For many years now, there has been lots of hype around the ‘modern workspace’. Afterall, isn’t it a benefit for your team to be working in an amazing office environment that is conducive to hard work, creativity, productivity and teamwork? Just look at Google and the effort they put into creating amazing workspaces.
It does help if you have a few billion dollars sitting in the bank needing to be spent, but with the increase availability of co-working space and flexible contract offices available the competition for tenants has meant that all these buildings now need to offer more. This is something that has been learned from the fast growth tech companies in Silicon Valley.
In Silicon Valley the catalyst for differentiation through workspaces has been the huge competition for top talent. Everyone wants to work for one of the Valleys unicorn companies but there are a few to chose from. In addition, the packages are starting to look the same with only few differences; Company culture, employee benefits and workspace environment. But the truth is, these are all the same thing.
So, what do the offices of today offer? These buildings are now both a place to work rest and play. They are known to include, bars, specialist coffee rooms, silent meditation lounges, nap rooms, gyms and even hairdressers. Not only that but they also provide additional services to help their tenants with the work-life balance. This is where the creativity really kicks in. For example, The Office Group offers its tenants Doggie Cuddle Clubs, Yoga, art classes, regular social gatherings and early morning dance classes to get you going at the start of your day.
These additional activities are not for everyone, but over the last decade we have seen the growing influence of the “millennial” workforce. And with them has come new demands for a better work-life balance and pressure for employees to be able to facilitate both mental and physical wellbeing in and out the workplace. Whether we like it or not, every organisation has had to learn from millennials.
However, not every organisation is a tech giant or has the deep pockets to afford a luxurious office in the heart of a major city. But every organisation does need to attract, retain and motivate its staff. When the immediate building itself can’t help with this then this is where the benefits you offer can differentiate you from your competition.
So, your office does not have a gym or Pilates studio, so why not ensure your employee benefits has a discount portal that offers cheaper access to the local sports club. In fact, why not give your staff the choice of using several gyms near both the office and where they live. This is not hard to do and there are number of companies like Xexec who offer their clients access to staff access to over 3000 discounts at high street shops, gyms, restaurants, bars, travel and wellbeing services as part of their employee benefits solutions.
Not only do these employee benefits match those of the modern workspace but they often exceed them. In ideal world you can offer both, but not everyone has that luxury.
In addition, benefits must be tailored for your workforce. If you have a more mature workforce, having a gym and bar in the office or a running track on the roof may not be very appealing. In fact, this is almost wasted on them. Therefore, what can you do to help them and add value to their lives outside of giving them a salary. Also, many companies have a disparate workforce where they have teams of people who are working out in the field, on the road or in other people’s offices. These people probably don’t care too much if head office has a helter-skelter to get from one floor to another.
Your staff, wherever they are based, want to be in a role that is not just financially rewarding, but also gives them some extra regardless of the type of desk they sit at. They want access to cheaper cinema tickets and discounts at their favourite restaurants to share with family and friends. They want discounted holidays and access to sold out shows to enjoy – something you don’t get in a building with a gym and bar! They want discounts for their weekly shop and not have to feel guilty if they don’t go to their gym.
The modern and future workspace is focused far more on creating an environment that inspires and motivates but is it also still a place you go to work. The truth is that the environment you chose for your company to call home is only part of the benefits you should offer your talent regardless of your size and location. Your benefits should be far wider ranging, not only to help make the lives of your team a little bit more manageable and affordable but also enjoyable for them as individuals and to share with their friends and family.
For more information, check out our e-book on voluntary benefits.