Loadshedding has had a significant impact on workers returning to the office full-time. It has resulted in disruptions and delays in work, leading to decreased productivity and a negative impact on employee morale. “The implications for the work at home model are that it may become more attractive to employees who wish to avoid the disruptions caused by loadshedding to return to the office,” says Conrad Burger, MD of X-Furniture.
Here the high-performance work environment provides employees with the necessary tools and resources to work effectively, including access to reliable internet and software tools, as well as clear communication channels and expectations for deadlines.
Employers can offer training and support to help employees adjust to the return to the office, as well as flexible schedules and work arrangements to accommodate the challenges of loadshedding and other disruptions. “By fostering a high-performance culture that values flexibility and adaptability, companies can assist their employees to succeed in the face of challenges like loadshedding and build a sustainable high-performance work model,” says Burger.
Today’s workers expect more from their workplaces, and understanding these aspects may assist to develop environments that are better for employees and create better outcomes for companies. While the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the trend of remote work, many companies have subsequently adapted, and employees are now looking for more flexibility in their work arrangements. This has placed a greater emphasis on employee well-being, including physical and mental health. The adoption of agile work processes has also resulted in the high-performance work environment, characterised by collaboration, flexibility and adaptability.
Some of the trends here are data-driven decision-making, with companies increasingly using data to make decisions about their operations, products and services. Data is also being used to measure employee performance and areas for improvement. Technology plays a critical role in the high-performance work environment, with companies now adopting new technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation and cloud computing to improve efficiency and productivity.
Corporate Real Estate (CRE) strategies have expanded beyond space and cost reductions to include initiatives to transform the office environment. High-performance workspaces are a physical reflection of a strong understanding of organisational goals. All-important high-performance features are aesthetics, energy efficiency, sustainability, safety, engagement, experience and occupant productivity.
While there is no simple ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy, facility managers can drive innovation and positive change in the workplace by understanding the trends in the ongoing evolution of the workplace environment. How can employers design their workplaces to ensure high performance, while also keeping employees engaged and committed to the company?
The physical workspace
This refers to the physical setting where people carry out their job, encompassing both traditional office and factory floor settings. To create high-performance workplaces, we need to be aware of how physical design decisions impact our psychological well-being in addition to providing workers with the tools they need to carry out their jobs.
Responsibility towards employees and the environment
Today’s workplaces must account for the health and wellbeing of employees by paying attention to factors like air quality and lighting.
The activity mix
It is crucial to understand the tasks or actions that team members carry out in a certain space. Only if the combination of spaces fits the demands of the workforce will the new environment pay off with a high-performing workplace. The greater the variety of activities carried out in a specific space, the greater the benefit workers derive from having areas especially created for the tasks they must complete.
Diverse work settings
A high-performance workplace can include open plan seating for teamwork, comfy lounges for brainstorming, a café to promote unplanned cooperation, and more private and quiet locations to concentrate, depending on the demands of the teams. You can design a high-performance workplace where each team can do their best work if you have a clear knowledge of how each team uses the spaces, with technologies like heat maps allowing you to visualise the data.
You cannot expect a new workplace design alone to influence the culture of a company or change working habits to impact employee performance. To alter worker attitudes and behaviour, the employer must provide change management before, during and after the adoption of the new work environment. The new environment will not be utilised as planned and will not transform into the high-performance workplace you had in mind until the company policies support such change.
All these factors relate to our behaviour, ingrained routines and attitudes about our workplace. It is obvious that the working environment impacts employee attitudes and workplace performance. Companies should view offices as a strategic instrument to engage, motivate, retain and hire workers rather than as a real estate cost centre.
In turn, employers must learn the value of formulating workplace strategies and how best to integrate these to ensure that employees perform at their best and enjoy their jobs. This not only future-proofs the business, but also builds a sustainable competitive advantage.
‘5 Elements of High Performance Work Environments’