In today’s ever-changing world, businesses face a new dilemma when it comes to flexible and agile working.

Miles McLeod

Workplace Consultant

08th May 2017

Many companies have incorporated flexible working, improving employee satisfaction, engagement and retention, but these practices can be double-edged. Increased flexibility in the workplace can result in a feeling of detachment, as workers are often dispersed and rarely in the office together. In addition, the amount of desk space may have been reduced due to agile working, so employees no longer own a desk, making it harder for them to feel they have a place in the office and are part of a team.

Now, the question is: how can we bring people back? Incorporating a “Destination Workplace” doesn’t only mean giving people autonomy and letting them get on with the job. It’s about providing a great workplace experience and environment where people really want to be, not have to be.

Today’s employees want to feel valued and empowered to do their best work. In order to succeed in supporting and developing a high-performing workforce, businesses need to create a culture that engages them and importantly, provides a workplace where employees want to be together. One example of a dominant culture that has achieved this is the sporting culture. For many fans, it’s not just about going to watch a football match, for example, but rather the atmosphere and experience that goes with it. We believe that employers should treat employees like fans, making work feel like an experience, with shared goals, a mission and a purpose.

In addition, businesses can learn from the retail and hospitality sectors by creating breakout areas that have a homely environment. Research has shown that workers who move away from their desks generate new ideas. So employers should embrace the power of disconnection and make employees feel that it’s OK to take a break. It’s not about working from home but rather “homing from work”.

It’s also important for employers to understand the demographics of their employees, and tailor the culture to suit these demographics. For example, millennials want to work in an environment that offers life experience, not just work experience. Recent research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that people would prefer to work in a happy environment and get on with colleagues than earn a high salary.

"All employees need to feel respected, listened to and understood. It's good to encourage employees to focus on the positives of working with others from diverse backgrounds."
Kaylyn Jeffrey - HR Manager, Service.com.au


The Destination Workplace approach benefits companies as it helps to attract and retain talent and create fans of the brand, not to mention cost savings if the workspace is utilised properly. For employees, it helps them to feel more engaged and encourages them back to the office. This is even more prevalent for out of town offices that perhaps don’t benefit from having lots of amenities on the door step. In these locations, it’s important for employees to feel that the office provides them with a variety of comfortable environments and facilities.

Recent Morgan Lovell client examples of Destination Workplace include Costa Coffee and Superdrug. Costa has incorporated a mix of both public and private break out areas. Users who want to take a break but don’t feel like talking can go into the super-private breakout area, which provides a mix of both a collaborative and contemplative environment. Similarly, Superdrug’s new offices have been transformed into a collaborative workspace that supports employee wellbeing. The office is very brand proud and provides employees with all the same facilities that you would expect in a high street store - for example, a wellness clinic, a nail and brow bar, as well as a 550 sq ft ‘mock’ high-street shop.

Above all, it’s important to remember that space is a good reflection of the company culture. We predict that the rise of the Destination Workplace will see the efficiency-driven activity-based working model replaced.