With NeoCon 2019 now in the books, we asked IA Design Director and Principal Neil Schneider about his participation there as one of two presenters on IIDA’s panel, What Clients Want, moderated by Cheryl Durst, IIDA Executive Vice President, and CEO. Schneider was asked to prepare in advance and speak to questions broadly summarized here: How have social change, demographic shifts, and technology affected clients and your work over the last 5 years? What contributes to worker wellbeing and productivity? What predictions can be made about what’s next? We asked Neil to share in essence the substance of his answers and their implications. Gen Z, as a demographic, is affecting the current workplace scenario, with physical and mental wellbeing high on their list of workplace requirements. The idea of simplification, focus, and needs met in one location-a workplace that provides for mental and physical wellbeing as well as comradery, professional opportunity, and financial gain-is enticing and good business. Companies want to succeed and, since their greatest expense is the recruitment and training of staff, keeping staff vibrant and engaged by meeting and exceeding their requirements on multiple levels makes good sense. In 2018, about 50 percent of each IA designed corporate space was given to individual work space, the other half to amenity spaces, including cafes, learning environments, wellness areas, community zones, meeting spaces, and more-communal environments that create memorable platforms. The idea of the workplace now encompasses a comprehensive space imbued with a company’s story where staff creates and engages socially and professionally with one another as well as the organization’s mission, new technologies, and learning experiences in an environment that nurtures mental/physical health, provides for work-life balance and sound nutrition, offers opportunities for decompression and respite from the workday, and encourages joy. Our use of the workplace monitored in this way will shape our reality and the work environment.
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