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How Your Office Interior Design Can Help Improve Employee Retention

Employee retention is always a top concern for organizations. And it should be! The numbers speak for themselves. Companies lose 18% of their workforce to turnover each year. That is almost one out of every five employees. Some turnover is involuntary (layoffs, termination, etc.) But 12% is voluntary, and the overall cost of voluntary employee turnover amounted to over $1 trillion in 2022 alone. In this post, we look at four ways to improve employee retention and how each can be created through office interior design.

Collaboration and Office Interior Design

collaboration in office interior design

Collaboration has always been an important part of office interior design. But as we begin to shape what the hybrid office will look like, collaboration spaces are more important than ever. Employees choose to come to the office for connection and social interaction. If a conference room is your main collaboration area, it’s time to make a change.

Both employee engagement and productivity can be improved when the right collaboration spaces are present. This means including multiple different areas to accommodate the needs of different groups and group sizes. In our hybrid reality, collaboration often looks different. From zoom meetings with a mix of participants to technology-integrated breakrooms to large comfy areas with plugs and laptop tables—creating the right space takes planning.

Start by thinking about how your teams collaborate on a daily basis. Look at common group sizes and the mix of remote and in-person workers present most days. The goal is to make collaboration a seamless part of your work day. Keep everyone productive and happy by reducing waits for common areas and ensuring that all members can connect no matter where they are geographically.

Foster Flexibility

flexible workspace

Flexibility has been a buzzword in the office over the last few years. First, in regard to where we work. This flexibility is still a crucial piece of the employee retention puzzle. Employees are still looking for at minimum a hybrid work schedule. In fact, current numbers state that 64% of workers would consider quitting if asked to return to the office full-time. So for employee retention, flexibility in scheduling must continue to be a priority. However, when talking about flexibility now, it is in office design.

The shift to a hybrid schedule for many organizations has caused a change in the number of employees in the office on any given day. This shift means that often, the office doesn’t need to look or function in the same way from day to day. If your office is looking at a large number of empty or often unused desks, it’s time to think about how this looks to your employees when they come into the office. Flexible office design can help improve the look, feel, and functionality of your office.

If your office is looking at a large number of empty or often unused desks, it’s time to think about how this looks to your employees.

Flexible furniture pieces are meant to change. This often looks like pieces on wheels. These mobile features can change as your group changes each day. To accommodate a large group, partitions can be rolled away. To create a more intimate small group meeting, these same partitions, often in the form of planters, whiteboards, or shelves, can be pulled in closer.

Including flexible furniture can improve employee retention by making it easier for employees to accomplish the task at hand. They can easily create the space they need for collaboration, or for accomplishing focused work. The changes in your office interior design also remove the feeling of emptiness and make your office a brighter happier place to be.

Prioritize Comfort

comfortable office furniture

No one likes to be uncomfortable. And especially for employees who spend their full week at the office, comfort is a priority. And it should be important to business for more than just retention. When a focus is put on creating comfort, productivity improves as well.

Creating a comfortable workspace starts with ensuring that employees have ergonomic desks, chairs, and accessories like keyboards and mouses. For many, the desk is where they spend most of the day and the long-term effects of improper work posture and repetitive use are well known. In addition, it has been said that sitting is the new smoking. Alternative workspaces or adjustable-height desks should be part of your office interior design as well.

When a focus is put on creating comfort, productivity improves as well.

At a minimum, employees should have the ability to work pain-free. But another thing to consider is bringing some of the comforts of home to the office. This might look like lounge seating in break room areas or couches and footrests in collaboration areas. It could also mean the addition of hotel-like amenities to really make the office a place employees want to return to and stay at.

Set the Tone

clear partitions in office interior design

A positive workplace leads to improved retention. And not only that, studies show that when employees are happy at work, they are also more productive, and help the companies they work for outperform the competition. In another recent study, they found that an employee is ten times more likely to leave a job with a toxic culture than a workplace where they are receiving inadequate compensation. There are many pieces that go into creating a positive workplace culture. So what role does office interior design play?

Creating visibility in your workplace can help improve workplace culture. And according to design expert David Craig, visibility within companies and teams creates shared experiences, which are crucial for a strong culture. One way to create visibility is to add glass doors or walls, or panels and partitions that break up spaces without completely separating team members. Including project and idea boards in common areas can provide visibility in what other teams are working on and help to connect employees to the bigger mission of the organization.

Visibility within companies and teams creates shared experiences, which are crucial for a strong culture.

As we begin the new year this is the perfect time to take a good look around your office. Does it represent the type of culture you believe it should? Does it represent the culture you are trying to grow? Culture is all around us in the office. And it doesn’t matter whether your team is working from home, the office, or a mix of both. Workplace culture emerges from each member of your team. Changes you make today can steer your culture in a positive direction and encourage growth into the new year.

Looking to update your interior office design to improve culture and retention? StrongProject can help. 

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