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Four New Employee Workplace Priorities

Many companies are rejigging their workplaces to reflect a rapidly changing work environment, but employees also have more fundamental priorities for how they want to conduct their working day

Like numerous other parts of modern global business, tech firms seem to be leading the charge in rethinking the way they design their offices, and so the way employees work in them. Companies increasingly see the need to let employees decide what precisely to use a particular space for – short meeting, videoconference, client call, lunch break, or quiet blitz to finish off a presentation, spreadsheet, piece of coding, etc.

As CEB analysis shows, however, this doesn’t require expensive redesigns or – as The Economist describes – new buildings with light shows visible from 30 miles away, or a 30-page design brief explaining the type of wood offices should use. Simply helping employees to use existing space in multiple ways tends to make them more productive, and can save the average large company $31 million a year.

But as well as helping employees use space in new ways, managers are beginning to realize that employees’ priorities and the expectations they have of their workplace have a significant impact on performance. As heads real estate think about their own function and how best to engage their teams, they should consider four employee priorities in particular.

  1. Employees value flexibility in where and how they work: Employees show 15% higher intent to stay at companies where employee rewards include their personal needs, such as options to work remotely.

    Implications for real estate leaders: Identify opportunities to provide flexible working arrangements to project management staff, especially as project staff have to work with globally-dispersed team members and business stakeholders.

  2. Employees value being able to choose their own development opportunities: An employee’s probability of departure reduces by 31% if development opportunities map to his or her personal career goals.

    Implications for the real estate leaders: Improve project management staff’s understanding of functions where new initiatives – especially digitization – present the greatest career opportunities, and provide options such as job rotations to support their interests.

  3. Employees aren’t defined by their job descriptions: 76% of business leaders believe their teams in 2020 will consist of people with broad skills who can work in multiple functions. These blurring boundaries will mean successful employees will have to manage a broader range of activities, and collaborate with an even more diverse range of stakeholders.

    Implications for the real estate leaders: Move away from overly restrictive project management job descriptions and role definitions. Instead, enable project management staff to develop entrepreneurial skills to help them adapt quickly to new-in-kind responsibilities as business priorities shift.

  4. Employees want an effortless experience with workplace technology: Employees expect to have the same experience with technology in the workplace that they do with the consumer technologies they use at home. But 50% of employees struggle to use new technologies available to help them do their work.

    Implications for the real estate leaders: Enable project staff to reduce the time and effort spent on using PPM tools through better selection of easy-to-use tools and sensibly managing data collection efforts.


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