Unlock the power of presence

3 keys to help your workplace deliver value for your people and your business

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes

Oct 03, 2023

A collage of images showing a variety of workplaces.

Some quick context

During the disruptions of the past few years, employees stopped thinking about flexibility as a perk. It became an expectation.

Today, people seek flexibility in both where and when they work. Meeting these expectations is complicated. Especially considering that 85% of employees surveyed still want to spend time in a physical workplace.*

Everyone realises the toll that not enough time being present together has taken on organisations.
- Limiting peer collaboration
- Complicating mentorship and feedback

- Eroding culture

With new expectations placed on time spent together, workplaces need to help people make the most of that time. The answer is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It's time for a new way forwards. 

Employees work and talk amidst an open office design.

A new way forwards

What if we refocused the workplace on what people need for the ways we work today?
- What if it didn't just bring people together, but it also helped them feel the value of their presence? 
- What if its design did more to support employee wellbeing, which has been declining for years?
- What if it made it easy for employees to feel connected again?
- And when needs change—which we know they will—what if it enabled us to plan for and adapt to those changes?

These questions arose from our own research and countless conversations with clients.

As we sought answers, we organised our thinking into a new framework to help organisations uncover the purpose of their place. We call it Design with Impact.

It focuses on three specific ways to make an impact in your organisation: wellbeing, connection and change.

A business can only thrive when its employees are thriving. 

Why wellbeing is important

The well-documented drop in employee wellbeing in recent years sparked some important conversations. As a result, more employers today recognise their role in supporting their people's physical and mental health.

That is a good thing. But acknowledging the need for action is just the first step.

The physical workplace can do more to enhance wellbeing in all its facets. This starts with providing:
- Proper ergonomic furnishings and tools that provide physical support and comfort
- A variety of spaces that provide individuals with choice in how and where their work gets done 
- Spaces for rejuvenation and respite

Supporting wellbeing is the right thing to do. It's also intertwined with business success. A business can only thrive when its employees are thriving. 

An overhead view of an office lounge area situated near windows.

Today's workplace needs to be ready to host rich, interpersonal connections between colleagues—both in-person and remote. 

Why connection is important

In the past, organisations viewed the workplace as a place of production. It was where people went to get work done.

But the last few years proved that employees could stay productive while working from home. As a result, workplaces faced an identity crisis.

Now a clear, new role is emerging.

When asked why they might come to the office, 74% of people surveyed cited camaraderie, community, or connection as their top reason.*

Today's workplace needs to be ready to host rich, interpersonal connections between colleagues—both in-person and remote.

These include:
- Strong ties: Those immediate team members we know well and interact with frequently. Strong ties facilitate sharing knowledge and solving problems. 
- Weak ties: Those extended relationships with people from different teams or departments with whom we interact less often. Weak ties provide access to new ideas or opportunities, often fuelling innovation.

Both sets of ties need strengthening today.

You can't resist change, but you can learn to navigate it. Better yet, you can empower your people to embrace it. 

Why change is important

Despite being a natural and necessary part of life, change can feel uncomfortable.

You can't resist change, but you can learn to navigate it. Better yet, you can empower your people to embrace it.

We help organisations embrace change by giving people control over their environment, allowing them to tweak it to meet their needs by the minute, the hour or the day.
- Change by the minute: Individuals or teams can adapt personal workpoints or team spaces in the moment.
- Change by the hour: Spaces can be rearranged for specific needs within a few hours.
- Change by the day: Organisations can plan and execute larger-scale reconfigurations with minimal disruptions.

Planning for change at all three levels helps build resiliency and optimise your workplace investment. This quells concerns and, more importantly, communicates to employees that their organisation is ready to support their ever-changing work.

* Source: February 2023 Future Forum Pulse 

3-point recap

  • Meeting employee expectations for flexibility can complicate efforts to nurture their ties to one another and their organisation.

  • Wellbeing, connection, and change are the three ways the workplace can address the most pressing needs of today's organisations.

  • Design with Impact is our framework to help you focus on these needs, with strategies and tools to uncover the purpose of your place.

An illustration representing wellbeing on a yellow gradient background.

Why wellbeing matters

Explore how employee wellbeing ties to business outcomes and how the workplace can help people improve it

Read on

An illustration representing connection on a blue gradient background.

Seeking connection in a distributed world

Learn how your organisation can benefit by doing more to bring people together and strengthen relationships

Read on

An illustration representing change on a green gradient background.

The space to harness change

Find out how the work environment can help organisations embrace change for a competitive advantage

Read on

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