Consider how much time we spend at the office and the emphasis that many of us put on wellness. It’s no wonder that we expect more from our workplace design than uniform rows of cookie-cutter desks in windowless rooms exacerbated by fluorescent lighting. Anyone who’s worked in that environment likely feels triggered by the sheer mention, and for good reason. For the third year in a row, Capital One surveyed full-time office professionals for their thoughts and attitudes towards workplace design and experience, and how those elements impact their productivity, ability to collaborate, and overall well-being.
What they discovered isn’t surprising: attracting and retaining top talent requires that employers invest in design elements that encourage and foster well-being in the workplace.
Primarily, professionals are looking for an office design that uses modern workspaces and incorporates amenities to create a balanced and holistic experience.
Professionals don’t just desire different work experiences; they expect them.
That’s not to say employees want turn-down service and a mini-bar, but they do want and expect a hospitable environment. A place that is comfortable, relaxed, and thoughtful—in other words, a pleasant place to be. And what does management get from this other than extraneous expenses?
Of those surveyed by Capital One, 90% of them say they perform better when they work in well-designed workplaces.
Three Elements for Happy and Productive Employees
To thoughtfully design an office, you don’t have to start with a complete overhaul. You can make changes in stages beginning with what’s affordable for you, but also what’s most important to your current staff. Ask them, “What would you like to have? What would inspire you to come to work?” You may be surprised which items mentioned in the Capital One survey mean the most to your team.
- Collaboration Furniture – In business today, 80% of meetings are held between 1-4 people.
Collaboration office furniture provides a creative, relaxed environment where team members can come together for the next joint meeting or impromptu brainstorming session. Cozy couches, mobile break-out chairs, and high-backed collaborative lounge seating are workplace design options, and with 77% of survey respondents reporting that collaborative spaces are essential to them, it’s a sound investment.
- Flexible Furniture – Of the professionals surveyed,73% say they can work better when they have access to flexible furniture arrangements, like alternative desks.
One of the most popular and useful alternatives is the adjustable height desk. Standing desks promote movement and allow employees to enjoy the benefits of a more versatile workspace. An ergonomic furniture solution, they help relieve muscle strain and increase blood circulation to the brain, by encouraging people to switch from a stationary state to a standing position.
- Biophilia – Humans thrive in the outdoors.
Being connected to nature restores our creativity, focus, and engagement with our surroundings and activities. Survey respondents feel strongly about natural elements in the workplace, and when asked which features would make them feel most connected while in the office, 57% cited a visual connection (windows, natural light); 45% cited a physical connection (outdoor spaces for working, relaxation or socializing); and 31% cited a material connection (natural materials, indoor plants or water features). What management and business owners can learn is that the little things like natural light and plants can make a significant impact on employee satisfaction and well-being.
The Way We (Should) Work: Adaptability and Flexibility
The top two perks that professionals expect from the next company they work for are flexible hours (61%) and the ability to work remotely (54%). With stats like these, employers must become nimble, or they won’t have the ability to attract the caliber of talent they want for their companies to succeed. Factor in the expectations of a kinder and more comfortable place to work and business owners have their work cut out for them.
The times, they are changing. Professionals don’t just desire different work experiences; they expect them. If businesses want to succeed, attract top talent, and keep their staff happy and productive, they’ll need to keep up with the times, and better yet, stay ahead of them. Put employee well-being at the forefront, and your bottom line will profit as much as those who help produce the revenue.