How to Keep Employees Motivated and Engaged With a Culture-Friendly Office Space
We’d love to hear about it if someone thinks they’ve finally come up with the very best office ever designed. So many things about offices have changed over the years that it’s clear we still haven’t found the most effective way to work. Most of those changes are driven by advancing technology and our responses to it, of course. But even the most carefully-planned spaces can still have serious unintended consequences. We have learned a few things from experience, though. There are some basic principles to follow if you want to use your office design to keep employee motivation high.
What Kind of Culture Do You Already Have?
The first thing to consider is the culture you already have, and whether it’s the kind of culture you want. If you are happy with your company’s current culture, tread carefully! Making drastic office changes could also drastically affect employee motivation.
Sometimes changes are unavoidable, though. If your company is growing, you will eventually outgrow your current space, whether it’s a suburban garage or twenty floors of a downtown skyscraper. Each employee can only handle so much work, so you have to have room for new hires.
If you don’t already have a well-defined culture, then designing a new office space is the perfect opportunity to establish one. Before you decide on the physical environment, though, the very first step should be to define your core company values. The office itself is just one of several components that affect your company’s culture, and you need to take the others into consideration simultaneously. The office space should amplify what’s already important to you and your team. If it doesn’t, you can only expect discord and frustration.
If you want an office space that expresses the culture you’re trying to build, think creatively about how your office space is both a home for your company culture, as well as a driver of it. Focusing on culture elements that your company values, such as visibility, sustainability, or even proximity to your customers, will encourage your team to do their best work, while building better relationships with one another and with customers. — Adam Fridman, “How to Use Your Workspace to Ignite Your Culture“
How Office Layout Style Affects Productivity
The past couple of decades have seen a major shift in office layout. The much-derided cubicle farms of the 1980’s and 90’s have given way to open-plan offices. In these spaces, barriers between workers are few, and corporate hierarchies are almost invisible. We’ve also seen the very helpful rise of co-working spaces geared towards startups.
While the open plan may sound liberating and fun, and indeed offers enormous flexibility, many companies are rapidly discovering that they come with unanticipated costs that far outweigh their touted benefits. In an office where everyone and anyone can walk up to anyone else at any moment while they’re working, productivity suffers.
Complex work that requires focus and flow is severely hindered by the constant interruptions and distractions that occur without some physical privacy. Open offices aren’t all horrible, though. They can be incredibly useful for newer employees who need to be able to watch and learn quickly, or for workers doing repetitive tasks who would die of boredom if they were isolated in a quiet space.
The key principle to follow when choosing an office layout is this: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Use a variety of different kinds of spaces based on the kinds of tasks each team specializes in. Give writers and coders room to think, but make sure they also bump into each other and have opportunities to collaborate when they need to.
We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us. — Winston Churchill
Materials and Environmental Considerations
Layout is probably the most important factor affecting worker productivity and focus, but there’s another element that perhaps ties in even more closely with your company’s values. That’s the question of what your office space is actually made of.
Up till now, enormous glass-walled air-conditioned skyscrapers have generally been seen as the pinnacle of prestige for working environments. There is an increasing realization, though, that these cathedrals of commerce may be less than ideal from an environmental and urban design standpoint.
More and more architects and designers are getting creative when it comes to combining human habitats with the natural environment. It’s a trend going back decades now to make sure that workers have access to natural light and fresh air. Plants, too, are enjoying greater consideration as integral parts of office and residential design.
the future may take things even further, with builders decreasing their reliance on artificial steel, glass, and concrete. It may soon become more common for buildings to be made of sustainable but robustly-assembled timber than any other material.
You’re most likely not designing a trophy skyscraper for your new headquarters. Even so, it’s easy to take these ideas into consideration with your space’s interior finishes. What fits your culture better: gray carpeting and plastic panels everywhere, or recycled wood and bricks, surrounded by relaxing water features and plants? Which style will foster more creativity, employee motivation, and engagement among the members of your team? The answer you choose will set the tone for your workers every day.
Technology Changes Everything
Some of the best ways to create a more environmentally-friendly work space involve more fully embracing modern technology. For some workers, there’s literally no reason to go into the office each day. Wherever telecommuting is possible, workers can simply work from home! The benefits of this are legion. Workers themselves can enjoy both a far greater work-life balance and substantial savings on transportation costs. Reducing commuting benefits the worker’s local community since they’ll be more likely to spend time and money close to home. This also cuts down on traffic and air pollution. All of these factors can have a strongly positive effect on employee motivation.
Modern tech also helps businesses save money. Workers can simply use their own internet connections. Documents and files can be stored in the cloud, rather than taking up physical storage space on paper. It’s possible that some day, dedicated office buildings will become a thing of the past. Communications technology now makes it as easy to collaborate virtually across continents and oceans as being in the same room. It’s not hard to envision that day coming within our lifetimes. Plan accordingly.
Employee Motivation Matters
Here at Boomsourcing, we know that there are few factors that help or hurt a company more than employee motivation and engagement. Company culture is one of our biggest priorities. That’s because we know that we do our best work when we’re happy where we work. Our clients appreciate that, too. Our top-notch service reflects this passion we have for being a great place to work. Contact us today to get that kind of engagement on your team, too!