Studies have shown time and again how office design can impact on staff morale which, in turn, can affect a company’s bottom line. The correlation is as simple as that. Whether it’s the colour of the walls, the amount of private space an individual has or even whether the seat cushions are thick enough – it can all make its mark on the company’s profit margins.
Workplace benchmarking company Leesman carried out an office culture study earlier this year in which less than 50 per cent of UK workers said they felt their workplaces enabled them to work productively. Another survey, co-commissioned two years ago by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) showed that only 24 per cent of workers felt the office environment led to job satisfaction – compared to 91 per cent of managers who insisted it directly affected staff performance.
However, creating a work environment isn’t as simple as adding a few glass meeting rooms here and there or scattering meditation pods around. Nor does it mean adding in a Google-type slide. That’s because office design has to be tailored to the culture of the organisation and the industry in which it’s based. A slide may be appropriate for an innovative start-up IT company full of millennials, for instance, but it wouldn’t go down well in a more sombre corporate law firm where generations of the same family have handled a senior role.
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At their HQ in Rotterdam international accountancy firm PwC found during their office refurbishment that opening up their offices and mixing different departments led to staff working together better and much improved inter-team working. Better still, creating a more modern and inspiring environment meant they could attract a better calibre of younger employee (the average age of staff at the time was just 32 years old).
When a company cares enough about its employees to create a chill out space for them, it gets rewarded in turn by its profits being boosted. At least that’s what Michael Rennie, partner at American management consultancy McKinsey & Co believes. That’s because he believes allowing an employee to de-stress means they can focus better at work. And we tend to agree.
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