I was asked about this question at work and I’d like to share my thoughts on the matter here. When I think about modern workplaces, I think about the following
A modern workplace is flexible
In a modern working environment, employees should be given flexibility, for example, in remote working, maternity leave, working hours or even choosing between open office or cubicles. Our work isn’t our life. As technology advances, we should be able to afford letting folks work remotely, if circumstances call for it. I am not saying everybody should start walking out of office and working from home. However, if there is an emergency at home or the weather is awful enough, working remotely should absolutely be an option.
The days when we have to punch in cards from 9 to 5 everyday are over. Employees should be able to set up the time to work, provided that they are in agreement with the management. As long as work gets done, why does it matter if somebody starts at 7am and leaves at 3pm?
One of the issues that I discussed with a colleague was whether we should switch from our high cubicles now for open floor plan. Well, they are not mutually exclusive. I do believe each of us should have some privacy given by the cubicles, but companies, if they can afford it, can set up a community space where people can relax and mingle.
Do I even need to articulate on maternity leave? Men and women alike should be given time off to take care of their new born children.
A modern workplace puts employees’ well-beings first
Numerous studies show that sitting too long in front of screens is detrimental to our health and eyes. Knowledge workers are supposed to spend 8 hours on average every day in front of computers. A modern workplace should be able to help employees work efficiently while protecting their health. Of course, wellness facilities and programs are always appreciated.
Mental illnesses pose a serious issue in our society. Modern workplace should have measures in place to help those in need for mental assistance. Otherwise, how would we be different from the 1950s?
A modern workplace comes with modern tools
If your workplace has computers with Windows XP, 2GB of RAM without sufficient applications to do your job well or if your office doesn’t have a system to keep everybody comfortable from the summer heat or winter cold, will it be something of our modernity? Absolutely not. Besides the basic infrastructure to keep employees safe and comfortable, companies should commit to giving employees the necessary tools to function. If you have to keep your applications fast and reliable at all times but the Internet is crappy, how could you deliver what was asked?