Yahoo USA CEO Marissa Mayer recently issued a decree to employees insisting they be based in their office instead of working remotely. Her decision came as a shock to many who had become used to workplace flexibility. In her memo she said “some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”
When the concept of remote work first surfaced, it created a wave of interest, with the hope that important workplace contributions could still be achieved from a distance. But what do Sydney business leaders think? An alternative to remote work, and also the traditional workplace, is the creation of an environment where people are enthused to come to work. Lifelounge CEO Dion Appel said:
“ We don’t encourage people to work remotely. Our work culture is more of a lifestyle hub the way it’s structured in terms of being open plan with music playing, lounge areas and a coffee bar…now I worry that my guys don’t get out enough.”
Appel believes a modern workplace should provide flexibility, providing time-out when required, along with dedicated commitment when needed. A fulfilling environment is key in progressive workplaces, and can result in outstanding success. Psychology is also playing an important role in business solutions, with some companies going as far as pairing diametrically opposed personalities together in search for solutions way out of the box. Ideas sessions should be designed to connect people of diverse talent and allow them to express creativity and ingenuity while having fun.
However, the argument against remote working is not good news for everyone. In 2013, Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia managing director told her 830 staff to stay home for the day in order to promote flexible working and showcase cloud technology. Marlow believes it’s imperative to empower staff in remote work skills, and her opinion is shared by many.
A major challenge for businesses with a remote workforce is in establishing corporate culture. Communication in person is known to strengthen bonds between individuals, and socialising in a work environment can be encouraging and nurturing for healthy work relations.
It’s a foregone conclusion that as technology enables a variety of work options, employers will utilise those options for best business performance. There will be occupations where traditional office structure is essential as well as jobs where remote work is more profitable. It’s an exciting time to be involved in office design and fitout, as new opportunities constantly arise to challenge the imagination and ingenuity of all concerned.
Office life is certainly changing. In a world of increased work options it’s important that decision makers strike the right balance between introducing flexible systems and maintaining the importance of good old fashioned face-to-face creativity. EBN Office Fitouts are the Sydney standard for progressive work environments, and remain at the forefront of change in exciting times.