The average UK employee spends 37 hours a week at work and with job roles occupying such a large chunk of our time, feeling comfortable while working has never been more important.
Some companies go to extreme lengths to put employee satisfaction at the heart of their workplace design. For instance, tech titan Microsoft invested in treehouses for its employees, claiming the proximity to nature is proven to boost workforce creativity.
For most industries though, this kind of re-design (while imaginative) isn’t the best solution. In fact, for many businesses, it’s more practical and cost-effective to relocate offices completely.
On the surface, this might sound daunting but, armed with the right knowledge a change of scenery doesn’t have to be stressful and could be a step towards enhanced employee happiness and productivity.
A balancing act
By 2025, millennials will take pole position as the workforce majority and they’re looking for something different from the workplace than their predecessors.
Many Millennials are less motivated by money and more inspired by a positive working culture. Therefore, it’s essential companies begin adapting office spaces to cater to these mindsets, as well as more traditional expectations if they want to retain some of the best and brightest.
Google invested in lavish office features like secret libraries and even slides to foster its dynamic work culture. The rationale behind this being good interpersonal relationships are key to driving creativity.
However, even without Google’s infinite resources, there are steps you can take to create a vibrant office culture too.
A designated space for recreation can help employees feel more invested in the company because it demonstrates you care about work-life balance. This can be as simple as setting up a pool table or games room which acts as a focal point to spark conversation and foster a sense of community.
Food also plays a part in creating a more balanced routine too. Workplace hubs offering diverse and tempting refreshments give colleagues the chance to communicate and foster closer bonds while providing them with a designated space to recharge and eat lunch away from their computer screens.
Bringing your brand to life
An office relocation is a perfect opportunity for companies to breathe new life into their brand identity. First impressions are lasting, so it’s important your new workplace conveys what makes your business unique.
Consider how you would define your office culture. If your company’s identity is more laidback and relaxed, investing in homely additions like sofas and bookshelves are a simple way to get this message across. If you want to present something more corporate, a feature like glass walls could reflect your company’s honest and transparent nature.
If your taste isn’t quite as avant-garde, one simple but effective way to portray a community spirit is to invest in greenery. You can take inspiration from the New York office of Kickstarter, which has a flowering enclosure and communal garden to underscore its creative and relaxed identity.
Whatever your brand’s aesthetic, an office relocation can give you the freedom and incentive to think about the values your brand communicates.
Sizing it up
One important factor to consider when planning your relocation is, of course, the size of your new office. If you’re moving into bigger premises, you need to think about how you can retain the closeness built up between colleagues in your previous workplace.
There’s evidence to suggest open-plan offices can actually have practical health benefits. An open work culture also helps promote better communications and establish better team dynamics. Ensuring your space is collaborative, no matter what its size, can help to bring out the best in team members.
If you want to encourage better team bonding, think about how you can allocate space for your employees to exchange ideas. Informal seating areas where teams can discuss projects, as well as implementing all-staff huddles are a cost-effective way to keep employees engaged and informed.
It’s well known there is now lots of research which suggests flexible working can have a positive impact on productivity.
However, flexible working isn’t simply about the hours you log outside an office environment. It’s thought that a more ‘agile’ mindset gives employees greater autonomy over their work, as well as improving cross-collaboration.
An agile work environment can include designated spaces for team meetings, relaxation, and even inspiration. For instance, Salesforce designates time and space for regular meditation sessions to boost workplace wellbeing.
Even if this isn’t practical for your business, there are simple ways you can adopt workplace flexibility. Rather than opt for the traditional set-up of individual desks, you could consider shared workspaces, ‘hot-desking’ or even touchdown points to show your workplace is moving with the times.
Embarking on something new like office relocation can feel like a challenge. However, if you want to get the most out of moving premises, it’s important to treat workplace design not as an afterthought, but as a major tool to support future business success.
About the author: Rachel Whitford, is the Area Retail Manager – City of London, of Express Vending.