Work smarter not harder

Smarter solutions

You’ve found the office workspace that best fits your operation based on location, cost and terms, you’ve signed the lease and now it is business as usual – or is it?

The physical workspace and workplace is just part of the office business equation. But four walls and work stations do not alone make for a happy and productive work force.

A book called The Employee Experience Advantage by Jacob Morgan who is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist, says those businesses that focus on employee experiences as a way to drive innovation in turn increase customer satisfaction, attract the best people, make work more engaging, and improve overall performance.

Return on investment in a staffing sense needs to take a long-term view and not a quick fix mindset.

In a recent interview with International Service System (ISS) Group, Morgan said many companies view employee experiences simply as perks and benefits (e.g. free food, gym memberships), rather than looking at necessary changes to workplace practice and company culture.

Creating a productive, stable and profitable company means that the job itself and the organisation as a whole should meet employee expectations, needs, and desires.

“Building a human-centric environment, where employees feel like coming to work is becoming an important competitive advantage for companies of any kind,” Morgan said.

A successful company will design, shape and control culture, technology and physical space.

Starting the conversations around what could be changed in an office scenario could lead to better productivity.

The number of work hours is one variable that could be changed up in an office environment to potentially better-engage staff and make them feel more valued.

Here in New Zealand, there are several companies currently trialling a 4-day work week. Trust company Perpetual Guardian is testing the viability of its full time staff working for four days a week but being paid for five days. The aim is to increase productivity and to challenge the concept of the more traditional working week.

Other companies could opt for a compressed 40-hour week meaning the same number of total work hours are condensed into a 4-day window.

Working smarter not harder has long been held up as a business goal. Whether productivity lifts with a shortened timeframe will depend both on the actual job being done and the individual carrying out the role.

Then there are the peripheral things that could make for a more harmonious workplace such as:

• Offering different work options that acknowledge different work styles, attitudes and behaviours

• Making sure that the technology in your office allows for effective work processes and gives staff the right tools and resources to fulfil their jobs efficiently, and reliably. Emphasis on “reliably” – having well-supported IT structures is crucial

• Bring-your-pet-to-work days. A recent study from the Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who brought their dogs to work experienced lower stress levels throughout the work day, reported higher levels of job satisfaction, and had a more positive perception of their employer


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