If you build it, they will come… and more importantly, stay. In an ever-changing business world, there is more emphasis on creating functional and health conscious workspaces than possibly ever before. Private offices and cubicles are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Millennials entering the work place are looking for workspaces that offer flexibility, natural light, attractive and contemporary pieces and the ability to collaborate with co-workers with ease. Pew Research reports with one-in-three American workers today are millennials. With this in mind, many employers are seeing the importance of evolving their offices because of the major impact that workspace has on employee attraction and retention.
An important factor when considering redesigning your office is what works for you and your work function. What are your business’ needs, day-to-day? Many companies are designing spaces with open cube systems or side by side work spaces, allowing for easy communication and teamwork. With an increase in paperless systems in the workplace, employers can focus less on creating file storage and more on table and desk space. Conference rooms remain an important element in most businesses. Creating a conference space suitable for clients and for team collaboration is becoming increasingly popular. Consider a large HD screen for presentations and screen sharing or writable walls for team brainstorming.
The “new” workplace also puts a large emphasis on comfort and work-life balance. Work hours are changing, with people working earlier shifts, later shifts or even a split of time between offsite and in-office time. This trend of steering away from the traditional “8 to 5” is derived from employers putting a conscious effort into the comfort of their employees and creating an environment that allows employees to work to the best of their ability. Part of that conscious effort is creating a work space with amenities focused on comfort. Consider adding lounge areas for team meetings, space for recreation, such as a yoga area or ping pong table or even a coffee house type room. Studies show that creating a warm and inviting environment increases performance and results in employee satisfaction and retention.
The mental health and happiness of employees goes hand in hand with the physical health as well. Many companies are altering their offices to include office solutions concentrated on the physical well being of the people that work there. It is not uncommon to see a row of treadmill desks now in offices. The standup desk is increasingly popular, offering the option to sit or stand. Office chairs are no longer just office chairs. Consider asking employees what they need out of a chair, ensuring that they are comfortable.
Considering the needs and wants of employees will assist in deciding what layout and solutions work best for your business. Each workplace has different functions and needs, so no two are alike. By listening and responding to the needs of their staff, employers are creating a caring and appreciative environment. In turn, employees are working harder, becoming more creative and productive and staying longer because they feel cared for and are happy in their workplace.
Dan Khal is owner of Kahl Commercial Interiors