Today’s office dynamics have left a lot of companies with an identity crisis. Some companies have moved to a completely remote working environment—even large companies like 3M and Airbnb—while others face various hybrid or full in-person challenges.
What makes in-person work challenging for employers, apart from the internal cultural impacts, is that job candidates are flocking to the remote-only job openings while also moving out of cities to more isolated areas. The more workers embrace geographic distances, the less likely employers are to establish a healthy hybrid dynamic.
An updated office space design is one solution that is working for employers amid this shift in working dynamics. This post will cover ways employers can utilize their office layout to entice employees to be drawn into the office and thrive while there.
The Union of Design Elements With Ergonomic Principles
Whether you’re implementing an office buildout for a newly acquired office space or you’re curious about a remodel to your current space, the first step is understanding how integrating fundamental design elements can affect your working environment.
Workplace ergonomic principles are closely tied to lighting, acoustics, and general layout choices. How these elements affect the employee experience will take precedence in the designer’s approach. Here are a few examples:
- Natural lighting can have a positive influence on employee wellness. Even the dreariest office spaces can be transformed to allow more natural light, inspiring workers toward productivity simply by elevating their mood.
- Among the most common complaints in the modern workplace relate to noise and sound-related distractions. Your design should take this matter seriously, working with the science of sound to complement the workspace rather than working against it.
- Tied closely to the noise factor is privacy. Few things can disrupt a worker’s flow like a lack of privacy. Thoughtful designs consider spatial influences on the individual’s work as well as group work, enabling efficiency and limiting interruptions.
Overall, the more attention your new office design pays to these essential principles of the human experience, the more likely it is that employees will want to come into the office—and stay there.
Traditional or Open Office? The Answer May Be Neither
While both traditional and open office concepts have been around for decades, many employers still debate over which is better for their workers. When it comes to what works best, influential factors include industry type, production requirements, and company values.
The truth is that each case is different and requires a personalized approach that supports the human experience while enabling productivity. You may have a conference room remodeled into a shared space for brainstorming and socializing. At the same time, your designer may also incorporate private cubicles in quiet zones for individual work.
So, What About Workers Moving to Isolated Locations?
As briefly mentioned, one of the biggest challenges to employee retention is that employees are moving to areas of preference and subsequently prioritizing job opportunities that complement that choice (typically via full-remote companies). One solution Work Design Magazine suggests is that companies that can afford to set up additional satellite offices should do so. Though, the more isolated the employees’ location, the less practical this solution becomes.
What employers can also do, practically speaking, is to ensure that remote workers are taken care of by enabling in- and out-of-office workers to collaborate via virtual communications. In other words, office spaces should be set up in such a way that they encourage coworking between remote workers and in-person workers. This would not only improve internal communications but also support company culture as employees connect with one another more frequently.
Learn More From PureAlchemy Design
Our design philosophy is simple: each element should work together to transform an office space into a purposeful environment dedicated to elevating the human experience. A surefire way to entice employees to stay in the office is by developing a space that puts their needs first, and a happy employee is a productive employee.