In the past we’ve looked at the London office refurbishment of companies like Google, Amazon, Coca Cola, Lego, The BBC and Facebook, as “innovative” and which set the bar for other office refurbishments in London and beyond. Of course not many companies can aspire to the kinds of budgets these multi-million pound companies can afford. However it’s important to note that through research we know that office design and “company culture” (i.e. the personality of a company, including the work environment) can play a vital role in maximising productivity, in the attraction and retention of staff and subsequently the success of a business.
In previous articles called “Is Your London Or Kent Office Design Turning Job Seekers Away?” and “Is Your Kent or London Office Design, People Perfect?” we looked at a number of different surveys including those carried out by Furniture123, “The Next 250K” published in September 2017 by Leesman, HubSpot and YouGov that show that job seekers are turning down jobs if they don’t like a business’s office or working environment and many people already in jobs are finding that their office space is not conducive to productive working practices.
Mark Kelly, marketing manager at Furniture123, said: “The data shows that companies need to pay attention to much more than salaries and benefits, when trying to attract top talent. The average UK worker spends 8,060 hours a year at work, so it’s understandable that the environment can be a deal maker or breaker for many. Employers looking to attract the most talented staff in their field should keep this in mind when inviting candidates to interview.”
Tim Oldman, CEO and Co-Founder of Leesman explains: “Just 57% of employees globally can agree that their workplaces enable them to work productively. For a quarter of workplaces globally, the figure is less than 50%. Whilst this is not a direct measure of actual employee output, it is a measure of whether the physical and virtual environments provided by employers are fit for purpose, supporting employees to do the job they are employed to do.” Mr Oldman also went onto say: “The central findings of [the Next 250K study] should concentrate attentions on how real estate and workplace strategies can support business competitiveness, not by cost mitigation but through increasing employee engagement, loyalty and output.”
Another study by SHRM and Globoforce “Using Recognition and Other Workplace Efforts to Engage Employees” carried out in January of last year found that of 738 HR professionals surveyed the following cited their top workforce challenges as:
- Retention/turnover (47%); nearly a twofold increase since 2012
- Recruitment (36%)
- Culture management (34%).
In a further report by SHRM and Globoforce Mark Schmit, Executive Director of the SHRM Foundation explains: “Research has shown that creating a more human, caring workplace ultimately leads to improved customer service, better health outcomes and all-around satisfaction. A more human workplace is one that promotes people’s strengths and capabilities, leading to the high levels of engagement, productivity and retention businesses need.”
It’s clear that potential and current employees are putting more emphasis on being able to work in a well designed and refurbished working environment. They want to be able to come to work and feel that their company cares about them and that it has put the time, energy and resources into providing them with a workspace that allows them to work efficiently and effectively while at the same time enables and encourages them to take time away from their desks in spaces specifically designed for downtime.
Having a strong well-defined company culture and a more caring workplace environment should be a top priority for all companies, whether they’re big or small. Getting this right impacts a company’s ability to attract and retain staff and get the best return on their investment. We know that people respond positively when they feel valued and cared for.
Your Modern Kent or London Office Refurbishment
So what can businesses do to ensure they are giving themselves the best chance to attract and retain the best staff? One way to do this is through a modern office refurbishment.
What do we mean by modern office refurbishment? By this we mean that your office design should be specifically tailored to meet the needs of your business and its functions, within the workspace available to you, using modern standards. It should incorporate, where possible, principles such as community, flexibility and health and wellbeing. It should align as closely as possible with your company culture, vision and values. By doing this you can reap the benefits that a modern office can afford you.
Even where a complete redesign of an office space isn’t an option some changes can be made to incorporate modern office design elements into an existing office setup. Refurbishment work can even be done incrementally if planned well.
Rethinking Your Kent or London Workplace Design
So we know that having a modern office workspace can play an important part in productivity and staff recruitment and retention but what makes a modern office? Here are a few ideas to consider:
When it comes to layout flexibility is key.
Advances in technology allow staff to move around the office, and to work on the move, allowing in many cases to do away with a fixed desk location.
By incorporating technology with collaboration spaces, as well as traditional office space (when it’s required e.g. for privacy or conventional meeting rooms) office design can build in the flexibility that is required in a modern workspace.
The modern office should also look for opportunities to build in space for health and well-being. This could potentially be through recreational amenities such as a gym, table tennis or snooker tables alongside more general break out areas where staff can “get away from their desks” to de-stress and take a break from work.
This is a subject we’ve touched upon in a number of articles. Natural light is extremely important to health and well-being. Research has shown that light can have a real impact on our health and well-being in a number of ways.
The Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK) estimates that 1 million working hours are lost each year due to seasonal affective (SAD), or winter depression.
Dr Laura Davidson says “Employers and educational establishments need to take on board just how important natural light is to good mental health. They have a responsibility to ensure that work and study environments have sufficient windows to flood the building with as much natural light as possible”.
A paper called “The importance of light to health and well-being” talks about how “Research has shown that the variation of light is by far the most important factor in setting and maintaining our natural daily rhythm, the so-called circadian rhythm. Preliminary evidence suggests that low light-exposure is associated with diminished health and well-being and can lead to a lack of energy, depression, and sleep issues.”
It’s therefore important to utilise as much natural light as possible in any office design and where natural light is not available to make sure other lighting is incorporated into the design.
