Post-pandemic workers are re-evaluating what they want from a job. Many are leaving their current positions to find roles more aligned with their current wants and needs and, in many sectors, this is leading to a shortage of talent. In this blog post, we look at how your office can help you attract and retain talent during the Great Resignation.
First, a recap. You might have heard the term ‘Great Resignation’ being used in the media – but what do we mean by it? The term refers to the rise in the number of workers resigning from their jobs following the pandemic. It was coined in the US, but we’ve also seen rising resignations in the UK too. In fact, research from accountancy firm PwC suggests almost a fifth of UK workers have said they expect to leave their current job for a new employer in the next 12 months.
There’s been a fair bit of debate about why this is the case, but the consensus seems to be that employees’ priorities have shifted significantly over the last two years. This means that some staff are finding that their current role no longer gives them what they need. For some, this could mean finding a better paid role. Others might be motivated by a better work/life balance. For many, however, hybrid working is now an essential requirement of any job role. As Sarah Moore, people and organisation leader at PwC, put it: “Temporary solutions to business problems, such as hybrid working, have turned into employee preferences and expectations.”
As a result of the Great Resignation and emerging talent shortage, employers are taking a critical look at their recruitment and retention strategies. With hybrid working such a hot topic for staff right now, it’s no surprise that office design has become a key part of many businesses’ strategy.
But how do you design an office to stand out when competition for staff is so fierce? Here we share some of our top tips:
Lots of organisations are currently going through the process of deciding what they want their post-pandemic office to ‘look like’. Some are keen to get back into the office on a full-time basis. Others are trying to understand what hybrid working means for their business long-term.
The first thing to consider is that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to returning to the office. Each company will have different requirements depending on the nature of their business and other factors unique to them. However, with hybrid working so high on so many workers priority list, it’s important to take a critical look at whether hybrid working can work in your organisation.
We can all learn a lesson from Elon Musk who issued an ultimatum to Tesla’s employees calling for workers to come into the office or quit. While there may be legitimate reasons for asking staff to return to the office, these get lost in the rather… blunt delivery. Don’t forget to engage staff in meaningful discussions about returning to the office. If you’re not able to offer hybrid working be very clear about the reasons why. Sensitively setting out the expectations of your employees and listening to and addressing concerns could be the difference between workers staying or leaving their employment with you.
We’ve already mentioned above that all companies are wonderfully unique and, as a result, have their own wonderfully unique office culture. Company culture is one of the most important factors when it comes to employee engagement, happiness and retention. So, now’s the time to make your office building a true reflection of this culture.
Traditional office design was all about white walls and grey cubicles. But in a bid to stand out businesses are embracing colour, artwork and graphics more than ever before. However, office design isn’t just about what’s on your wall (although that can be fun!). Creating different environments for different ways of working can also make a statement about the type of organisation you are.
Want to increase collaboration? Get rid of fixed desks and bring in more casual seating. Want to create a calm space for reflection? Section off quiet spaces and invest in soundproofing. There are so many different ways you can design your office to put your culture front and centre. Take a look at our projects page for some inspiration.
The impact of the pandemic and the emerging cost of living crisis have highlighted the need to put employee health and wellbeing at the forefront of workplace design. If an employee can see that you genuinely care about their wellbeing, they are more likely to start – and stay – working for you.
We’ve all become more germ conscious over the last two years so clear protocols about how to safely return to the office can really help settle anxieties. Be open with staff about the steps you’ve taken to reduce risk and set out your expectations for them too. If you’re introducing any specific requirements, such as the need to wipe down keyboards/ phones etc. after use, make sure you communicate these clearly.
Particular design features can also support employee health and wellbeing. Inclusive office design that focuses much more on flexibility and choice can help individuals to feel cared for and at ease. Biophilic design has a number of wide-ranging health and wellbeing benefits that come from reconnecting with nature. And sometimes, just small changes in your office can make a big difference. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-positioned hand sanitiser or that non-bookable meeting room you can nip in to if you ‘just need a minute’.
If you’re ready to make your office stand out, get in touch. We’d love to work with you to help you attract and retain your very best people.