Rethinking Your Office Workspace

In a number of articles we’ve been looking at surveys which gauge the mood of businesses and reflect back what office staff and business owners are looking for in terms of office refurbishment, office workspace and layout and overall workplace ambience.

Surveys are a great way to ask your clients what they are looking for or how they are impacted by a product, service or in these cases their workplace. Given that we spend more than half our waking life in the office its little wonder that businesses are now looking closely at how the workspace impacts their staff, their business and their bottom line. It’s also important to note how working practices have changed and how the workplace must evolve as keep pace with these changes as they happen.

Evolving Office Workspace

In line with meeting 21st century needs and how work spaces and how we work is evolving an article called The Office Renaissance has been published by Steelcase. This article found that “People are rejecting the uninspiring sea of sameness that has come to be known as “the office.” Standardised for efficiency, this uniform approach limits potential for inspiration, expression and social connection with others. This office rebellion is causing organisations to rethink their workplaces — from a singular focus on efficiency toward a pluralistic approach that enriches the emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing of people.”

Despite the fact that with ever evolving technologies such as ubiquitous Wi-Fi, smart phones and tablets the prediction that the “standard” workplace would disappear to be replaced by a mobile “work at home or on the move” workforce the office hasn’t gone away instead “it’s evolving into something fundamentally different.”

People need social interaction. It’s how we’re wired. Working remotely may be convenient BUT staff are always going to come back to their workplace. In fact, a report by Gallup found that people who worked remotely 20% of the time or less were the most engaged however higher levels of remote work (greater than 20%) correlates with higher levels of disengagement.

A New Way of Working Required?

Engage Your Staff

Apart from “disengagement” from working remotely further studies have shown that where workers are not happy with their work environment they are also likely to be the least enthusiastic or engaged with their work. Clearly the workplace has a large influence on how workers feel when they come to work and this can affect their motivation and creativity. A study by Steelcase and IPOS cites a “lack of control over where and how they work” as the cause of this disengagement.

As we’ve discussed in previous articles it has become more and more important to consider staff health and well-being within the office. From ensuring your office environment makes the best use of natural light and natural materials to incorporating colour and incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature, to allowing staff to move around, to providing break away areas where they can take a break, recharge and come back feeling energised it’s important your staff want to come to work and feel “at home” in their workspace which in turn leads to staff engagement.

Collaborative Office Workspace

There is a move within many businesses towards collaborative working. In these situations the usual one desk per staff member just won’t work. Office refurbishments are now incorporating work areas, over and above the standard meeting rooms, where teams can come together to brainstorm and be creative.

Workplaces need multi-purpose areas which can provide the much needed space where creative collaboration is a priority as discussed in one of our articles, “Make your office a true London office”.

Retaining Staff

So you’ve employed your staff but how do you keep them?

The process of advertising, interviewing can be long and drawn out when you’re looking for the right person for the job. The last thing you want is to find the right person and then lose them because they are unhappy with their office workspace.

There are a number of companies who are known for having office space that inspires. One such company that stands out is Google. In 2014 Forbes reported that more than 2 million people applied to work at Google  and in 2011, ranked Google No. 1 as the “Happiest Company in America” after surveying more than 100,000 workers across 10,000 companies. The study looked at work-life balance, relationships with bosses and co-workers, compensation, growth opportunities, a company’s culture and the opportunity for employees to exert control over the daily work flow.

Google has worked hard to provide a work culture that attracts staff and retains it. There are lots of reasons for this. One of the major ones is creating a workspace that staff love to work in. Google’s London Soho office space focusses on ‘comfort, relaxation and efficiency, made up of a balance of desks, meeting chairs and ‘collaboration seats’. Making it easy for Google staff to work alone or to meet and discuss projects with colleagues in an environment designed to inspire.’

Attracting and retaining staff will start with your office space. First impressions play a major role for interview candidates as much as for companies. What your business space looks like and the office atmosphere will play a major part in whether interviewees can see themselves working for you if they’re offered a job.

Just like interviewees the same can be said for clients. If they like what they see, then you’re much more likely to sign them up.

With more than 25 years’ experience in office workspace refurbishment JBH Refurbishments are your ideal office refurbishment partner. Call us on 0333 207 0339 or send us a message via our contact form.

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