A recent survey has found that, while a wage increase can be a factor in employee satisfaction, the office environment plays a big part in keeping teams happy, motivated and engaged.
What would make you happier at work? That was the question Engaging Works set out to answer in a survey of office workers. The highest response was higher pay but, perhaps surprisingly, only 36 per cent of people put it in their top three.
The other top factors revealed by the survey, as reported in The Telegraph, were personal development (20 per cent), better communication between workers and management (17 per cent), and improvements to the working environment (17 per cent).
The good news is that enhancing your office contributes to the other factors too, as we’ve found in designing workspaces for companies in Bristol and the South West.
Here’s how a better-designed office contributes to employee happiness:
Development is part of the wider issue of staff welfare, and some of the companies we’ve worked with have gone the extra mile and created their own gyms. But even if that’s not practical, adding bike storage and changing facilities so that staff can cycle in, or go for a run at lunchtime, makes a big difference.
Also, anything you can do to take staff away from their desks during breaks is worthwhile. Think sofas, computer games, table tennis and table football. The modern concept of work breaks is so important that some companies now devote half of their floor space to gaming areas.
Communication with management
Meetings are key to effective communication, which is why it’s common for large companies to hold ‘town hall’-style gatherings once a month. But what if you don’t have room for a large meeting space?
One solution that’s popular with a lot of companies we work with is to have several smaller meetings room with collapsible walls. Removing the walls temporarily opens up a much larger shared space for a big meeting. An alternative is to create a dual-purpose breakout area that can also be used for meetings large and small.
Improvements to the working environment
In the Engaging Works survey, staff cited breakout spaces, quiet zones and dining areas as examples of important office improvements - particularly amongst millennials.
One of the hot trends is for collaboration areas where staff can sit on benches at long tables - these really help to drive interaction. Another popular furniture item is high tables where people can perch for quick meetings or to share ideas.
It’s important that space is multifunctional. Kitchens are now places where people like to spend a bit of time (instead of enclosed rooms smelling of last night’s curry!).
Asking staff what they’d like to see is, of course, a must before you make any changes. Mark Price - the creator of Engaging Works - did just that. He asked staff for feedback when he was the managing director of Waitrose.
Waitrose employees asked for - and received - more equipment and more storage space as a result. In workplaces where space is at a premium, we often suggest storage walls. These clever units are cupboards built over a whole wall and can hold a large amount of useful stuff!
If you want to make your staff happier with an office fit out or refurbishment, talk to us about giving your workspace a refresh with our unique, bespoke designs.