Our relationships and how well we work with colleagues is determined not only by our personalities but also by our cognitive health. Within our office environments our personal hydration, the room temperature, noise level and lighting are all elements that must be managed in order to maintain a healthy cognitive state. Maintaining a healthy brain functioning is essential for both our productivity and wellbeing, which directly impacts our working relationships.

Dr Kellie Vincent

Dr Kellie Vincent

We are now considered to operate in an era of ‘New Ways of Working’, and as such when thinking about our workspaces we have to consider the interrelated aspects of “Bricks, Bytes and Behaviour”.

A 2016 study in the Netherlands highlighted that our interconnected world with ‘new ways of working bring with it a number of risks which can be detrimental to our working relationships:

  1. The risk of high exhaustion for employees
  2. Not knowing when to stop working in a flexible environment
  3. A lack of social contact with colleagues which often a key source of satisfaction for employees  
  4. Fear of overstepping "freedoms" such as working from home, among colleagues, can lead to a lack of trust
  5. Open plan lack of privacy, personal territory and the ability to personalise the work environment which conflicts with personal human needs resulting in dissatisfaction and further decrease of productivity 

The totaljobs 'Office of the future' helps to combat these risks because by starting from the perspective that we need to maintain our cognitive health the following solutions were integrated within the Productivity Space:

Health Alert Desk System with stress relieving abilities and health monitoring abilities also enables a personalised set up and optimal flexibility on the level of privacy and territory according to individuals needs and wants. It also means that employees are alerted when unhealthy levels of screen time take over and so not knowing when to stop becomes a thing of the past.

The flexible working area, arcade area, and the office garden provide a change of environment and pace, which also provides not just an area for relaxation but contributes to a more social office atmosphere. Potentially this can lead to a boost in workplace creativity and directly impact on relationship amongst employees, offering them alternative levels to integrate on and engage with each other outside of the usual meetings and work tasks. 

Smart Screen to alleviate issues related to presenteeism and enable social connection with colleagues as appropriate in a non-intrusive way when they are working but are not physically on site.

So new ways of working should be more productive, social and rewarding ways of working, you just need to ensure that the environment is designed with human needs in mind. This in turn will bring a happier, healthier and more sociable workforce with stronger working relationships.

To find out more about the totaljobs research and 'Office of the future' visit: www.totaljobs.com/insidejob/age-concerned-office-future

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