Always Consider This When Searching For A New Job Or Making A Career Change
I was working with an unhappy client, and at first, she couldn't quite figure out why. In our work together, we uncovered a key value that wasn't being fulfilled. She valued working in an aesthetically pleasing environment, and there she was in a space she didn't like and one she considered ineffective.
According to Gensler, space comprises functionality and effectiveness, variety and choice, and what my client was mainly struggling with, aesthetics. Gensler's 2019 U.S. Workplace Study says, creating a great workplace experience requires aligning culture, interaction and behavior and space.
Often, we think about the skills and capabilities we want our new job to utilize. We also consider the need to find a role or career that internally motivates us. However, we don't always think about the type of physical environment we'll be in on a day-to-day basis and how that will impact our productivity and happiness.
So, which industries generally have an effective workplace and create an engaging experience? Gensler found the following:
People working in consumer goods, not-for-profit, and media industries are most likely to fall into being highly engaged, but struggle with ineffective workplaces.
People working in the government or defense industries are most likely to fall in the quadrant of poor effectiveness and poor experience.
Individuals in the finance, management/advisory or technology sectors are most likely to have high effectiveness and a great experience, according to 45% of U.S. respondents in the study.
Interestingly so, the Gensler report also found that less than half of the American workforce is in a workplace that achieves both. I touched base with two individuals committed to enhancing what you need in a fulfilling career move, a workspace that impacts experience and effectiveness.
Samu Hällfors is the CEO of Framery, who creates conducive workplaces for 40% of all Forbes 100 companies, including Microsoft, Puma, Vodafone and Deloitte. I also asked Randy Nicolau, the CEO of Poppin, for his insights on how you can be happier and healthier in your workspace. Poppin's client's include brands like LinkedIn and Kate Spade.
Rachel Montanez: I work with individuals and organizations that highly value wellness. What do you feel is the correlation between burnout and our physical environment?
Randy Nicolau: Burnout is the result of a variety of factors, but being uncomfortable in your environment is certainly one of them. Whether it is feeling frustrated that you have no place for a private phone call or being stuck in an uncomfortable chair all day. Over time, it will lead to the decline of your mental and physical well-being.
Montanez: And what are some things job seekers probably don't consider when researching a company's physical environment?
Nicolau: I think the most overlooked consideration when scouting at workspaces is the availability of different kinds of breakout spaces. Typically, the happiest employees are the ones who can pick and choose where and how they want to work for various tasks.
Montanez: How can individuals assess what type of office environment would best fit them?
Samu Hällfors: Individuals tend to categorize themselves as one specific type of worker, when, in fact, we operate in different ways as employees, depending on the task at hand. People oversimplify their needs and tend to think, 'I'm this specific way, and I only work like this.' When assessing what type of office environment would best fit them, individuals seek out support for their primary way of working. But they don't account for the many other forms of working throughout the day, such as moments of deep individual focus and open group brainstorms.
Here's an overview from the Gensler report that illustrates the weekly average time spent in each work mode:
Working alone – 45%
Collaborating in person – 30%
Collaborating virtually – 14%
Learning – 6%
Socializing – 5 %
Montanez: What improvements would you like to see in the workplace?
Hällfors: Planning for small meetings. Everyone plans the boardroom, but people forget about the smaller meeting areas. People are always looking for more room for one-on-one and small group brainstorms. According to a 2018 Rapal Study, 80% of meetings now have 4 or fewer people.
Montanez: Thank you for bringing that to our attention. That's a good thing to research or ask about in an interview. And lastly, how can remote workers improve their workspace?
Nicolau: Remote workers need to set up a workspace at home, even if it's small. Some keys to a good "home office" are a comfortable (but not too comfortable) task chair. Also, organizational tools, whether it's desktop organization accessories or investing in a sound file cabinet.
Hällfors: I'll also add that we have to be open – remote workers and commuters alike – to recognize our differing work styles. The place that you brainstorm best in might look completely different from the area that you feel most concentrated for a task that has a quicker turnaround time.
Your next career move needs a comprehensive, strategic approach to support your well-being and professional development. Don't forget to consider and research the physical environment and the concept of space.
This article was first published on my Forbes column.