Maslow’s Hierarchy of (office) needs
When psychologist Abraham Maslow outlined his ‘hierarchy of needs’ concept in 1954, the world was a very different place. Certainly the world of work.
Maslow, as you may know, proposed that people are motivated by five fundamental types of need: physiological (shelter, food, sleep etc), safety, belonging/love, esteem and self-actualisation.
He framed these needs as a pyramid to reflect the fact that we have to meet physiological needs before trying to satisfy an increasingly complex set of psychological needs.
But what has made his theory so enduring is his revelation that self-actualisation should be at the top.
Maslow defined self-actualisation as a desire for fulfilment through personal growth and discovery.
This was thrilling new stuff at the time. Before Maslow, hardly anyone had heard of self-actualisation. The truth is, very few could hope to achieve it in the stratified workplace of the 1950s.
Today, far more of us can. And communications technology is a big part of that.
Thanks to tech, today’s employees have more freedom and agency than ever before. They can work where they want and when they want. Also, as technology and automation take on more of the drudge work, they can focus on more creative tasks.
There’s an obvious message here.
If you are aiming at self-actualisation in your workplace, you’d better get your IT right.
More than that. When you’re setting up a new office and you want to attract the best people and keep them for longer, start by making sure they have the tools to work in a way that suits them and their role.
All your people’s basic workplace needs – heating, kitchen, toilets, chairs – can be met with minimal fuss. Same goes for security and even engendering a sense of belonging.
It’s the self-actualisation bit that you should be spending most time on. Of course, this isn’t just an IT issue. But you can get ahead of the rest by thinking about how to embed communications technology inside your workflows right from the off.
Here’s one small example. It’s now possible to put intelligence inside your systems so that when a prospect calls the office, her call will be recognised and routed to the correct salesperson. The latter will have all the information about the caller on the screen when the call is put through.
Outcome? The caller gets a better experience. Meanwhile, the rep is more likely to feel in control of the situation and close the deal.
At Formation, we think this is tremendously important.
It’s why we say: flip the triangle!
For most relocating enterprises, tech comes last and tech budgets are decided after everything else (the more visual stuff). Asking the CTO on an early site visit is often an after thought to a new office location.
This is all wrong.
Technology influences how people work, and how they use space. So you should factor in your IT set-up right from the start as it will provide you with opportunities to design even better spaces.
In fact, we believe in this so much, we have created a new kind of benchmark, the Smart Work Index. How often do you ask your people about their tech habits, wants and desires and find out what can be done to help increase their performance around the office? As part of our Smart Work services, we do just this. We help you understand what is working and what isn’t working for your teams, we analyse the results and help devise a technology road-map tailored to your business.