Guest Blog By Rachel Whitford, Area Retail Manager – City of London, Express
The average full-time UK employee spends 37 hours a week at work, so it’s important their surroundings are comfortable and provide a mix of both work and leisure spaces if you want to attract and retain top talent.
The media is full of stories of businesses offering innovative and creative spaces for employees at work. Some of the most well-known examples include Google’s famous nap pods and Microsoft’s treehouses, designed to boost innovation and give staff a place to re-energise.
For most companies, it’s not feasible to overhaul their existing office to make room for new a design, so relocation can provide the perfect opportunity to create a better working environment.
These are the office design considerations you should be aware of when making the big move.
Striking a balance
Working attitudes are changing and gone are the days when the majority of workers were once more motivated by money.
In fact, millennials are now looking for a great workplace ‘culture’ over financial perks and research suggests modern workers place more value on flexible working arrangements and a positive culture.
Therefore, businesses looking to not only attract the brightest young talent but also retain their highest-performing staff, need to meet these needs to help their staff to thrive.
A good first step is to show you care about your employees’ values, by promoting a company ethos which supports work-life balance. You can start by providing leisure spaces or breakout rooms for employees to unwind during lunch or on breaks.
Busy days may see workers skipping lunch or grabbing a quick and often unhealthy snack instead of a nutritious meal. Designate a place for employees to prepare and eat food, away from their desks, to place emphasis on the fact that it’s a break from work.
You can also influence healthy eating choices by adding a HUB stocked with nutritious options to your new office design, where employees can purchase food throughout the day. Self-service checkouts and 24/7 access are additional considerations that offer the flexibility desired by many of today’s workers.
Bring your brand to life
Office design isn’t only a good way to provide more tailored support towards employees. It’s also a great way to express brand values and can speak volumes about your company’s identity.
When you invite clients for a meeting, your office waiting areas and boardrooms may make up their first impression of your company. So, careful consideration should be given to every office design decision to ensure they consistently convey company values and personality.
Why not try certain aesthetics like clear glass walls throughout the office? This reflects transparency and demonstrates you’re not a company that keeps secrets or creates a disconnect between employees.
If your business is fuelled by creativity or is at the cutting edge of technology, then embrace it in your office design.
An inspiration board can be a whiteboard, cork board or simply a designated spot where employees can share with one another to increase collaboration and bring staff together for a common cause. You can also reflect your values with multi-functional walls that can be written on directly, or used as a designated area for Post-It notes.
One of the most common reasons for office relocation is upsizing. However, one of the struggles of what should be a positive step is losing closeness and visibility between staff.
If you plan carefully, though, you can design your office in a way that makes collaboration between teams just as efficient. Keep employees closer by avoiding cubicles. An open plan design makes communication between teams and colleagues much simpler.
There’s more to consider when it comes to dramatically upscaling your office space, too. For example; the impact of light is often underestimated but can drastically affect mood and productivity.
A larger room won’t benefit as much from natural light, so you need to consider how you’ll keep the office well lit. Some options could include; reducing shadows through overhead light fixtures, replacing older fluorescent options or introducing additional task lighting for those who may have poor eyesight and require a much higher type of light to work effectively.
Any office relocation should be done with future-proofing in mind and a key pull for many of today’s employees is flexible working. This can take many forms, but the idea is that businesses set employees up to work in whichever way best suits them and allows them to be most productive. This can range from working outside of conventional hours, from different locations and more.
Traditional offices haven’t always provided much flexibility. So, designing your new office space to support different ways of working will not only give you the edge over your competitors, it will also put you in a strong position to hold on to existing talent.
Consider how your office layout and furniture offer flexibility for your staff. Moveable furniture lets teams work in different ways – collaboratively or alone – creatively or traditionally. You could set your office up to accommodate hotdesking too, so staff can work from anywhere in the office.
If working from home is an option in your business, a cloud network provides employees with access to tools and files from any device, so they’ll be able to adopt working practices to fit their own preferences and workload.
Your office is more than a building, it’s the heart of your business. Use office design as a tool to extend your company values, keep staff engaged and support the different ways your staff like to work all year round.