Is this Australia’s most pleasant work environment?

What gets your employees out of bed every morning? Is it the mighty dollar, the feeling that their work has meaning, or the belief that their hard work today will pay off with a promotion tomorrow?

While Australians rank financial rewards, stimulating work and career progression high on the list of attributes they value in an employer, Randstad’s 2017 Employer Branding Research reveals that’s only part of the story. These days, workers are placing more emphasis on work-life balance and a pleasant work atmosphere.

Gone are the days when a senior manager could get away with claiming the cushy corner office with the best view. Spacious, sun-drenched, open-plan offices are now becoming the norm, with entry-level staff and senior management often sitting side-by-side.

PwC is leading the charge, with workspaces around the country (including a new space in Barangaroo, Sydney) that don't have offices or assigned seating.  Instead, employees are encouraged to move around and choose a workspace that suits them. 

“It’s about choice,” says PwC Partner Debra Eckersley. “Giving people a choice of different environments and spaces, from collaborative spaces where they can work with clients, through to library areas that are completely silent and designed for individual work.”

Some of PwC’s spaces are equipped with the latest technology, such as Google Hangouts, so that employees can connect with team members and clients around the world, while others offer little more than a whiteboard and sheets of paper. There are also individual workstations where people can plug in and work with no distractions.

The idea, Debra explains, is to offer staff a range of options so that they can decide what suits them from one moment to the next.

“We believe productivity is enhanced by providing people with a choice of spaces to work in,” she says. “Our staff can choose between collaborative areas, with the buzz of talking around them, to what we call the focus areas, which are virtually silent.”

The new offices also feature what Debra calls a “fun space”, where staff can relax over a game of Ping-Pong or Jenga, take a moment to play with Lego, or go for a brisk walk on the treadmill.

“The fun space was designed with employee wellness and productivity in mind,” she says. “We ask a lot of our people, and we want to give them an opportunity to chill out, get some exercise, and use a different part of their brain for a while. The treadmills in particular serve as a visual reminder not to sit at your desk all day.”

But the emphasis on movement isn’t just about employee health. Debra says it also encourages innovation. “We want people from different teams bumping into each other and having what we call ‘serendipitous interactions’. We want them to feel like they’re not just working in one team – they have a role to play across a variety of experiences.”

And as far as employee satisfaction goes, the new offices seem to be achieving that goal. “We’ve been getting great feedback,” Debra says. “Our people say they are feeling more energised and efficient in this style of working.”

 

Find out what Australian employees want in the Randstad employer branding research here: www.randstad.com.au/employer-brand-research




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