Global attitudes to work have shifted dramatically in the last few years. In the wake of pandemics, social rights issues and fears of a recession on the horizon, things have truly been put in perspective for many of us.
It’s clear then why the national and global workforce are speaking up more and more about what they want to see from their employers. The best businesses up and down the country are making adjustments to their office space planning to ensure they are providing for their workforce’s growing needs and ensuring they can thrive in this new world of work behaviours.
So what do employees want from their office space? What accommodations can be made to make office working fit around today’s workforce?
In truth, these changes don’t have to be drastic. In most cases, a shift in expectations and alterations to existing office spaces can pave the way for a more fulfilled workforce. In this post, we’ve identified four key things that are important to employees that they want from office spaces…
During the COVID-19 pandemic, over half of remote workers demonstrated concern about the health and safety issues of being in a shared environment. Whilst we can thankfully say that the pandemic is over, concerns around physical health in the workplace are more prevalent than ever.
Your office space should look after your employee’s physical health and wellbeing. Let’s be clear, this is about more than hand sanitizers and reminders to wash your hands – everything about your office space planning process should consider the wellbeing of your employees.
Here are some important factors to creating a healthier work environment through proper office space planning:
Collaboration in the workplace has always been fundamental. However, those that have been working from home more frequently in the past few years, often cite they are craving that in-person teamwork element – which cannot be replicated when at home.
With 58% of employees seeking hybrid working patterns, it’s clear that the power of collaboration and socialisation remains vital to the current workforce. Video meeting software such as Zoom and Teams has seen a monumental rise in active users since the pandemic, however, the virtual solutions haven’t quite filled the gap.
The ability to collaborate in person will likely be the selling point of your office for employees who have become accustomed to remote working. For this to work you not only need to have meeting spaces in your office – ensure that the office layout facilitates your teams working with one another, this can be achieved by placing teams near one another based on inter-dependencies or creating communal spaces that are comfortable and modern such as staff rooms and kitchens.
By investing the time to understand exactly what your employees need, you can make sure to deliver it. For example, whilst your board members and management teams may need large meeting tables for everyone to gather at, your wider workforce may prefer informal cosy environments where small groups can work in a relaxed setting.
The key to developing a great space for collaboration starts with developing a solid understanding of how your employees work best.
This might appear to contradict the previous point, but in truth, the best offices accommodate both ends of the spectrum. The ideal office provides workers with collaborative spaces as well as areas where they can go to focus or work in isolation.
Whilst working from home many of us have discovered the impact of fewer distractions, with more time alone having a positive effect on output and productivity. This led to many employees feeling more productive and focused on their work.
Listening to your workers here is essential. To encourage office working, develop a space that provides them with the same level of focus they can achieve at home when necessary.
A great way to approach this is to have other spaces around the office that employees can use to work at besides their main desk where there may be conversations, emails and calls coming in frequently.
Pods, workbenches, private offices and seating areas are all great options for focused work areas – but as with your collaborative spaces, you need to find the solution that will work best for your employees and office culture.
You may be surprised how many workers today are craving the combination of home and office working. In fact, a staggering 30% of remote workers reported experiencing burnout during the pandemic since there was little separation between work and home life. By incorporating spaces to focus within your office you can provide the same productive environment that workers crave while creating boundaries that have positive effects on mental health.
While there have been drawbacks to working from home, there have been undeniable benefits for many employees including reduced commuting costs, more time with their families and the ability to work more flexible hours.
The two most named benefits of working from home is flexible scheduling and saving time on commuting.
Accounting for flexibility in your office space planning will help your workforce feel heard and comfortable. Small changes such as installing bicycle racks for those that dislike commuting on public transport can be the difference between retaining or losing a worker in the long-term.
Nearly half of remote workers are concerned that office working results in less flexibility and multiple surveys have even found that employees would consider leaving their jobs if flexible working was completely taken off the table.
The majority of employees would like to work part-time in the office with the ability to work remotely as and when they want or need to. This means that your office not only has to work well for those who are in the space, but also for those who are not.
Think about how you can maintain the collaborative atmosphere with employees working remotely – are your meeting rooms set up to accommodate remote and in-person workers with the right tech set up?
Flexibility means more than remote or in-person working. One of the biggest benefits reported has been that employees can work different hours to their peers without causing disruptions.
During your office space planning, consider how your office space works for those who may keep different hours to most – is the kitchen next to the main working area making it loud and disruptive for those who work during the lunch hour? Is the lighting suitable for long work periods in the evenings or winter months when there is less natural light coming in through windows?
Your office won’t work for flexible workers if they feel like the space hasn’t been designed with them in mind.
Along this same vein, the workstations you create should accommodate flexible workers. For some, a permanent designated desk can make them feel pressured to come into the office more frequently than they’d like whereas hot desks still provide them with a workstation but without the strings attached. In contrast, a hot desk that does not have the right tech set up to support a frictionless operation will create frustration and deter flexible workers from utilising the office.
Ultimately, providing an office space that truly accommodates your employees is all about knowing what your employees want and need from a day at work.
The solution? Partner with a design and fit out contractor who specialises in creating spaces that work for the entire team not just the select few.
At Resolution Interiors, we specialise in bringing your vision to life through interior fit-outs and refurbishments of new and existing sites, as well as relocations. We work with you to create a bespoke environment that delivers for customers, employees and shareholders alike.
Alternatively, why not give us a ring on +44 (0)1935 422 700. We look forward to hearing from you.