Workplaces cannot remain in limbo. They are a reflection of the spirit of the times – the culture, trends, values, ideas, technology and expectations of the era they are operating in. With changes in lifestyle, the workplace too evolves. This is an organic procedure. If organizations stay in a rut, then they will not attract new talents or retain employees. They will be edged out of the competition by more adaptive organizations.
That is why every workplace has to make way for changes and new requirements to forge ahead as the old guard is replaced by the new. To stay on top of the game, it is important to understand what these new requirements are that are driving change and innovation.
What are the changes that have given rise to the need for new arrangements in the workplace?
Technology, access to information, the stress on human right and equality for all are some of the 21st-century hot button changes that have shaken up the old workplace set up. The entire employers and employee dynamics too have undergone a sea change. No longer are employees treated with disdain or made to work in inhuman conditions. With Employment and Labour Laws staunchly propping them up, employees will simply not put up with any violation of their rights.
Moreover, since technology is the by-word for advancement and profits, it is in both the employers’ and employees’interests to incorporate it in every walk of the workplace arrangement.
So, now that we have a clearer idea on how lifestyle and expectations have changed over the years, let us expound on how workplaces can ride this wave of change and form a peaceful status quo that keeps both sides happy and content.
Workplace requirements that are in tandem with changing lifestyle
To avoid becoming redundant, defunct and mired in innumerable lawsuits, here are a few urgent requirements that companies should ponder over:
1. Flexible office schedules
This is a win-win scenario for both employers and employees. Surveys have found that flexible hours at the workplace boost productivity. It is a given that employees if they do not want to be laid off, will work the stipulated hours. But if they have a degree of choice over their work-timing, they are more willing to be more innovative and productive. Flexible schedules help strike the perfect work-life balance.
2. More expansive gender diversity
The days of scorning at hiring female candidates are passé. Any workplace that aspires to make a difference will have to take a good long look at its current employee diversity. This is one of the things that prospective employees look into before they join.
In fact, truly progressive workplaces are going beyond the stereotypical gender binary to hire people of all gender and sexual identities.
3. Reduction of carbon footprint
The workplace too should make a stand against global warming. The workplace can switch to cleaner energy and invest in better waste disposal facilities. Use as little paper, ink as possible and try to cut down on business travel by promoting technology.
4. Avoiding burnout
Burnout is dangerous for an employee’s health as well as the reputation of the workplace. To retain employees and attract bright new minds, companies can offer more paid leaves and vacations. Some workplaces are even offering paid vacations.
Workplaces should also invest in employee health. Group insurances are imperative. A workplace gym or a yoga corner may also be a good idea.
5. Workplace designs
The workplace should be fun and not drab to keep the ideas flowing. Lots of plants, bright happy colours, sufficient LED lighting, workstation personalization, even couches, cushions and bean bags will make the workplace less stuffy and more in line with the lifestyle of the new generation.
6. Child care
New mothers do not have to miss important deadlines and assignments if workplaces come with childcare centres where they would be able to safely park their children and busy themselves with work. Safety and well-being of the children are of paramount importance.
7. Arrangements for the differently-abled
To make the workplace for the differently-abled, companies can –
- Make use of assistive technology
- Make a few infrastructural changes
- Sensitize the rest of the employees
8. Grievance cell
Every workplace must be a secure place for women. That is why every workplace must have a team that handles all complaints of inappropriate behaviour of male employees. The company must take firm action against all wrongdoers. There should be a no-nonsense, no cover-up policy for harassment and sexual abuse in the workplace.
To boost morale amongst employees and help them get along with each other so that work can proceed without a hitch, the workplace should set aside a day a month for a group outing. It could be going to the movies, a pub or a picnic.
The times are changing, lifestyles are changing and expectations too are ever-increasing. Employees will settle for nothing but the best. And, that is why workplaces need to upgrade to meet the current requirements.