You'll spend more than 90,000 hours at work throughout your lifetime. In a more day-to-day sense, adults in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9-to-5 schedule entails. With so much time spent at work, it's essential for your workforce to be engaged in order to make your company successful.
How exactly does engagement lead to success? According to the Workplace Research Foundation, highly engaged employees are 38 percent more likely to have above-average productivity. And increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year--a compelling indicator as to why Bersin and Associates predicts annual employee engagement spend in the U.S. to increase from $720 million to $1.5 billion.
While there are subjective factors that contribute to employee engagement--like recognition programs, company mission, professional growth opportunities and teamwork--your actual work environment can provide tangible factors that drive engagement and productivity as well. Here are three examples:
1. Technology-Assisted Autonomy and Productivity
Pew Research reports digital tools can have an enormous impact on how work gets done. Forty-six percent of working adults surveyed said even some of the most basic technology (like internet, email and cell phones) increases their productivity. Additionally, 35 to 39 percent of respondents say technology gives them greater flexibility, all while increasing the number of hours they actually work.
Technology is also driving more collaboration at work, as companies redesign work processes and how they handle key functions like IT management, sales and marketing--resulting in more sales and profits. Businesses also report streamlined technology processes lead to improved employee satisfaction.
2. No Rigid 9-to-5 Schedules
Technology makes it possible for employees to work and stay connected across remote locations, which is why more people are losing interest in the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. Today people prefer to set their own hours, be in charge of their own priorities and complete work on their own terms. Creating a work environment that allows employees to have more flexibility over when and where their work is done is a highly desirable attribute for an engaging (and productive) workforce.
3. Open Offices and Collaboration Spaces
While old-school cubicles used to dominate offices that were primarily driven by individual work, the collaborative workspaces popular today among start-ups foster innovation and agile decision making. For example, cluster-style workspaces (like pods that openly seat six to eight employees) encourage teams and colleagues to work together. This type of environment offers another level of flexibility that allows colleagues to more openly inspire and support each other along the way.
Creating a workspace that promotes engagement, attracts top talent and fosters employee retention doesn't mean you have to spend millions to overhaul your current space with adult-sized slides and sleeping pods à la Google, but it does mean investing time and money. By making the above changes to increase autonomy, you'll also increase employee happiness and, as a result, revenue.