Creating the Ideal Workplace for Employees
The space that your business calls its home — and where your employees often spend eight or more hours a day — plays a huge role in the happiness of those who make your company run and their ultimate productivity, but creating an ideal workplace isn’t always easy.
In some cases, the ideal is expensive or impractical, and you have to settle for a more realistic version. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t simple steps you can take to adapt your workplace to make it a better fit for what your business and employees need.
In past decades, workplaces fit a certain mold. There might have been cubicles for the general team, a few private offices for management, a meeting room and even a small kitchenette. They opened at 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. and were open until 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
But with the way the world has changed, businesses don’t run that same way — and the modern employee has different needs and wants from an ideal workplace. It’s important for business owners to know this because, as noted in a recent study by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association and the International Interior Design Association, good workspaces mean you’re more likely to nurture and retain good employees. Specifically, the study explains that employees who are satisfied with their workplace are “less likely to quit, more engaged at work, have higher job satisfaction, make better coworkers and show more support for corporate goals.”
Modern offices need to suit modern needs. This means everything from the layout of the suite to the furnishings and technology available.
When Manekin Construction began developing 1750 Forest Drive, they took these concerns into account. This is why the building they created is such an innovation in Annapolis. From the design and layout to the interactive kiosk available in the lobby, they considered what would make an ideal workplace for each of the businesses that move into the location.
Even outdated buildings can still make the most of their space with a little bit of smart reconfiguration.
The ideal workplace is a space where:
Employees Can Be Productive
Workers don’t want to come to the office to waste time. In an era when people can save work to the cloud and work on it remotely, they are coming to the office because they need to make use of it. This could mean your modern office needs collaborative workstations instead of cubicles. You need more meeting rooms. And yes, you still need private spaces where people can escape the distractions and work individually when they need to.
But a simple meeting table or study carrel isn’t enough for the modern ideal workspace if the room is cramped, acoustics are bad and there’s no place to plug in.
Each of these stations, both group stations and private ones, should be equipped to accommodate technology. That means charging stations and WiFi access. They should also have the right acoustics. If designated quiet spaces back right up to a meeting room where the walls are thin enough for sound to travel, it’s going to hinder productivity.
You would also be wise to invest in furniture that’s multifunctional. Lightweight furniture can be easily rearranged or moved from room to room based on need that day, and height-adjustable desks will allow employees to stand at their computer if they find themselves sitting too long.
Employees Can Comfortable
If employees are no longer working 9-to-5 hours, or if they’re seeking benefits beyond competitive salaries or health care, they may ideally seek an “experience-driven workplace.” This increasingly popular term refers to the idea of the office being a place where employees can play as well as work. It makes sense: If an employee spends 14 hours at work, or if they’re working odd hours, it’s nice to have better amenities. When money is not an object, such as with big corporations, this might mean private gyms, meditation studios, nap pods or recreation rooms.
For the average business, this simply isn’t practical. It can also come across as out of touch: Some employees would rather see an investment in their paycheck rather than having new gym equipment or a fancy coffee maker for the staff.
However, that doesn’t mean businesses shouldn’t aim in small ways to improve the experience of coming to work. Does your office have a large, practical kitchen? Is it close to a coffee shop or a walking trail? Does it have space where you can set up a comfortable break room for relaxation and unwinding? Even if businesses aren’t creating idealized experience-driven workspaces, they can still make their office a place where employees are comfortable.
This is especially true if employees are working outside of normal business hours. If they are going to be at the office as early as 6:00 a.m. or staying as late as 9:00 p.m., they are going to want a place where they can easily make something to eat or a nearby trail where they can get some fresh air to clear their head.
Remember that the needs of the modern workspace will continue to evolve, and technology is going to have an even greater role in the years to come than it does today. Businesses need to seriously consider the layout, functionality and tech accessibility of any space before they move in, especially if they are seeking a place where they can operate long-term and grow.
For more advice on what a modern business needs in an ideal workspace, reach out to Murphy Commercial Real Estate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.