Psychological studies throughout the years have repeatedly shown that our environment plays a strong role in how we feel that, in turn, plays a strong role in how we perform. A well-designed office will not only raise employee productivity and boost communication, it can also reduce overhead and lower employee turnover. After all, part of our job satisfaction is directly linked to our working environment.
Example: Thomson Legal and Regulatory Group inSt. Paul,Minnesota
In the 1990s, Thompson Legal and Regulatory Group’s headquarters were typical of most legal tax and information firms: drab grey colours with just a splash of colour in wallpaper and carpeting. As far as layout was concerned, it was efficient, but that was about it. Then the company decided to undertake an office refurbishment: designing cubicles that balanced the need for privacy with the need to move into a team environment; adding soft seat areas that invite impromptu meetings and brainstorming sessions; and creating a “Main Street” to draw employees from the various departments together, into one centralised hub. The company even added a coffee hangout to their traditional cafeteria. Café.com gave employees a relaxed environment where they could conduct business. The results were highly satisfactory: employee satisfaction ratings improved and staff turnover fell from 13.9 per cent in 1999 to 7 per cent in 2001, resulting in a better bottom line for the company overall.
Office Design is Part of a Company’s Culture
Most businesses understand that every company has a culture and strive to make that culture a positive one. However, what many businesses fail to realise is the importance that environment plays in creating that positive work culture. Walking into a drab office area and working at an uncomfortable and/or impractical workstation makes work life unpleasant, as does the lack of basic employee amenities, such as coffee areas, etc. Making changes to these areas not only improves employee morale, it affects the bottom line. Happy employees are employees that are more productive. They are also more loyal to the company they work for.
Every Business Can Benefit from Design
Before you dismiss the idea of a better-designed office because 1) your company is small and cannot afford to invest in office re-design or 2) your company is industrial and therefore the concept is not “applicable”, consider the impact that even the smallest of changes can make. For instance, by adding an attractive soft seat area to an otherwise industrial space can improve communication. Re-designing cubicle or open space areas to be both conducive to work and comfortable for the employee can result in reduced absenteeism.
Reducing Staff Turnover Through Office Design
Through the years, repeated studies by universities, architectural design firms, human resource organisations, and others have shown the positive effects a well-designed office can have on employee productivity, retention, and loyalty. This, in turn, results in significant business savings over the long term. So before you dismiss the idea of office re-design, consider the bottom line. The investment may well be worth it.