Office.

The contemporary workplace is apparently on a diet. Much lauded in the national press as well as industry publications, you’d be challenged to find any article about office design that doesn’t mention increased density. Eradicating private offices, tearing down cubicle walls and drastically decreasing square footage/person allotments—how low can you go seems to be the newest measure of workplace design success.

But does real estate efficiency equal workplace effectiveness? Do people really work better when they’re put closer and closer together?

I’ve long suspected that Snow White is the intended occupant for a densely populated open office space. She’s neat and clean and pretty and polite; she’s kind and has no bad habits. No one would mind sitting next to Snow White. She’d probably even tidy up your workstation when you weren’t around.

But the truth is, our office mates tend to be more like the Seven Dwarfs. Along with Grumpy and Sneezy, there’s Nosy and Noisy and Loud Talker, Nail Clipper, Smelly Sandwich Eater, Keyboard Banger, and Volume Too High iPod Listener. You get the picture. People are naturally imperfect and those imperfections are amplified when we’re boxed into too close a quarters.

There is certainly unused and unnecessary space in many offices and getting rid of it is good for a healthy bottom line. But workplace efficiency and workplace effectiveness, while not necessarily polar opposites, are also not the same thing; gains in one often come at the expense of the other.

At the heart of the issue is the fact that space needs are not just functional; just because your computer has shrunk, your monitor is thin, and your paper files have gone digital doesn’t mean you have no need for a buffer zone. Proxemics, the study of the cultural, behavioral and sociological aspects of spatial distances between individuals, has shown repeatedly that comfort zones do exist and being respectful of them is crucial for a person’s own productivity, as well as healthy relations with those around them.

The human need for space tends to be well understood in other areas of life. Cars are marketed as roomy and comfortable, homes as spacious and airy, high end grocery stores as having wider aisles, first class airline seats as having much more space per person. When was the last time a hotel ad bragged that they had smaller rooms? In most spaces, a lot of people in a small area is called congestion; in workplace design it’s called efficiency. It’s time we question that.

A lean office is desirable, but an anorexic one can be devastating. Finding the tipping point when the dense workplace becomes a hindrance to people getting their work done is the art and science of workplace design. Without great care, densely populated, open office workplaces may fall squarely under the old warning, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime Boise and Meridian locations. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

How iPads and Tablet Devices are Changing Businesses

Do you BYOD? That’s Bring Your Own Device, which refers to the workforce using their own mobile devices to perform work functions at the office.  As the mobile workplace continues to evolve and technology innovation continues to accommodate mobile work preferences, BYOD is an increasing trend that is having an effect on business.

A lot of employees have been reading and sending work e-mails on their mobile device for a few years now.  They probably started doing it a few years ago when the Palm devices and their stylus were popular, then their mobile email use probably increased when their company adopted the BlackBerry devices with their click wheel on the side.  Then Apple revolutionized the way we use phones when it released the iPhone, which introduced apps for just about anything and eased the way people use the web – and not just email – with the smart phones.  After changing mobile phone habits, Apple then turned its attention to revolutionizing the way we perform our mobile computing.  Apple released the iPad using the same revolutionary interface from the iPhone, and for the past couple years, the iPad has grown from the latest cool device to a viable laptop-killer.

Mobile work is not just on the rise; it’s exploding in popularity with the latest mobile devices and is affecting how organizations manage their workforce and how network connectivity is delivered to their mobile devices. An astounding 42.5% of workers polled are using the iPad with another 27.7% planning to get the iPad in the next 6 months.

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime Boise and Meridian locations. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Year 2020: Corporate Workplaces, Property Portfolios Undergoing Radical Shifts

An article from The CoStar Group discusses that within the next eight years, companies expect to deploy sophisticated data platforms and revamp facilities to support a new generation of tech-savvy employees who will make full use of the virtual office and other alternative workplace strategies. These and other business imperatives are already beginning to reshape how companies and their service providers think about their real estate footprints and strategies.

Read the rest of the article here

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime Boise and Meridian locations. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Design Ideas to Improve The Workplace

There are lots of ways to use design to increase focus and productivity in the workplace, and here are a few good ones:

Lights: Study after study shows that humans are meant to be exposed to natural sunlight during the day. Exposure to bright lights in general — but particularly to natural sunlight — keeps our minds and bodies more alert and active, which can increase productivity and focus in the workplace. Consider adding skylights, and even adding in natural lights rather than florescent lights can make a big difference in workplace focus and productivity.

Walls: Traditional office spaces use cubicles with high walls, and it can be a problem. Workers feel isolated; they’ll be more productive if they feel they’re part of a community. Conversations are louder; workers have to raise their voices to talk between cubicles. Installing clear glass walls between cubicles is one excellent solution for this, but many offices are also starting to lower cubicle walls to create more of an open, community feel.

Meetings: One design idea to fix both of these problems is to build in several small meeting spaces along the edges of the office. Stick with the open feel by giving them soundproof glass walls. The rooms don’t need to be very large – just enough to hold five or six people comfortably for an impromptu meeting. Soundproof walls keep the other workers from getting distracted, and several small rooms allow for groups to meet whenever they need to.

Breaks: When your workers go to the break room, they should be able to actually take a break and unwind. Give your break room all the essentials – such as a fridge and microwave – but also add in some homey extras, like a couple of comfortable couches, bar-height tables for small lunch groups, and relaxing décor.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime Boise and Meridian locations. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.