Sound and Acoustics
Office noise levels can play a major role in office productivity. A number of studies have shown that “noise is the single most disturbing factor” and “that disturbing noise in an open plan office environment can ultimately lead to decreased productivity, increased stress levels, lower employee morale, increased absenteeism and overall increased staff turnover!”
Ceilings, walls and flooring can be used in various ways to help reduce noise while separating office activities which are noisier from quieter activities will also help to greatly improve office acoustics.
Benefits of a Modern Kent or London Office Refurbishment
We’ve looked at three key areas that can have an impact on modern office design but what benefits does a modern office refurbishment bring? Some of the many benefits are:
Make the Best Use of Available Space
Investment in a new Kent or London office refurbishment allows you to look at the workplace space available to you.. You may feel that the space you have isn’t being utilised to its full potential and you’re not getting the maximum value from it. You may have even been considering a move to new premises if your business is growing and you are running out of office space. If any of the above are the case then a modern office refurbishment could be the answer.
By working with an office refurbishment company who has experience and expertise in modern office refurbishment and who understands how to make the most of your office space you will be able to squeeze more value out of your existing space. A good office refurbishment company will also ensure that your new layout will align with your working practices and your business needs.
Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork
Depending on your business culture and working practices a modern office design can make it easier for staff to work together as well as to collaborate across departments. A modern office promotes agile working. The agile working guide for employers describes agile working as: “A way of working in which an organisation empowers its people to work where, when and how they choose – with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints – to optimise their performance and deliver “best in class” value and customer service. It uses communications and information technology to enable people to work in ways, which best suit their needs without the traditional limitations of where and when tasks must be performed. It is based on the concept that work is an activity we do, rather than a place we go. With the technology available to modern business, there are numerous tools to help us work in new and different ways, to meet customer needs, reduce costs, increase productivity and improve sustainability. Agile working is a transformational tool to allow organisations to work smarter by eliminating all barriers to working efficiently.”
Agile working enables more flexible working arrangements and encourages staff to break away from sitting at a fixed desk or workstation position.
Create a Good First Impression for Staff and Visitors
When it comes to first impressions you really do only get one chance.
A modern office can say a lot about you as a company, the culture you promote and the way you work. It can also help you give potential employees and site visitors, be they customers or vendors, the right first impression and potentially help you stand out from the crowd.
Given that many businesses have a great deal of competition your office refurbishment could be the one thing that gives you a competitive edge.
When staff are unhappy they tend to be less productive.
In a survey 600 UK-based employees were asked questions to gauge what they thought of their current working environment and whether they were “happy”. The results showed that around 66% of staff believe that their office environment is a very important factor in keeping them happy at work. 42% of staff said that their current office environment did not have a positive impact on their happiness and only 36% enjoy coming to work every day. 31% of people said they would be willing to sacrifice 1% or more of their salary for an office refurbishment and enhanced facilities! 66% of staff replied that they would be happy to spend more hours in the office if extra facilities were provided, 17% who filled in the survey said they would spend more than two hours extra per day! When your office design aligns with staff needs then staff are more likely to be happy and engaged and it then follows that productivity will improve/increase.
Boost Staff Morale
As we previously mentioned a modern office refurbishment can improve productivity which in part comes from boosting staff morale. So in effect boosting staff morale is an investment in your business which can also help to retain staff.
At the beginning of the article we mentioned that not many companies can aspire to the kinds of office design and refurbishment budgets multi-million pound companies can afford however businesses can incorporate “break out areas” which promote relaxation. Think snooker or ping-pong table or even just a small space furnished with a comfortable sofa or chairs where staff can move to when they need a break away from their computer – a place they can de-stress and unwind before returning to their work.
Given that we are spending more and more time at work a few minutes here and there of downtime helps to provide a better work/life balance and in turn happier and more engaged staff.
Improved Staff Health and Well-Being
Some stats: poor health in the workplace is estimated to cost companies in the UK over £100 billion annually through sick leave? Over 23 million days a year are lost to work-related ill-health? In London, a business with 250 employees is estimated to make a loss of around £250,000 annually due to sickness absence. Treating work-related stress also costs the NHS £300-£400 million per year.
Staff health and well-being has become more and more important over the past few years as employers recognise that staff are their most important business asset. Creating a modern office design which meets staff needs is one of the ways of promoting health and well-being.
Dame Carol Black, an adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health, England said “A healthy, engaged workforce with wellbeing is good for business and boosts the bottom line (increasing evidence in many countries).”
There many ways that a modern office refurbishment can enable a workplace to become more environmentally friendly and by taking a green approach, you can offset the investment with the savings you will make in the long term.
In general terms you’ll want your office to use less energy, reduce the amount of unnecessary waste created and incorporate direct or indirect elements of nature into your office design. Even small changes to heating/cooling, lighting and water usage can result in very insignificant savings for your company.
Get the Modern Office Design You Deserve
JBH Refurbishments have completed many modern Kent and London office refurbishment projects drawing on over 25 years experience in the office refurbishment industry. You can view a few of the many projects we have completed in the case studies section. You can also download some “Interior Design Ideas for your Commercial Refurbishment” brochure by signing up via the form on our home page.
For expert Kent or London office refurbishment contact JBH Refurbishments on 0333 207 0339 or via our contact form.