Collaborative Meets Private

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Collaborative workspaces foster creativity, increase engagement and encourage a cohesive work environment. They are essential to employee productivity, well-being and can positively impact a company’s bottom line.

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With so much emphasis on collaborative areas in the workplace, we seem to have forgotten the significance of private, individual workspaces. It’s important to note that these quiet work areas are just as essential to a work environment as collaborative spaces.

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We recently published a book, The Millennial Impact in Southeastern Wisconsin, which discusses Milwaukee Millennials’ views on transit, amenities and the city’s biggest challenges. Our findings also discuss Milwaukee Millennials’ workplace needs and their views of the ideal work environment.

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When creating the ideal workspace to help recruit and retain the next generation of talent, space must not be overlooked. Private and collaborative space must be equal.  It’s all about balance. Millennials want choice. They want a workplace that promotes collaboration, but also has quiet areas dedicated to heads down, focused work.

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72.5% of Millennials in Southeastern Wisconsin value a workplace that promotes collaboration, yet 65.7% ALSO value the availability of quiet workspaces. Currently, only one in four workers are working in optimal environments. The rest are struggling to work effectively, resulting in a major loss of productivity.

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If the ability to focus is not considered in your overall workplace design and space plan, strategies to improve collaboration are ineffective. The right workplace balances focus, collaboration and personalization. There’s a major cost implication if you do nothing, but there is major cost savings if you do it right.

 

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Can We Have a Party?

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Holidays are a big deal at Schroeder. They are a special time for us to gather around the table and bond over something that is important to each of us. And that’s usually food. We really love food.

If it’s a holiday, there’s a good chance we will throw a party featuring tons of delicious homemade dishes and desserts. The desserts might be gone within 10 minutes though, because we really can’t resist indulging in the sweetness.

We recently celebrated Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day with ginormous potluck feasts. Our employees brought in fun holiday-themed food and beverages to share and everyone enjoyed one another’s company.

We took a break from work to relax and spend some quality time with our amazing co-workers. What a beautiful sight it was! We also took note of who the good cooks and bakers are in the office.

We look forward to our office parties each month and can’t wait to pick which holiday we will celebrate next! Will it be April Fools’ Day? Cinco de Mayo? National Hug Your Cat Day? It’s a mystery, but we will most likely celebrate them all in one way or another!

 

 

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Don’t Just Sit There, Move!

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Did you know that inactivity is now a bigger killer than obesity? Our desk jobs slowly may be killing us and our work environments could very likely be to blame.

As soon as we sit, enzymes that help break down fat drop 90 percent and calorie burning drops to one per minute. Even if you exercise for the recommended two and half hours every week, that’s still not enough to offset the detrimental effects of sitting all day at the office.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting,” explains Dr. David Angus, a leading cancer specialist. Sitting for five hours is equivalent to smoking more than a pack of cigarettes in terms of increased cancer risks, heart disease, muscular problems, diabetes and other serious health conditions.

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Research shows that getting up and moving around for one to two minutes every 30 minutes can have a drastic impact on your health. When we stand, we burn more calories and our brain functions differently. Muscles in our legs contract, which increases production of fat-burning enzymes. Standing even can help to boost energy levels, increase creativity and engagement.

Companies should provide employees with optimal resources and work spaces that will contribute to overall health and well-being. Failing to do so can lead to a major loss of employee productivity, serious health effects and a negative ROI. Effective work environments must encourage movement and support employee health and happiness.

To read more about the negative effects of sitting, click here.

How can I move throughout the work day?

  • Invest in a height-adjustable desk or a treadmill workstation
  • Go for a walk at lunch
  • Plan a walking meeting instead of a meeting in the conference room
  • Take the stairs
  • Walk to get a drink of water
  • Talk to your co-worker in person instead of sending an email
  • Run an errand during your lunch break
  • Stretch it out
  • Take a lap around the office
  • Do a mini office workout video
  • Take short, micro breaks every 30 minutes

Always be conscious of your posture while you do sit and keep track of how long you have been sitting. If your job requires you to be at your desk all day, you can invest in an ergonomic chair that fits your body and work style. Just be sure to take small breaks and move whenever you can! Your body will thank you later.

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Kid-Friendly Offices

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Balancing the ups and downs of parenting a toddler along with the demands of managing an entire sales department is already tough enough. But what happens when your child gets sick and you have a huge report due the next day? Creating office environments that are accepting of family life could be the answer to employee well-being, happiness and productivity. It’s all about helping your employees find the right balance between their work and personal life.

A family-friendly work culture does indeed take commitment from leadership and support from employees, with or without children of their own. From paid maternity leave, allowing employees to leave early to attend dance recitals or soccer games to fun play rooms in the office dedicated to children, there are many things companies can do to support their employees.

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Providing them with office environments that are committed to helping them succeed, both professionally and personally, can ultimately help them feel more positive and better prepare them to handle adversity. Flexibility is key to employee happiness. And what’s the payoff of having happier employees? A 12 percent increase in productivity!

Etsy is no stranger to helping employees and working parents.The handmade and vintage items and supplies company encourages working parents to take full advantage of the family-friendly policies and benefits. To support the family-friendly culture onsite, Etsy hosts crafternoons, where families can work on crafting projects together, bring your child to work days and parties for kids and dogs. The company even has high chairs in the kitchen to support and encourage family visits during lunch time. While work isn’t suspended during these times, visits are supported by Etsy’s work culture. Employees have the autonomy to structure their own work schedule and reschedule meetings or presentations if they conflict with a personal matter.

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To view the full article with more information on how different companies have created kid-friendly offices for working parents, visit bit.ly/1pqkHWV

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