Every employer wants to believe their office is an engaging and fulfilling place for their employees.
After all, it plays a big part in employee retention. But did you know just 13% of the workforce says they’re highly engaged and highly satisfied with their workplace?
Before you start blowing your budget on all-day happy hours and Puppy Tuesdays, think practical. There are plenty of ways your office design can make your employees happier and more productive.
Office Design Tips for Employee Engagement
When your employees are engaged in their environment, they’re more satisfied and more productive at the same time. It’s a win-win, and it’s easier to achieve than you think. Start with these top tips.
1. Think About Your Team Configuration
Let’s start with the big picture: your office layout. Think about how your employees spend most of their working time.
Do most people work on solitary tasks? Do they collaborate in teams? Maybe they need to work in pairs instead.
This should be the key factor in designing your office layout. It will tell you whether you should focus on individual desks or a more open plan like large tables.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employees for their input. They might be using more teamwork than you realize, and you don’t want to stifle it with cubicles.
2. Evaluate Office Furniture as an Asset Purchase
After you’ve done the heavy lifting of leasing office space and preparing for a move, office furniture seems like small peaches.
In truth, though, you need to give it serious consideration. You wouldn’t buy a company vehicle on a whim, so you shouldn’t do that with your furniture either.
There are plenty of office furniture tips to keep in mind. Take the time to weigh all your options. Get your employees’ input too, because they’re the ones who will use the furniture.
Above all, find adjustable pieces. A chair that’s comfortable for someone who’s five feet tall won’t be comfortable for their co-worker who’s six feet tall. Make sure your employees can make their chairs and other furniture fit their needs.
3. Keep It Natural
We’ve all had at least a few headaches from fluorescent lights. They’re harsh and many people associate them with an intimidating or unwelcoming environment. That’s the last type of atmosphere you want.
In your office, promote as much natural light as you can. That natural light helps employees feel a sense of fresh air instead of feeling caged and restricted.
When you do need to supplement with artificial light, steer clear of fluorescents. Choose lighting options that are mimic the tone of natural light. You want your lighting to spark energy and thoughtfulness.
4. Prioritize Closed Storage
Every business needs space to store items in their office, from files to office supplies. The way you store those items has an impact on your employees’ productivity.
Have you ever heard the saying, “A cluttered room equals a cluttered mind?” It’s true, and it’s hard for your employees to focus when they’re surrounded by stuff. No employee wants to fight to keep their attention on work all day.
Instead, store your items in enclosed spaces. Use your closet space. Install sliding doors in front of built-in shelves. The more clutter you can hide, the less clutter will be in your employees’ minds.
5. Brand Your Space
Your brand is more than a custom color scheme and a logo. It’s the embodiment of your company’s personality. You already know the importance of branding in marketing and advertising. In an ideal world, every action your employees take will align with that brand too.
To make that a reality, invest in branding for your office. Paint the walls with your company’s colors. Incorporate wall art that fits with your brand. It all works together to get your employees into the right mindset.
7. Design for Breaks
Let’s be honest: no one can function at their maximum productivity for eight hours straight. In fact, you don’t want your employees to push for that either. It’s a reliable recipe for burnout.
Encourage your employees to take breaks and design your office space to reflect this. Set up a break area with comfortable chairs and perhaps a game or two. To make it even more refreshing, designate it as a screen-free zone so employees can give their eyes a break.
Of course, there are limits to this. You don’t want employees spending five hours every day playing ping-pong. Set clear expectations for how much break time is appropriate.
8. Establish a Quiet Corner
As great as a collaborative workspace can be, sometimes you need to put your head down and get laser-focused on a solitary task. That can be hard when everyone else is chatting and brainstorming.
In your office design, create a space for that hyper-focused individual work. You might need closed-off spaces with individual desks. This also creates a great space for client phone calls away from the office chatter.
9. Go Green
While there are plenty of reasons an eco-friendly office benefits your business, that isn’t what we’re talking about.
Add some green into your office by bringing in a variety of potted plants. Make sure they’re live plants rather than fake ones.
This serves a few purposes. First, it improves air quality. Second, like natural light, it helps employees feel less isolated and caged. Allowing them to feel connected to the world outside the office can keep their brains more active and engaged.
There’s one caveat: research a plant’s maintenance needs before you buy it. The extra productivity won’t help if your employees have to spend hours each week caring for the plant.
Designing Your Office Around Your Employees
As a business owner, you want to get as much value as you can from your employees. Some employers mistakenly think that will happen if they stifle employee chatter and break time.
In reality, your employees need a balance to be productive and fulfilled. With the office design tips above you can get higher-quality work as well as longer-lasting employees. It’s a win for your wallet, your company’s reputation, and your employees too.
For more masterful tips on improving your business, check out our business tips blog.