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Businesses are continually evolving, and the successful ones are dynamic and forward-thinking in their approach to a corporate workplace environment. After all, who can forget the awed shock everyone felt when Google announced it would tear down the walls and build an open work space that encouraged employee creativity and camaraderie?
Other corporations quickly followed suit. For instance, The Office may be one of the most watched shows on Netflix, but it doesn’t even remotely reflect Netflix’s real-world corporate workplace.
If you think corporate worlds still revolve around stuffed suits, two-hour commutes, and one-hour lunches, you’re in for a big surprise.
Unhappy workers cost businesses revenue and tank retention rates, and if they want to retain the top talent in their industries, companies have to realize that a lot of employees simply aren’t happy with their current job or workplace.
Check out these three stats:
Current State of Worker Contentment
Ever wonder how some corporate leaders are attracting and retaining the best employees?
Here’s their secret:
They’re doing it by cultivating an engaging workplace environment and elevating expected—and some not so expected—benefits and perks.
Companies Leading the Charge
Just 30 years ago, employees worked in cubicles and were encouraged to work independently. They arrived at 8 a.m. sharp and left at 5 p.m. to sit in rush-hour traffic. Both men and women wore suits, and everyone tried to fit in.
While they were at the office, they adhered to a pecking order that left many people with no voice and no options.
But then everything changed.
It all started with Google
Every transformation starts with one person (or corporation), and the most recent workplace trends began with Google. Yes, they tore down the walls to create a more open workplace environment. But, then they went further than that to build a workplace environment that the new generation of workers can relate to and thrive in.
Google decided that it wanted its employees to have fun at work, and they believed that this would cause them to be more creative and productive as a result. So, they turned the corporate environment on its head.
Here are a few things Google offers its employees:
- Nap pods for when an employee needs to take a short nap to rejuvenate
- Play areas to inspire creativity
- Coffee bars
- Free meals, so employees don’t have to leave the office to get lunch
- Dog-friendly environments
- Break out spaces where employees can sit and grab a quick bite
Netflix trust = happy employees
Another corporation that is upping the workplace environment ante is Netflix. Its company culture revolves around trust, and its goal is to treat their employees like adults instead of children requiring a nanny. The company also seeks to give its employees a work-life balance.
One of the ways it does that is with its vacation policy. Netflix offers unlimited paid vacation to its employees. As long as an employee gets all of their work done, they can take as many paid vacation days as they need.
Of course, there has to be an upside for the corporation. And that upside is performance. Netflix is a performance-driven workplace (1) environment, and the company freely says that not everyone is a good fit for the company.
For those who thrive on producing top-quality work and want the company to treat them like an adult, it’s a good fit.
Evernote diversifies in more ways than one
Evernote (2) is another business that is challenging the way people work. It uses diversity as a way to bring its employees together and make them more productive.
Best of all?
Evernote also uses the open-concept office design and allows employees to use treadmill desks and surround their space with personal items (including stuffed monkeys hanging from the ceiling).
It also focuses on employee engagement as a way to boost productivity.
Evernote sponsors activities throughout the year, such as pumpkin carving, personal space decorating contests, cocktail creation sessions, and gingerbread house building events.
The corporation also created a program called Evernote Thanks, where employees can acknowledge other employees with a shout out. Employees no longer need to wait for acknowledgment from bosses—they can get it from their peers.
And Evernote followed Netflix’s vacation policy but stepped it up a notch. They not only offer unlimited vacation time, but the company also offers its employees $1,000 in spending money to take with them when they take at least a week’s worth of vacation.
Full Contact won’t be outdone
Are you a fan of unlimited paid vacations or a bonus of $1,000 spending money are great?
Full Contact makes sure its employees take some much-needed time away from the office by offering a Paid, Paid Vacation (3). As long as employees follow three simple rules, they get $7,500 for their vacation, which is what the average family of four spends on vacation.
Here’s is what they must do to get the money:
- Go on vacation—for real
- They are not allowed to work while on vacation
Mandatory paid-time off is something more than a few companies are adopting to ensure employees get the rest and respite they need, without them worrying about losing their job for taking the time off.
In 2017 alone, employees forfeited almost 50% of their paid vacation time
- 10% of those who gave up their PTO did so because they were worried about falling behind at work
Aside from all the Nuvo employee perks, some companies are thinking out of the box in the way they approach their workplace spaces and how they onboard employees.
For instance, Apple’s new headquarters, which is aptly called Apple Park (4), might be one of the world’s greenest buildings.
