A job is no longer just a job; for our best work, it has to be more. A job has to give us meaning and be carried out in a place that empowers our every step—that propels us to achieve. But workplace culture wasn’t always as it is today. The 90s movie Office Space helps us understand something of times gone by: bloated computer screens in cubicles attended by gray-eyed workers, aesthetically strict furniture, and stark-white walls and lighting. Thankfully, the workplace has come a long way: from a place of drabness and rehearsed conformity to one of color and creativity. Modern workplaces are designed to support your best work—to inspire, not inhibit, imagination—rather than to guarantee Orwellian obedience.
Modern workplaces are multi-generational, multi-functional, and dynamic: it is a living, breathing space of freely exchanged information and ideas. But creating the perfect modern workplace is not only a lofty, idealist’s goal. Modern, open workspaces bring tangible benefits to those that see their value; such as attracting better talent and facilitating maximal productivity.
Why the workplace changed
The workplace has changed because the nature of work has changed, from skills-based to knowledge-based. Most employees have more choices than they ever did. Employees are measured for their potential, which successful organizations recognize as something they can—and should—unlock. The promise of a salary does not assure an employee’s optimal performance; it must be nurtured and provided for through the workplace itself, the organizational structure, and the culture created between employees and management.
Culture is significant. It is this that helps to break down silos. As we’ve already mentioned, the modern workplace is more multi-generational than it has ever been. People are working older and starting earlier. Different talents, skills, experience, and energies can be leveraged from across this age spectrum. Millennials have job expectations that are very different to those born 20 years before—and, likewise, are open to investing in their work as more than just a job. For the modern workplace, a job must also provide meaning. It is no longer only a means to an end, but a part of the end.
Weave a unifying narrative
In a world of fluidic definitions and fading institutions, creating a new sense of identity is the greatest thing an organization can do for its employees. Identity is necessary to help us work well together and feel that we’re part of something greater than ourselves. Presenting and reinforcing a unified vision is a key part of modern workplaces. It helps large, even distributed workforces strive towards common goals, and motivates and incentivizes each employee and team to do their best work. Individual successes become collective successes, and vice versa. We come from tribes and rely on community. For many, organizations and corporate brands are their new tribes.
Benefits of a modern workplace
The benefits of creating a modern workplace are compounding; the greater the feeling of comfort and belonging an employee has, the better they work—both as an individual and as part of a team. In purpose driven companies sometimes, meaning matters more than money. Offer them meaning—and a workplace to nurture their best work—and the money becomes a secondary (though evidently important) attraction. That being said, the benefits of having a truly modern workplace are also financial. More talented candidates can be attracted and at lower cost as organizations can compete on their employer brand and work environment. Conversely, valuable employees can be retained and made more productive.
Using your internal community strategy to build a modern workplace
Much of a modern workplace is about communication and, by extension, community. Effective communication strategies help to remove siloing between teams and the walls that we, as individuals, often create. Openness has to be reciprocated for it to endure. This is facilitated through direct communication and interaction, publicizing of individual and team achievements, and a place to showcase both the personal and professional.
Many communication mediums will help you achieve this, but none more than digital signage. Uses your offices’ screens as conduits of company culture and always-on community channels. Seenspire is a subscription content application that fuels your signage network with feeds of brand-owned and third-party content, allowing you to create a diverse and attractive content playlist. The key to communicating in a modern workplace sits with the screens around your workspaces, and the key to effectiveness for those screens is Seenspire.