I am willing to bet that most of our readers are familiar with all the exciting new buzzwords for the work place. Words like “gamification”, “employee engagement”, “team building” … and the list goes on and on. Basically, an entirely new industry has arisen as an attempt to raise productivity and stimulate the innovative nature of employees. There is a good reason for this new business place innovation.
According to the best available information for the year 2015, more the 70% of employees are dissatisfied and uncommitted to their work. More than $300 Billion dollars in productivity is lost each year to disengaged employees and nearly 40% of new hires leave their job due to poor initial training and job dissatisfaction.
These numbers are staggering, so it is easy to understand how and why these new concepts are gaining traction in industries across all sectors of the markets. But there is more to engagement and happiness than software and “trust falls” and that seemingly forgotten component is the environment in which people find themselves working.
Let’s look at two people working in the advertising industry. Jason is a 39-year-old director for a mid-sized agency in North Carolina. He has a “nice” office with a window and a computer. Pictures of his family adorn the desk and some pictures in frames, that were purchased from a nearby department store, hang on the wall, their purpose being more to take up space on the off-white wall than for actually improving the décor. The working conditions are functional but not particularly engaging or inspiring. Jason spends a lot of his time looking at pictures on his computer of other places he would rather be and is often more concerned with getting to the end of the day than with being productive in his role at work. Jason is one of the 70%.
Samantha is also a director at an advertising agency. However, she has taken the initiative to make the office an actively engaging environment, with results that clearly support the investment her company chose to make in the workplace environment. The digital assistant greeted he by name, the “In/Out Board” automatically updated her status to “In”, and her daily tasks were queued up on her computer as she walked through the door. As she entered her office, the lights came on and the walls came to life with the vibrant colors she had selected on the small touchscreen near the door. Samantha is clearly happy and excited to get her day started. There is a meeting scheduled for 10AM in the conference room. As she heads down the hall way and enters the conference area, she sees the large table surrounded by clear glass walls. As the meeting begins, a quick press of a button, inconspicuously located near the door, results in the walls quickly become opaque and information needed for the meeting is displayed in glorious Ultra High Definition on what had appeared to be a clear glass wall, just moments ago! Talk about controlling the work environment! Did we mention that Samantha’s team outperformed Jason and his team by more than 40% that year? No kidding!
Productivity at Samantha’s agency skyrocketed when the interactive environment was implemented, and the evidence is not anecdotal. The results were clearly tracked in the supporting software, specifically designed for “employee engagement”. Employees were happier, engaging in a more game-like process to complete their work. They are literally having fun performing the otherwise mundane tasks that are required for their business to be successful. But these results were not the product of simply introducing “gamification” software to the workplace. The combination of Interactive Interior Design, Engagement Software and constant feedback provided by the interactive environment all work together to create truly unique and stimulating spaces where employees want to be!
So when you are shopping for Sleep Pods, Hover Boards and gamifications implementations, remember to consider the environment is which all of these things will reside. Thoughtful design of the working environment is extremely important to the success and productivity of already good employees and can be inspiring to those whose engagement might have slipped a bit.