Gallup Engagement Survey 2013: Key Workplace Trends

Employee engagement
Employee engagement

The latest ‘State of the American Workplace‘ report from Gallup makes interesting reading. Here, we outline three key trends from the report on how to engage workers – and drive greater productivity – through the workplace.

Why should business centres care about workforce engagement? It’s about creating an environment where people want to work. If business owners and their employees want to work in your business centre, and if it helps business owners to boost company results through team engagement, they’re less likely to leave.

Workplace and workforce – the two largest running costs associated with managing a business – are rarely out of the spotlight. In its latest survey, Gallup focuses on employee engagement as the single most important way to improve company fortunes. Worryingly, Gallup claims that 70% of American workers are “not engaged” or, worse, “actively disengaged”. These workers are “emotionally detached” from the company and are dramatically less productive than their “engaged” counterparts.

On the flip side, it seems there is no limit to the positive outcomes associated with a highly engaged workforce. There is uplift in team spirit, motivation, productivity, quality of work, turnaround times, customer experience, revenue and more. Of course, achieving true engagement is a complex and long-term process. But it’s worth the investment.

Gallup recommends several key factors, among which the workplace plays a key role. Here are some of the key workplace trends emerging from Gallup’s latest report. Your clients could well be seeking to implement some of these trends in order to drive up their workforce engagement.

Flextime
Gallup cites flextime as one of the more effective workplace perks. Flexible working is on the rise, and flextime appears to score highly among employees seeking a more manageable work/life balance. Think parents juggling childcare, the school run, employees with dependents, and anyone who just wants an easier commute.

How can business centres accommodate flextime? These employees aren’t 9-5 workers. They may start early, leave late, work 4-day weeks or even weekends. Offering secure 24-hour access at your centre is the first step. Going one step further, is it fair to charge a client for full-time workstations if only half are used full-time? Can you offer a more flexible arrangement? Perhaps a more intuitive solution would be to offer workspace that is designed around the needs of a flexible organisation – for instance, one that incorporates hot desks or overflow space to accommodate a fluid workforce.

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Remote Working
Remote working has been a hot topic ever since Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer banned virtual office telecommuting. However, various research studies point to remote working as a key driver in employee empowerment, motivation and productivity – and Gallup found that remote workers are more engaged (32%) than employees who work on-site (28%).

However, the greatest engagement (35%) came from employees who spend less than 20% of their time working remotely. These workers enjoyed the best of both worlds – the freedom to work remotely combined with the collaboration and camaraderie of working alongside friends and colleagues.

Isolation is a constant thorn in the side of remote working. Many remote workers look for collaborative spaces as a way of filling the void left by working alone – and such research adds fuel to the fire that coworking will continue to grow. It’s another reason why business centres should seriously consider offering their own coworking or shared workspace element.

Employee Fit
Gallup cites employee diversity as a key challenge and one that can greatly impact engagement. Different types of workers have different engagement triggers. While extroverts may enjoy the appeal of a large open-plan space, introverts may prefer to keep their head down in a quiet corner.

This is a challenge for business centres and again, clever design presents a solution. From partitioning and internal coworking hubs to private meeting rooms and perhaps even quiet zones, how far will your business centre go to meet the needs of today’s diverse workforce? It’s more than design – it’s a culture of wellbeing, and a workspace that promotes a positive environment for employees helps engagement, reduces stress and leads to a happier workforce. This of course promotes higher productivity and improved company output.

As more businesses look to their workforce to improve company fortunes, we will see greater demand for a truly flexible workplace that can offer innovative solutions to accommodate these requirements. The question is, is your workspace flexible enough?

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