Making Moves

How are work trends changing co-worker relationships?

As current working trends increasingly diverge from the traditional 9-5 grind, the workplace is continuing to transform each year.

By Karishma

As current working trends increasingly diverge from the traditional 9-5 grind, the workplace is continuing to transform each year. We know that the ways in which we work are changing, but is this also influencing how we interact with our colleagues?

With collaborative technologies taking over the core of a business, gradually the “corporate ladder” is disappearing, and is instead being replaced with a “corporate lattice”. The use of platforms such as Slack, mean that internal communications have moved away from impersonal emailing and this has allowed discussion between departments on projects that may have not occurred previously. Employees have access to communicate with anyone at the company, regardless of their position, information is shared openly rather than being hushed away by senior partners and we can see that this is gradually removing the traditional hierarchies in business. Due to this connectivity, there is more talking, more sharing of ideas and skills and more barriers being broken down between employees, resulting in a system of higher equality and efficiency. While this is likely to have a largely positive effect on employee relationships, the introduction of easier virtual interaction could potentially have a negative impact on how much time employees spend discussing business ideas in person.

The concept of “mobility” is becoming ever more relevant in business. With the majority of companies now offering flexible working options, employees are able to choose where and when they make up their hours. In theory, this encourages a better work-life-balance allowing employees to create an individual schedule that works for them, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. This should have positive impacts on both relationships between employees and also between employees and their employers, due to less resentment to rigidity, and hopefully increased appreciation and work satisfaction. However, the ability for employees to work anywhere at anytime may also mean that employees never totally “switch off” therefore causing blurred lines between where work ends and life begins. Also, if employees are able to work remotely, this may totally diminish physical interactions between co workers and in the worst case, may even dehumanise fellow workers with whom you only speak to online. However, a flexible working office environment may also include features such as hot desking or bleacher style seating, which not only creates a more informal atmosphere, but also allows for increased conversation between and within departments, again moulding internal relationships and removing the old corporate hierarchy.

The future of the workplace is definitely going to be more “people-centric”. Already we can see employees given the option of perks that work for them personally, as well as the introduction of an “entrepreneurial environment” encouraged by millennials who are demanding more freedom and less control. Eventually this will lead to employer-employee relationships becoming less standardised and more individualised, which can only be a good thing!

Finally, popular work trends such as a ‘no shoes’ policy encouraging clients and staff to take their shoes off at the front door, as well as a more casual dress code inspires a relaxed atmosphere far away from the conventional corporate setting. The introduction of fitness classes, yoga rooms and in-house barista bars, will hopefully encourage employees from different teams to bond during and outside of work hours. This will likely create a friendlier, happier, more collaborative and communal space, enhancing relationships throughout the whole company. Unless, of course, these activities get a little too competitive…