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A Nomadic Approach To Working

We explore emerging trends of how to work hard, anywhere!

Written by Lucy Hardwick, Marketing Director

Globally employers continue to wrestle with the problem of talent acquisition and retention. The phrase “digital nomad”, describing a workforce who operate remotely without a fixed office base, has been around for a number of years now and whilst it initially emerged as a micro trend, it looks set to stay. In order to create desirable workplaces and encourage both current and future employees back into the office, we consider why employers and designers must take leanings from this nomadic movement.

Worldwide, the millennial generation continue to enforce change and create new rules which employers are struggling to understand; 80% of key employee decision makers remain from older generations. 

Conversely Millennials are now also influencing what their older colleagues want from their employment, which further compounds the problem. Many employers find themselves with more generations in their teams than ever before and are challenged to understand how to balance wellbeing, motivation and consistent performance in this growing workplace diversity.

But this is not just a millennial generation characteristic, workforces of all ages, respond well to varied work and working experience with control over and flexibility of a traditional, linear career progression. The most common demands from a modern workforce now is the ability to share, work in groups, collaborate, use technology and work where, how and when they want. Actively seeking wellbeing, life balance and social responsibility is more important than wealth to a lot of people, particularly the younger generations entering the workplace. The younger generation also inhabit spaces differently to their parents and grandparents. This is a generation which grew up with technology, social media and the sharing economy. They are a highly adaptable and much more willing to share facilities. A canteen is a coworking area and networking spot, whilst a lobby area can double up as a yoga space.

Considered design of the workplace is a cost-effective solution to these issues. Bolder, flexible, more confident workplace design is needed to show employers why the vast majority of negative influence on business success can come from the workplace environment.

Working remotely, away from the office, is not the only option that employers can offer to combat the increasing desire for nomadic working. Designers can answer this call to action by creating flexibility within workspaces, allowing employees to not feel restricted by desk working, offering working breakout areas and re-configurable spaces, can create a nomadic feeling within the confines of the office. The key question for designers here is ‘How can a space be designed to inspire productivity and remove boredom without becoming a distraction in itself?’