As an employer, no matter where you are on your workplace journey, you can always make it an appealing place to be. If you have yet to open an office, or you are looking at revamping yours, here are some of the things that employees are looking for from office design. Not only is it good for employees to work in a space they like, they will thank you by doing great work that ultimately impacts your business’ bottom line.
Great office design encourages productivity, creativity and wellbeing. While these all impact one another – wellbeing impacts creativity which impacts productivity – there are some specific design recommendations that fall under the three pillars. Let’s take a look at how we can make a good office into a great one.
Some people get their best ideas alone; some from talking them through. Others get them surrounded by a buzzing workplace, some from quiet solitude. We need to allow for creative moments to happen in all kinds of spaces.
Zar Amrolia runs a fintech company in London that understands you don’t do your best work sitting in one place, so they designed an office with multiple rooms and varying layouts, decor and lighting. Some are open and filled with natural light for a buzzing atmosphere, while some are small and dark for moments of solitude. With a central cafe-bar and an outdoor terrace, people from different departments can cross paths and spark moments of creativity.
If you can offer people a space to be at their most creative, then you will start to attract the best talent.
Our environment has a bigger impact on our mental and physical wellness than we thought years ago. To promote a healthier workplace, at the very least we can provide a space that is well ventilated, with plants that clean the air and with natural light in most rooms. A 2014 study by Marlon Nieuwenhuis and a team of psychologists found that workers exposed to greenery and natural light were 15% more productive, compared to those with minimal contact.
Upgrade the space with a bright colour scheme, inspiring artworks and greenery. If you have an outside space, it doesn’t just have to be the smoking area. Try and spruce it up with nice seating, plants so people can work while they get some vitamin D.
Today we know that sitting is so bad for us, so let’s encourage a bit of activity by removing obstacles to it. Install showers and changing rooms to make it easier to cycle or run to work. Repurpose meeting rooms for yoga classes at lunchtime. Provide standing desks if people ask for them. Offer a corporate discount at the gym nearby. If we make it easy to be active, people will be healthy, which leads to better energy and focus at work. Oh, and let’s replace the sugary snacks with healthy ones – if employees really want some chocolate, they can always go for a walk outside to get it.
A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, but there are still more changes we can make to improve mental and emotional wellbeing. Try to reserve some spaces for quiet reflection, whether on a terrace in the open, or in a snug room with comfy seating. Some companies even offer “nap rooms” to help employees overcome the afternoon slump. David Radcliffe, VP of Google’s Real Estate & Workplace Services says: “No workplace is complete without a nap pod.”
People are more and more aware of how their environment affects their health and wellbeing. If you can show them a space that will keep them healthy, active and happy, they are far more likely to want to work for you.
Stimulating creativity and wellbeing ultimately leads to higher productivity, but there are still some small changes you can make to help things along.
We can improve communication between departments with community boards, either printed on the wall, or digital, highlighting ideas and achievements. Being creative is great, but sharing that creativity with colleagues can inspire them to do their best work too.
Remove distractions, and maintain office quality. Do we really need landline phones ringing all around the office anymore? Limit them to reception or redirect them to certain people’s mobile phones. Keep on top of maintenance. A flickering light, jammed printer or wobbly table are just some of the tiny annoyances that can build up and ruin people’s productivity.
Getting the basics fixed shows potential employees that you are serious about their working experience.
The pandemic has shown everyone that work can be done in more than one space. To get the best talent through the doors, employers need to offer a space that will remove all obstacles to progress, whether it’s to do with health or work. The best employees will be eager to do their best work, to advance and ultimately to bring you and your business along with them.