As creatives, we’re always hunting for the next trend (if not starting it). Inspired by the big move, Jason indulged us with a Breakfast Club presentation on ethonomics, the latest trend in office design. It might just be the future of workspaces and, naturally, we want to be at the forefront of this progressive shift.
Ethonomic workspace designs promote physical activity, social interaction and overall employee well-being. Principles of ethonomics dictate that non-toxic building materials and other environmentally sustainable measures are vital for the health of workers and the planet. Elements such as green roofs, natural light, plants and outdoor access are increasingly being demanded by employees across the globe. In an effort to directly satisfy employee’s needs for physical fitness, more and more employers are opting to incorporate gyms into their office buildings. As for the actual workstations, there is a shift towards impermanence whereby employees can take their laptop to any communal space they choose. Some of these communal spaces may actually be standing desks, or, believe it or not, hamster wheel desks:
Some employers in the United States are even providing wearable fitness technology like the Fitbit, which tracks physical activity through heart rate. Employers can then show their insurance companies all the accumulated data from the fitness trackers and negotiate better health insurance rates if their employees reach certain fitness markers.
Depending on the type of position, some employers have elected to allow some of their employees to work from home outside of the standard 9-5 working hours to allow for greater flexibility. We’ve had the technology to do this for years, but it’s only until very recently that we’ve entertained the possibility of allowing employees to go unsupervised. This benefits the employer, as it cuts office space costs. Over 700 Jet Blue call centre employees are now working from the comfort of their own homes.
Many individuals are foregoing traditional forms of work altogether and are opting to freelance in order to be able to set their own hours and work in a way that compliments their lifestyle and skill set. Perhaps the most notable example of organized but unregulated freelancing is the ever-controversial Uber and Airbnb. More recently, some have decided to be freelance restauranteurs by preparing meals in their homes to be sold to strangers. This is now considered the least expensive yet the most authentic way for tourists to experience local cuisine.
In tandem with this trend towards flexible schedules, Netflix has a new unlimited vacation policy. It’s been reported that they’ve actually seen increases in employee productivity because employees enjoy the psychological effect of knowing they can take a vacation anytime and don’t have to rush back to work before they’re ready. They end up taking no more vacation than they otherwise would have and always return to work refreshed and bursting with new ideas.
Since we can’t always be on vacation (or can we?) we could probably benefit from doing some smaller brainstorming sessions as walking meetings outside. Chirping birds, furry squirrels and the smell freshly cut grass at Victoria Park may be able to spark a little more creativity than our office walls. Fortunately, our new home will be just several strides away from the park.