Most employee retention strategies are focused on a company’s corporate culture, but what employers are not paying enough attention to is the physical space that they have provided their employees with.
Each detail of an office’s layout, from the comfort of the chairs to the layout of the cubicles, must be considered, as employees working there on a day-to-day basis will notice and appreciate every effort that has been made to make their work environment more comfortable and practical. The office configuration shows the employer is genuinely trying to enforce its culture, since office re-designs are often costly long-term endeavors.
Employee retention “is a function of the culture, but the culture, space, and fellow employees make up the ethos or spirit of the company,” says Max Chopovsky, founder of consulting firm Chicago Creative Space, “We highlight the importance of the space because it is equally important to the people and the culture at any given organization.”
“Employees tell us that the workplace community has influenced their decision to join an organization, to stay with one, and to commit themselves more to their work,” says Sally Davis, director at Penna Sanders & Sydney, and HR services group based in London.
There are many ways a company can benefit from a well-designed office environment, aside from just employee retention. A good design can elevate morale and improve productivity, promote the image and help reinforce a corporate identity.
Find out what employees want. The best way to determine what changes need to be made in the office, is to observe the employees operating in the workplace, and see what their struggles are, what they need.
Ergonomics is another matter to consider, as the work environment will effect the employees’ health and productivity. Employees should have comfortable places to sit and work, but they should not be sitting the whole day. Ideally, the work environment would permit them to stand and move about the office periodically throughout the day, to aid in blood flow, and concentration.
Even what seems like the “little touches” can make a big difference. For example: The material on your office chairs. The fabric chosen to upholster a chair is the most important part of the chair’s appearance and plays an important part in its visual appeal. After all, the upholstery is about 80% of the overall chair, so it is essential to choose your fabric color wisely.
Employees are used to boring-colored office chairs, in black, gray, and navy. They are also likely accustomed to scratchy, uncomfortable fabrics, that may be torn from everyday wear and tear. High-quality chairs will not only provide a more interesting appearance, but will also provide a greater level of comfort to your employees.
Employee retention is often a struggle in today’s workplace, but if an employer pays attention to his employees’ everyday needs, they will be happier and more satisfied, and more likely to stay with the company, rather than leaving to find greener pastures.