Is Your Workplace Sliding Towards Obscurity? – 7 Signs of an Outdated Office
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The pandemic and the explosion of new technologies have brute-forced a new era for employers and employees. Nowadays, people only visit the office when they need access to specific equipment, tools, or resources.
Workplaces have become the stabilizing hub for brainstorming, face-to-face meetings, and collaboration sessions. It’s where the company shapes company culture and reminds employees of company values, mission, and purpose.
Is your workplace keeping up? How do we identify companies that are silently slipping out of the race? Here are some ways to judge if your company is outdated or forward-looking.
7 Signs of an Outdated Office
1. Outdated Design and Decor
It’s hard to do your best work in an uninspiring environment. But drab decor is more than just a lack of Millenial Pink. In some offices, functionality appears to be an afterthought. Is the internal layout a maze of small rooms with obscure functions? Are there narrow hallways, too many doors, or a lack of functional shelves or cupboards? Is there room for privacy and space to take a breather during a hectic workday?
Spaces must be flexible and comfortable, with a mix of collaborative and private areas. They should inspire creativity and productivity with natural light and open layouts.
Outdated design could directly impact the workforce’s productivity. For example, a lack of electrical outlets may force people to use meters of electrical extension cords to accommodate all their machines and gadgets. Loose wiring is a tripping or fire hazard—and looks ugly to boot.
2. Outdated Building Facilities
Rattling water pipes, a sputtering HVAC, or faltering, inefficient lighting are not just inconvenient. Water leaks or mold growth could infest a building with dangerous organisms. You can’t do your best work in a too-cold or too-hot environment. For immune-compromised people, the situation may become downright dangerous.
Smart building systems are becoming cheaper and more accessible to small business owners. Wireless lighting systems, temperature controls, and building monitoring can save energy and bring comfort within workers’ reach.
Older security cameras can be hacked. Older access control methods like physical keys or magnetic swipe cards are quite easy to circumvent. A poorly secured office building can lead to theft, security breaches, and data loss. And, if you don’t feel safe, you won’t put in a few extra hours late at night to meet a deadline.
3. Outdated Hardware and Software
Older hardware can cause performance bottlenecks and severe frustration among employees. For example, printers and scanners might not work with brand-new laptops. And why are you still using a wired mouse and keyboard?
But if there’s a lot of older tech around, it can also point to an outdated company culture and mindset. For example, does a cumbersome fax machine still play a role in office communications? That implies that the company’s work processes and workflow are still optimized for the technology of yesteryear. There are easier and more productive ways to communicate. Workplace processes and procedures should reflect this.
4. Lack of Awareness of Cyber Criminality
Cybercrime attack figures are going through the roof, and every company is a target. Companies that don’t take the increased threat level seriously have fallen behind the times. Their day-to-day cyber hygiene practices don’t reflect the seriousness of the threat.
For example, outdated software or hardware may have known vulnerabilities. Attackers can exploit them. Another example is when a company does not use up-to-date security software for all their devices. Choosing a VPN and a reputable antivirus software is crucial for ensuring that your internet connection and communication channels are encrypted and secure.
Significant data breaches happen regularly. The cause is often poor passwords and cyber practices, like a lack of encryption that makes it easy to steal login details. For example, smart buildings and smart gadgets must be connected to a VPN server to prevent attackers from entering the network. Remember, hackers could even use a coffee machine, fridge, or security camera to get in.
Additionally, many people still work on public WiFi on unsecured connections. Some don’t even secure their home networks. They suffer from a false sense of safety in their homes. What will stop the teenager next door from tapping into your network to download or watch movies on your dime?
Companies that still do not encrypt all their internet connections and communication channels with a VPN are dangerously outdated. Additionally, employees should have mandatory security training. This training will help protect them from phishing attacks and scams.
5. Outdated Furniture
Wobbly chairs with broken castors have become a cliché to depict outdated, run-down offices. However, it’s not just about appearance. Functionality also plays a crucial role. Even if a chair looks good, it should offer sufficient comfort and support for your back and arms. Ergonomic furniture is specifically designed to support the body and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
High-quality office furniture may cost more. However, it’s a worthwhile investment for even smaller companies aiming to stay ahead of the pack. Ergonomic furniture pays for itself due to its enhanced comfort and increased productivity.
But if the company’s budget doesn’t stretch to new furniture, they can start with minor improvements. Practical accessories like monitor arms, laptop stands, additional screens, and desk organizers can improve workspace ergonomics without spending much.
6. Brand Cringe
Do you cringe when you see your company’s poorly designed website or old-fashioned logo and fonts? Visual inconsistency, such as mismatched colors, fonts, and design elements, can make a brand look unprofessional. Logos are symbolic representations of a brand. A poorly designed, clip-art-like logo can be a major source of brand cringe.
A website that is difficult to navigate or poorly organized can bring on the brand cringe and leave visitors unsatisfied. They may question the company’s reliability. Users expect an intuitive and user-friendly experience. A poorly designed website creates the impression that the company needs to catch up.
7. Lack of Flexible Work Options
Does your company only offer traditional work hours and rigid schedules? Most employees are just as effective and productive when working from home. Still, a company’s genuine operational needs come first, and working from an office may be an unavoidable part of your industry.
However, modern companies have far more respect for their employees’ need for flexibility and autonomy. They know it generally improves employee retention rates and increases productivity levels. If a company doesn’t even consider some leniency towards a hybrid work style, it could be a sign that they’re falling behind. An inflexible attitude could be a deal breaker for some workers.
Some Final Thoughts
Working online has exposed people to a faster pace of change. It has made shopping and socializing easier and led to lifestyle improvements. It has also increased awareness of technology’s impact on modern life.
As a result, people are becoming more discerning about their workplace expectations. An outdated workplace can significantly impact employee productivity, engagement, and satisfaction. A modern workplace, on the other hand, can give your company a competitive edge. Companies that keep up with newer trends will have an advantage over their old-fashioned peers.