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The State of Work

The State of Work

Ideas are the currency of the new economy

Richard Florida, economist, social scientist & author

People, Technology and Place are the three critical elements of today's workplaces. The complexity of business requires new skills in today’s workplace. Employees need to develop collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking skills.  These are the skills for the new workplace where faster is the norm for staying competitive.

There is a shift to creative work in today’s workplace. Creativity is an untapped resource that employers must learn to harness.  In the world of work, being able to solve complex problems is critical. Creative work is a process that is messy, difficult and iterative – an exploration of unknowns. The result of this is new ideas, new ways of working, new competitive strategies.

Creativity is fundamentally about solving problems. Innovation and creativity are not done in a vacuum, but in a collaborative setting, as well as a setting that allows thinking and focusing by the individual. Creative work is demanding – physically, cognitively and emotionally. It requires convergent and divergent thinking. 

The need and demand for creative work is bringing workers back to the office where they share, collaborate and build on each other’s ideas. Good old-fashioned brainstorming sessions. It is the best place for thinking, communicating and creating – all relevant to creative work. But the workplace has to change to meet the needs of creative work – multiple work settings for collaboration as a group and in pairs, using technology seamlessly, space to think and focus, and space to rejuvenate.

According to James Ludwig, Vice President Global Design at Steelcase, Inc., “It’s really all about the intersection of the digital and the physical – having the right place and the right technology at the right time.”

Today’s employees need a range of workspaces for their work where they can think or collaborate or rejuvenate.

Creative work and solving complex problems can exhaust an employee. Employers need to make certain employees take care of themselves by providing spaces where it is ok to rest. By investing in employee wellbeing, employers ensure they have an engaged staff that creates new ideas and products.

So how does wellbeing come into play with creativity? Keeping employees alert and focused during the day must be a priority for employers. Not only the physical needs (ergonomics) of employees, but the emotional and cognitive needs are just as important. 

Steelcase has conducted research on worker wellbeing and found 6 Dimensions of Wellbeing in the Workplace. These six factors can change how you look at the workplace and how it affects the employees…

  • Optimism | Fostering Creativity & Innovation
  • Mindfulness | Fully Engaged
  • Authenticity | Really Yourself
  • Belonging | Connecting to Others
  • Meaning | A Sense of Purpose
  • Vitality | Get Up and Go

Wellbeing is a multifaceted issue; it addresses the physical, cognitive and emotional needs of workers. These needs should be viewed as a whole and not separately. The space where people come together to work can have an impact on how they work – it should be a positive impact – that improves employee engagement, worker wellbeing and employee creativity.

Additional Reading:
https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/creativity/creative-shift/
https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/technology/driving-wellbeing-people/

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