International architectural and design consultancy group Gensler found that poor workplace design can cost organizations billions of dollars in lost productivity. It can also impact your ability – or lack thereof, to be precise – to attract, develop and keep A-grade talent.
Your organization’s culture should be reflected in the design of its workspace, says Michael Stewart of idesigni.co.uk: “Your office is essentially a shop window when clients, potential employees or guests visit… You should make a conscious effort to determine what [your workspace design] says about you, your employees, your company and your brand.”
Today and tomorrow’s offices must also consider the varying needs of Generations X, Y, Z and Baby Boomers. A multi-generational workplace requires flexibility in managing the different communication requirements, and heat, light and noise levels of its people. In other words, a one-size-fits-all workplace is no longer valid – flexibility is the key.
Spend a few minutes auditing your organization against this basic checklist to see if your workplace is in good shape for attracting and keeping prized talent:
Flexibility – or what designers refer to as ‘activity-based workspaces’ – is an important element of your arsenal when it comes to attracting A-grade employees.
- Does your office provide a range of options – like standing desks, conference rooms for formal meetings, work nooks and casual discussion areas – to accommodate different work practices?
- Do you have the technological supports in place to allow people to work in different ways and different spaces, even remotely?
- Are your breakout areas attractive enough to coax people away from working at their desks?
Your workspace must facilitate those who thrive in a discussion-based environment, as well as employees that prefer quieter spaces.
- Have you introduced soundproofing tactics – like ceiling acoustics, fabrics and carpeting – to minimize noise distractions?
- What’s your policy on employees wearing noise-canceling headphones while at work?
- Does your overall space offer options to escape from communal work areas?
Health and Wellbeing
Workspaces that consider the health and wellbeing of their people are well-regarded by employees in this rush-rush pace contemporary climate. And it has been proven that one of the most important aspects of wellbeing is in connection with the outside world.
- Is there enough natural light in your office to help regulate the circadian rhythms of employees for better sleeping and waking cycles?
- Wherever there is artificial light, is it soothing – rather than harsh fluorescents – to calm nerves and facilitate better work function?
- Does your workspace have good air quality, and allow individuals to personal control the temperature and airflow in their zones?
This might sound obvious but it’s alarming how many workplaces overhauls neglect to consider the availability and accessibility of power outlets.
- Do you have enough power outlets to allow the myriad of devices used by all your employees to be recharged at once?
- Are these outlets located in different areas across your space to accommodate flexible work options?
- Do you have a ready supply of batteries and chargers for both Android and Apple products?
While some of the aforementioned points may rank low on your to-do list, it is worth rethinking priorities if you wish to attract and retain the kind of people that can take your business from good to excellent. If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above, address those particular issues and turn your office into the workplace of choice for A-grade talent in your industry.