One of the most prominent discussions facing the workplace is the future of work – when we do it, where we do it, and how we do it. With increasing pressure to be flexible, companies are trying to balance the future of work with the consistent methods they’ve been using for decades. Plus, there is mounting influence from employees for leadership to push the boundaries on what the working environment becomes. Whether it’s traditional spaces, agile areas or entirely remote work, how will companies efficiently manage space for ever-changing worker demographics? And how will technology play into these emerging work environments? As Generations Y (Millennials) and Z enter the workforce, more employees are finding that they want flexibility in how they work, while still valuing their own space and autonomy. According to Forbes, millennials will soon make up half the workforce with the other half being a combination of Gen X and Baby Boomers. As a result of growing up around technology and valuing purpose over pay, younger generations care much more about flexibility than previous generations, and they also expect to interact with technology frequently and utilize these tools to improve their working experience.
Most of the research supports a shift away from traditional working environments, and nearly a quarter of US companies are considering a move to agile working environments. In response, more companies are trying to navigate these new trends to attract and retain talent.
There are countless benefits to agile and remote working that have been researched extensively over the last several years. This allows employee flexibility while reducing both space and costs for employers and corporate real-estate management. Statistics show that agile working increases interactions between a variety of team members. In one study at a large pharmaceutical company, there was a direct correlation between increased interaction with other teams and increased sales. Adversely, the more space the company had, the less interaction their employees had, and the less sales they achieved (Harvard Business Review). When companies provide their employees space and technology to encourage interaction, a unique exchange of ideas ensues, which had they been sedentary at their desk, may never have occurred.
Along with agile work, more opportunities for remote work have arisen. As more employees go remote, many companies report increases in employee retention and satisfaction. According to a recent Gallup poll, the most engaged employees spend anywhere from 60 to 80% of their time working away from the office. However, those spending 100% of their time working away from the office saw a decrease in engagement. This also plays into work/life balance. More than half of employees report that work life balance is a very important factor in choosing a job or staying in their current position.
To increase both sales and efficiency, companies need to determine the right balance between agile, remote, and traditional work. Anytime a company shifts too far in one direction, they may experience negative effects. For example, companies who have become too agile experienced a decrease in productivity. In a study with two Fortune 500 companies, face-to-face interaction decreased as the offices opened. People retreated as a result of being forced to interact.
As a result of both experiences and research, a new trend is emerging – hybrid workspaces. Hybrid environments help save money in real estate, improve profits, and increase employee satisfaction by giving employees a place to have individual, heads-down work, along with collaboration areas when needed. Increasing access to technology such as laptops, monitors, and meeting room booking gives employees the opportunity to interact. Workers who have space to connect with coworkers when they want to interact are 1.5x more likely to be engaged.
At Avuity, we help companies learn what type of spaces are right for their employees. We make these spaces work better by measuring how employees are interacting within different spaces. Using our VuSpace analytics platform, companies can determine how to improve their own office environment to achieve the best results and return on investment. Our data, gathered from well-positioned sensors, helps drive informed decision-making within a variety of industries. Additionally, VuBook, our meeting room or desk booking platform, allows employees to reserve spaces seamlessly, increasing the time they spend interacting with others in the office.
“State of the American Workplace.” Gallup, 2017, news.gallup.com/reports/199961/7.aspx.
“Workspaces that Move People.” Harvard Business Review, 2014.
“Why Agile Work Cultures Are So Important to Millennials.” Forbes, 17 Oct. 2017,
“New Proof the Open Office Concept Is Ineffective.” Dice Insights, 16 July 2018, insights.dice.com/2018/07/16/open-office-totally-innefective/.