It came with a $5 billion price tag and is said to be Steve Job’s dream building.
The space has 7,000 trees surrounding it, doesn’t need air conditioning or heating for nine months out of the year, uses 100% renewable energy and recycled water, and has 1,000 bikes on the campus so employees can easily get around. It also features a 100,000 sq. ft. fitness center so employees can stay in as good of shape as the building.
And here’s the deal: You won’t need a college degree to work in the lavish building.
Some companies are removing the requirement (5) that employees have a college degree to work with them. Apple is one of those companies, as are Google, IBM, and Bank of America.
Talk about inclusion.
Productivity from afar
The new generation of corporate employees doesn’t like to be tied down. So, it’s a good thing that so many companies now allow their employees to work remotely (6).
The 2018 Global Talent Trends study (7) shows that 51 percent of employees wish their employers offered more flexibility in the workplace. And a Flex Job survey (8) shows that working parents rated flexibility number one—even over salary.
The Case for Flexible Work and Virtual Offices
No wonder so many companies are offering employees the chance to work remotely. For example, some of the places you can work remotely are Amazon, American Express, Apple, Dell, and Humana.
Qualities That Make Companies Stand Out
If you want to attract and retain the most qualified employees, you have to offer a corporate environment that makes them feel welcome and encourages creativity, trust, and productivity. Employees want to feel as if they’re making a difference to the company and its customers.
And they want to have fun while they’re doing it.
Perhaps the best way to determine how to create an environment like this is to look to the originator of today’s modern workplace: Google.
Here is its four-phase approach (9) for determining whether an organizational change is necessary or right.
The first question you should ask yourself when considering a workplace change is why. It isn’t enough to know the general answer; dig deep to find out why you think the change is needed. When Google is considering a change to its organization, it considers these questions before making a decision:
- What problem am I trying to solve?
- Will the change line up with the companies aspirations and vision?
- What are the threats and opportunities?
- Who should I speak to before making a decision?
Next, you should ask yourself some questions that will help clarify the reason for the workplace structure change. Google suggests these questions:
- Do you plan to change your strategy, and if so, what is the new priority or direction?
- What future state are you trying to achieve?
- Do you want to risk or trade-off something to achieve the future state?
- How will you know if it’s successful? A failure?
- Do others have a contrary opinion or alternative?
- Who will own the outcome?
Next, you need to think about who will be affected by workplace changes. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are:
- Who will be impacted by the workplace change?
- Which employees need to buy into the change?
- Who should lead the change?
- Will anyone resist it? How can you help them accept it?
- Do others have a contrary opinion or alternative?
- Who will own the outcome?
Finally, you need to understand how you will affect the change for the best possible outcome. Here are some questions to help you stay on track:
- How will the change be implemented?
- What method will you use to communicate it?
- Who will lead employees through the change?
The Numbers Don’t Lie
When thinking about transforming your company’s work space, you likely want some facts and figures to back up your decision. After all, Apple and Google are mega-corporations with money to spend on coffee bars, mini kitchens, and fitness centers.
But here’s the truth:
The numbers are in favor of a change.
For instance, sometimes the size of a paycheck determines the level of one’s happiness with their job. Not necessarily because more money means more happiness, either. Those who feel underpaid are likelier to feel underappreciated.
Remember that 79% of unhappy workers who quit because they didn’t feel valued?
Don’t believe it?
Look at the numbers:
Sometimes Money IS Everything
Employees who would leave for a bigger paycheck (but aren’t actively seeking it): 59%
Money might not solve all an employee’s problems; however, it can make them feel more appreciated and give them the opportunity to live comfortably, which can reduce their overall stress levels.
The flip-side may also be true.
37% of job candidates said they would accept a new job with a lower salary if that company had a better culture, workplace facility, and on-hand technology
Speaking of a more appealing workplace culture…
Here’s a study (10) that should make you consider changing your vacation policy.
Glassdoor surveyed over 2,000 adult employees and found that the average U.S. employee only uses about half of their vacation time for fear of falling behind. This attitude is either self-imposed or an unwritten rule of their workplace.
Both are sad realities, because when employees take time off to recharge, they come back refreshed and more productive.
Just ask Netflix, Evernote, and Full Contact why they put their generous vacation policies into place.
Creating an Employee-Friendly Workplace Environment Has Benefits Too Good to Ignore
Gone are the days of the traditional workplace environment. These days, employees want to feel at ease in their workplace and have access to things like comfortable chairs, standing desks, remote days at the office, and peer collaboration.
Is it time to change your company’s workplace environment?
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