Posted: 28.05.2023
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Office trends shaping the future of the workforce

Office trends shaping the future of the workforce

We all know that post pandemic, the world of work is changing faster than ever before. If digitisation started slowly – it was transformed in 2020, opening up a world of questions, options and opportunities for businesses to shape their working life for the greater wellbeing of their team and their company. Businesses that seek to grow are embracing opportunities by looking at the benefits of hybrid working, but also considering how to leverage the office space to add greater value both to individuals and the business’s bottom line. Here we explore some of the key changing workforce trends shaping the future of the workforce.


Trends in the workplace: flexibility

Even before the pandemic, flexible working was on the rise. In 2019, Forbes reported that 92% of Millennials identify flexibility as a top priority when job hunting, 70% of UK employees felt that flexible working made a job more attractive and 30% said they would prefer flexible working to a pay rise. Post pandemic, that vision has escalated, changing the functionality of the office and providing opportunities for employers to attract top talent by considering their office space more strategically.

The trend for more remote working has not removed the need for office space, it has opened up the possibilities it offers to add greater, more refined benefits for businesses and their teams. Crucially, that means thinking about the office as a destination, somewhere to look forward to going to as a place for collaboration, opportunity and communication, instead of simply having to go. That’s where specialised facilities like the lab space within our life science community at North Quay, or co-working environment within our Level39 tech community are game-changing for business success.

Business benefits of flexible working

  • Greater ability to attract top talent
  • A more purposeful and productive approach to in-office hours 
  • Greater job satisfaction and staff morale 
  • A more diverse and skilled workforce

Trends in the workplace: health and wellbeing

Staff wellbeing is now a much more considered focus in workforce trends, as forward-thinking business owners recognise the ethical need as well as business value of making choices that support the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of their staff. Choosing offices and working environments that boost wellbeing through key design elements, light natural light, good air quality, ergonomic seating, biophilic details and access to wellbeing and leisure facilities all contribute to a happier, more productive workforce.

Supporting staff health and wellbeing with the right working environment makes your business more competitive and attractive to top talent, and will improve productivity and morale amongst team members. At Canary Wharf our office environments proactively support staff wellbeing both internally and externally with light and spacious workspaces. We have more than 20 acres of landscaped parks within the estate, known to lower stress levels, anxiety and cortisol, and a wealth of surrounding facilities from shops and entertainment to open water swimming, a range of sports, and wellness clinics within the estate.

Business benefits of workplace wellbeing

  • Improved staff morale
  • Fewer staff absences from sickness
  • Greater ability to attract and retain top talent
  • Improved staff productivity

Trends in the workplace: employee engagement and experience for making the most of your start-up office space

Much like brands have realised that user experience and customer experience are central to sales and commercial success, so too is employee engagement and experience. With the option to work from home in so many job roles, businesses have to offer an experience that elevates the working environment for employees. The office can be a fantastic way to do that, providing a sense of inclusion, as well as facilities that team members simply can’t get at home.

That inclusion and engagement can range from involving teams in choosing your workspace to providing tools that measure employee satisfaction to ensure they are heard when it comes to decision making. It’s important for businesses to keep employees engaged and nurture a sense of community in the workplace that supports wellbeing as well as job satisfaction both individually and as a team. Businesses can use insights and data to find and implement the tools which are valuable to team members and that support their tasks at work. This helps both businesses and individuals.

Business benefits of engaged employees

  • Aligning skills to tasks
  • Reinforcing company culture across the workforce
  • Creating an inclusive and supporting working environment 
  • Nurturing an attitude of continuous improvement
  • Increasing staff morale
  • Helping to retain top talent

Trends in the workplace: AI, automation and the Metaverse

Technology is a central feature of most peoples’ lives, and businesses have benefited enormously from its rapid progression. Going forward, workforce trends continue to be defined, in part by technology and how it can improve or enhance the working experience for businesses and team members. The key elements are AI, automation, and the Metaverse. Automation and AI open up a space for reducing repetitive tasks, boosting operational efficiency and productivity, and providing opportunities for employees to learn new skills as well as focus more on higher level or more rewarding tasks within their job roles. The Metaverse is also set to transform the way we work, whether it’s revolutionising mentoring and training, or enhancing the way we interact with remote workers. In terms of an office environment, the key for businesses is to work with partners with an eye on the future and a focus on spaces that are adaptive to the rapid development of future technologies.

Business benefits of changing workforce trends in advanced technology

  • Increased productivity
  • Opportunities for teams to learn new skills
  • Opportunities for employees to focus on more engaging tasks 
  • Improved communications with remote team members 
  • Increased efficiency
  • Higher accuracy

Trends in the workplace: sustainability

A company’s social and environmental values are one of the most significant trends in the workplace. Reuters reported that “Almost two-thirds (65%) of [their] survey respondents said that they were more likely to work for a company with strong environmental policies.” 

In line with a growing trend both amongst consumers and employees for transparency when it comes to ethical practices, the more we know about the environment, the more we understand its importance, are aware of our own impact, and also how it affects our own wellbeing. Companies with strong CSR policies have a competitive advantage at both ends of the spectrum – attracting employees and attracting customers. Your choice of office space can have a profound impact on your environmental standards. 

At Canary Wharf, sustainability and community values are built into our DNA, channelling through all aspects of our offices and surrounding environments. For example, we have acres of green spaces and a dedicated Biodiversity Action Plan that’s seen the return of multiple species to blue spaces around our offices. A partnership with The Eden Project seeks to further develop blue and green spaces and we have an actionable strategy for becoming Net Zero by 2030.  In our construction and office fit-outs we use sustainable and reuse materials where possible, including FSC certified timber. We’ve sent zero waste to landfill in managed areas since 2009, and we have purchased all our electricity from renewable sources since 2012.

Business benefits of sustainability in the workplace

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Better bottom-line financials
  • A more authentic company culture 
  • Press opportunities and brand awareness
  • Increased customer retention and loyalty
  • A stronger employer reputation 

The office environment is constantly evolving, and businesses must adapt to stay competitive. Flexibility, health and safety, sustainability and employee engagement are key trends that are already shaping changing workforce trends. Companies that embrace these trends and invest in the tools and technologies necessary to support them will be well-positioned for success in the years to come. Your choice of office space is fundamental to facilitating those workforce trends and also being flexible enough to adapt to additional advancements as they inevitably unfold.

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