You may think that long work hours means you are getting more done. But, in fact, the later it gets in the workday, the more difficult it is to focus, and the easier it is to make mistakes.
Look around your office. Are your employees engaging with each other, working on the next creative project, being productive, and most importantly: do your employees enjoy being there? Or, as a recent LinkedIn article suggests, do your employees wish that they were working somewhere else (anywhere else!)? Would they prefer the freedom to do what they want, schedule their own tasks, and enjoy the casual meets social atmosphere of a coffee shop?
In Chris J. Reed’s article, 5 Reasons Why Starbucks is the Only Office You Need, he makes a clear argument against the office. The CEO of a Multinational Corporation in Singapore, he prefers to work at Starbucks instead of the office because it cuts down the costs of paying for a physical workspace, studies have proven that, in his words, “low level of noise and casual movement” boosts productivity, and the atmosphere at Starbucks encourages collaboration with others and fosters creativity.
So, does that mean you should ditch your office? While it does seem that offices need to create a more flexible, friendly, and open environment for employees to do their work best, Reed’s article inspired us to take a closer look at the office. What are the ways in which the office is still essential and how can we make the office better cater to our employees’ needs?
Not All Employees Are Alike
While today’s knowledge worker positions like copywriting, graphic design, or marketing require a fair amount of independence, and work can be done remotely, many positions at your company are inter-dependent and require collaboration. Take for example the role of an admin: the admin is there to support the leaders and the office in general. Everyday new projects and problems arise that cannot be fixed via Skype or email. When it comes to creative departments, they need to be able to bounce ideas off each other and use their colleagues as a springboard. Furthermore, many employees are task-driven and need direction from their leaders to inform them of their next assignment. Not everyone is great at prioritizing, and many find the structure of the office to be helpful.
Security and Privacy
Ask yourself: when it comes to private company information, conducting interviews, or trying to innovate a new product, do you really want a roomful of other people overhearing your conversation and innovative ideas? Perhaps you need to give your employee critical feedback or you need to have a confidential meeting, either way, privacy is key. The office allows you the flexibility to control what information is public versus private.
Not All Businesses Are Alike
Depending on your business, a coffee shop is the last place where you want to work. If your business is a law firm, tax agency, governmental agency, or you deal with Internet security, how could you possibly work in a public setting on unsecured wi-fi? In many cases, the coffee shop would inhibit you from doing your job well and put the confidentiality of your clients at great risk.
Every business, employee, and business focus are different, as are their needs. Because of this, the collaborative nature, structure, and privacy of the office are indispensible. At the same time, it is important to recognize your employees’ needs for independence, create an environment that they want to work in, and encourage productivity and creativity. How can you do this in your office? Tune in next month to find out how you can make your office better cater to your employees’ needs..
Read Part II: Replace Starbucks with your office