We know that happy, engaged employees are more productive — they bring heightened energy to their work, inspire others and are motivated to do their best. As workplace environment and work-life balance are major contributors to employee morale, innovation districts are proof that work and play can exist in the same place (and even enhance it!).
Here are five ways innovation districts can boost morale in the workplace and promote a healthy work-life balance for employees within the community.
1. Contemporary Workplace Design Is Inspirational
Different employees succeed in different working environments, which is reflected in the shift from Office Space-style cubicles to the open-plan designs often found throughout innovation districts. Whether that’s coworking spaces or private suites, modern and well-designed spaces can inspire and promote innovation. Having a variety of workspaces to choose from helps workers flourish on any given day. The creativity-prone might benefit from open, collaborative areas where they can bounce ideas off coworkers, while introverts may appreciate spaces reserved for unwinding and recharging. Contemporary office design offers flexibility and a place to help every personality succeed.
2. Placemaking Makes for Places Employees Actually Want to Work
The neighborhoods surrounding workplaces are just as important as the spaces within them. Amenities like walking trails, bike paths, parks and safe sidewalks make for a pedestrian-friendly place that’s more widely accessible and encourages people to get outdoors throughout the work day.
Business variety and proximity are also important—forgetting your lunch isn’t so bad when you’ve got plenty of options for grabbing a bite. Feeling stymied? Walk to a coffee shop for a change of scenery and a fix of fresh air and caffeine. Blow off some steam in a workout class before calling it a day and heading home. Innovation districts bring together companies that complement each other for a live-work-play lifestyle. This balance makes coming and going to work something to enjoy.
3. Public Events Promote Wellness
Wellness plays a significant role in an employee’s ability to be present, optimize performance and produce new ideas. Many innovation districts have the infrastructure and resources to host health-focused events, including workouts, mindfulness seminars and cooking classes. Having these events easily accessible can improve individual employees’ well-being and make surrounding workplaces more enjoyable. Such public events encourage healthy habits while allowing community members to come together and reap physical, mental and social benefits.
4. Organic Interactions Lead to Unexpected Networking
What do inclusive workspaces, dynamic public spaces and community events have in common? The omnipresent possibility of rubbing shoulders with the right person. When people with similar interests come together, they’re more likely to run into someone who’s either been in their shoes before or is looking to connect with someone in those shoes.
While intentional, traditional networking will always have its place, sometimes serendipitous networking is equally as fruitful. Human interaction ignites new ideas, breakthroughs and relationships—and may be more impactful in some moments than others. Innovation districts enable those moments by allowing people to interact and collaborate organically, producing authentic relationships and networks outside of their corporate environments.
5. Developmental Programming Keeps Professionals Engaged
Research has shown lack of career development and advancement is one of the leading causes of employee turnover globally1. Motivated employees often have a sense of purpose through their work and don’t want to remain stagnant. Innovation district environments are a natural fit for attracting—and developing—such go-getters through professional programming.
Innovation districts are founded on forward-looking principles. Successful innovation districts provide opportunities to participate in programming that helps advance knowledge and skills, strengthen connections and build networks. This can be through accelerators, mentorship programs, specialized workshops, training sessions or industry-focused meetups. Programming allows professionals of any age—from students to CEOs—to invest in their education, development and future by engaging with others.
Boosting Employee Morale and Motivation as Part of an Innovation District
As ideas, organizations and companies grow, having the right resources to support them is key. A motivated workforce is a natural extension and benefit of being part of an innovation district. Accommodating work environments, positive social engagement and accessible public programming are just a few characteristics that help shape those driving groundbreaking research, discoveries and developments. As a result, innovative ideas and advancements can flourish.