Workplaces have evolved massively compared to the olden days when our parents were still young and sprightly.
We’re no longer confined within four walls and drab surroundings. If you take a longer look around you when you’re out and about, you’ll notice many people working outside now and this shift is becoming more apparent with the skyrocketing popularity of coworking spaces.
In Malaysia alone, we have countless coworking spaces: There’s WORQ, Colony, Common Ground, Co-labs, CO3—you name it, we probably have it.
Why are companies and their workers gravitating towards co-working spaces now? The reason (I believe) lies in the freedoms (yes, you read that right, multiple freedoms) they get at coworking spaces.
The cost of renting office space at a coworking space might be slightly pricier compared to your traditional office, but the freedom offered to your employees might be more significant. A happy employee will usually mean better productivity and increased productivity will usually mean your company gets more work done or gets more sales.
This got me thinking: Workspaces nowadays are also more tolerant or rather more accepting of our rights and freedoms as a person. But not everyone shares the same sentiment.
In my past experience, I’ve worked in an office that required a “uniform” (uniform in this instance just means a polo tee with long pants) and when doing my reviews, I had to avoid comparisons (so we didn’t anger brands).
Other than that, I was pretty much free to do other things. There were no strict schedules—I can turn up to work at 10:30 AM and leave work at 5 PM as long as I got some of my work done.
Personally, I value the freedom from a strict working schedule over having the freedom of expression. Curious about what other working individuals would want freedom in at the workplace, we decided to construct a survey to find out:
What freedoms matter to you the most, and the least?
Here’s a short description for each freedom (we know we might have missed some, but this is just our list of what we find important to have at a workplace):
1. Freedom of working schedule: You are not tied to a strict schedule, you are allowed to go in and out of your workplace whenever you like;
2. Freedom of privacy: The freedom to choose NOT to disclose personal information such as political beliefs, sexual identification, relationship status and etc. (any information that you define as personal);
3. Freedom of speech: You have the freedom to speak your mind without fear of being dismissed;
4. Freedom of expression: The freedom to express yourself at your workplace (tattoos, dyed hair, no strict attire and etc.);
5. Freedom of role/job scope: You are not just tied to a single role at your job and are allowed to expand your scope when necessary;
6. Freedom of personalisation: You have the freedom to add personal touches to your work and are allowed to customise your personal workplace.
At a time when conversations about workplace happiness are taking place more often, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what kind of workplace freedoms matter to you the most, and the least.