Many years ago, the fitting out or refurbishing of an office was quite a functional process, the focus was on the layout and the cost alone; the drive was about how many offices and meeting rooms were needed, how many desks could be fit in, with the design element being limited to an accent wall and carpet feature. That was until we started putting people at the heart of the design, rather than the functionality of the office. After all people make the company, without them nothing happens.
The workplace plays an increasingly important role in the dynamic of a business, regardless of what package you are offering or what your staff retention rate looks like; if your competitor’s workplace is amazing, potential recruits will consider this highly, in considering where to work and in the case of millennials, they might value this and other perks above something like salary. In reality this isn’t surprising when you consider that, as an adult, you will spend on average 23% of your life at work. So having an inviting, comfortable and visually pleasing place to work is very high on many peoples list, when choosing such an important part of their life.
We started to understand this many years ago, when we spoke to clients whom we had previously refurbished or fitted out their workplace. We kept hearing anecdotal evidence that, following the works, the staff of that organisation were happier and the business started to see an uptake in productivity and brand loyalty. This evidence drives much of what we now do, designing workplaces around the specific needs of the individual people within the organisation itself. This then led to our mission statement, ‘To design & build exceptional workplaces where people flourish.’ Sounds simple doesn’t it? However, the tricky thing was that we knew it was happening, but we didn’t have any evidential proof to show to prospective clients of the importance of investing in workplace design.
We decided to find a way of measuring this, capturing this holistic effect in a way that would appeal to both human resources, finance and business owners alike. This led to our Employee Satisfaction Survey; a list of 5 simple questions about the workplace that we now use prior to any work taking place and then immediately afterwards to try and gauge exactly how the employees of that business feel about their workplace. The results are often extremely revealing, the survey is anonymous so employees have the ability to be very candid with their comments, and in many cases can reveal a hidden picture of just how happy the workforce really is. Part of our remit is to ensure that the design of the new office addresses these issues and is the focal point in driving parts of the design process.
We cannot guarantee that an expertly designed and constructed workspace will increase productivity or morale, but following in the footsteps of business giants like Google, with their slide, wellness centres, group cooking classes, free gourmet meals, a bowling alley, and even coffee tasting, can’t be a bad move. We don’t suggest going this far, but it shows that the workplace makes the staff and the staff make the business. Don’t forget, it’s all about the people.
If you are looking at a future project or are interested in running an Employee Satisfaction Survey, please get in touch on 01344 290290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.