We’re kicking off February with a round-up of some need-to-know items exploring how workplaces are functioning now and how they can improve to become agile organizations. These include an emphasis on the mental benefits of occupancy sensors in the office for employees, how to manage increasing levels of employee stress and creative solutions like (platonic) inter-office dating for improving employee relationships.
Adoption of smarter office tech can lend boost to employee EQ and IQ
A new survey conducted by Accenture Strategy finds that more than half (52 percent) of executives believe that wearable devices will help spark a “moderate-to-significant change in work practices.” This isn’t really news – integrating more IoT devices and drawing on the behavioral data that they provide will naturally lend to greater insights into how efficient or not the workplace utilization is, and then readjusting accordingly. But what is interesting was the survey’s finding on the effect that these new technologies can have on an employee’s personal mindset, specifically their EQ (social skills, self-awareness and empathy) and IQ.
As Himanshu Tambe, managing director for Accenture’s talent and organization, notes in The Telegraph: “Companies have perfected collecting data on consumers to boost sales and customer loyalty. But to date, they have had little insight into how the workforce of the future will interact with each other and what makes them happy or successful at work.” Drawing on Big Data and office occupancy sensors, such as Condeco Sense, to derive these conclusions can, in turn, result in employees who don’t just work better and are more productive, but also feel better and have stronger interactions with one another in the office.
Canadian company encourages inter-office, one-on-one ‘blind dates’ to boost morale
One Canadian company has found its own answer to improving relationships between employees: pairing them off into one-on-one “blind dates,” of sorts. While many businesses usually frown on or actively discourage their employees from dating one another, the Toronto accounting firm “Freshbooks” is looking at a more platonic version of inter-office dating as a creative solution to making workers more comfortable with one another.
The initiative pairs together employees (voluntarily of course) across all departments within the firm and sends them out on lunch or coffee dates. Some initial awkwardness aside, many of the employees who have participated said the program has worked in helping to improve communications and interactions between employees who otherwise might never talk to one another.
Workplace stress on the rise
For 15 years, Insightlink has performed annual surveys to take the temperature of American employees and gauge what they’re thinking or feeling on a year-over-year basis. The latest findings? Americans are feeling more stressed in the workplace. This is especially worrying because it shows that increased attention from managers on how to best reduce worker stress is, thus far, having little or no impact.
The survey, released in January but conducted last November, shows that rising numbers of American employees are struggling with their workloads: 70 percent call their work stressful, with one-third adding it is “extremely” stressful; 25 percent feel they have more work than they can ever finish (compared to 20 percent in 2007); and 75 percent believe they are unable to strike the right work-life balance.
The first month of the New Year has revealed an interesting split perspective on the current state of the workspace: the design and functionality impediments that lead to higher stress and strained employee EQ, but at the same time, a look at some of the fresh and cutting-edge solutions – from one-on-one personalized interactions to the positive impact of wearables on employee mindsets – that will help dramatically redefine the office landscape in the months and years ahead for the better.