Impact Of Workplace Design On Employee Engagement
Smart chief executives see workplace design as an investment to get the best from their people.
Modern workplace design is widely known to boost employee engagement and improve productivity. Employees who can choose where and how they want to work, based on their type of work, are much more engaged.
As employees spend most of their waking hours in the workplace, the physical work environment should be essentially considered. It includes factors like air quality, lighting, interior layout plan etc. which impact employee health, satisfaction, wellbeing, and creativity.
Defining Workplace Design
In simple terms, it refers to the process of organizing the workplace in order to optimize performance and workers’ safety. However, it is a little complicated because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to get the best design. Understanding what features of a workplace design will suit your employees is the key part of this.
The Basic Drivers Of Workplace Design
Several factors contribute to the changing workplace design trends. The chief drivers of this evolution are-
Today, millennials contribute 40% of the workforce and tend to cover three-quarters of all workers by 2025. Also, the first Generation Z has already entered the job world. Both generations grew up surrounded by modern technology and the desire to work with the latest advancements. This will continue to create the need for an ever-changing, collaborative workspace.
Technology continues to transform workplaces. It has completely changed the different aspects of communicating enabling greater intelligence and human-centered design.
In the current talent tight job market, recruiting and retaining the best employees have become quite a challenge for the employers. Undoubtedly, skilled workers get influenced by appealing workplace designs. Thus, employers must find ways to make their workplace up to expectations.
Research says that a proper evidence-based design boosts happiness and positivity in the workplace. It increases focus, reduces stress and improves employee engagement tremendously. As per industry experts, this data-based design will continue to trend in future of workplaces.
Today, for most companies, workplace maintenance stands at the top of the expense list. At the same time, because of the ever-changing demands of modern employees, it is difficult to pre-decide the necessities. Thus, it becomes a concern in the budget-making.
However, employers make the best efforts to create the best workplace so that creativity, teamwork, and productivity don’t get hampered.
In recent years, there is a renewed focus on workplace design for improving employee engagement in new and exciting ways. As per research, workers who are highly satisfied with various aspects of their workplace demonstrate higher levels of engagement.
Surprisingly, nearly one-third of employees in organizations are neither engaged nor disengaged. Although they don’t hurt the organization, they also don’t benefit it.
But, a small change in the engagement level can bring a significant improvement in the day to day business. And, one great way to get this change is by making some important adjustments in the work environment.
Designing a resilient workplace has the highest impact on engagement levels. Here are a few ways of how workplace design boosts employee engagement strategies.
Here's How Workplace Design Impacts Employee Engagement
1. Improves Communication Needs
Employees want to feel involved and expect to achieve real-time information about what’s going on in their organization. For any formal or informal communication, interaction and knowledge transfer, physical spaces in the modern offices play a major role.
A cozy desk area is never enough. The overall office design should allow the people to work as teams, co-create and share ideas without being interrupted.
Let’s understand better with examples.
- Facilities like couches, break rooms or a standing area can be really effective in striking a conversation.
- A conference room can be used for video conferencing with colleagues spread across continents and time zones.
- The flexibility of an open office layout can help to break down the barriers between departments and hierarchies.
- Meeting rooms can be converted to collaborative spaces/game zones to bring a completely new feel.
2. Promotes Inclusion
Workplaces are diverse by interests, gender, ethnicity, and age. The concept of bringing them together is known as the ‘universal design’ which is better known as the ”inclusive design”.
The goal here is to include all workers in the organizational workplace by providing everything that they desire. This will include welcoming and enabling everyone to reach the areas needed, with full access to the office equipment and resources.
Examples of inclusive workplace design include features which you may experience daily. Some of them are as follows:
Providing suitable door handles and openings for people with limited manual dexterity.
- Providing ramps as well as stairs.
- Including ergonomic devices like keyboards.
- Elevations along walkways, corridors and textural and multi-colored walls and surfaces for the visually impaired.
3. Makes Way To The Worker’s Heart Through Their Stomach
There is one thing that is unarguably standout to all employees- Food. Including a food corner where you provide the basic ingredients and the employees do the rest can work wonders.
And what’s more important than food? Coffee! Coming to work on a Monday morning and finding no coffee can be really disheartening. Rewarding your employees with an instant coffee machine can build an emotional connection within departments, boosting mental focus and alertness.
4. Encourages An Overall Employee Centric Workplace
Most of the employee-centric companies care for the physical, emotional, social needs of employees. They offer flex-time, wellness plans, recognition programs and the like. However, it’s important to meet the employee needs within the office environment itself on a day-to-day basis.
The best way to meet those needs which makes employees feel valued is by introducing an employee-centric workplace design. Basically, it has the following benefits-
It helps to foster strong working relationships with better access to amenities.
Employees feel a strong connection to their superiors and the company’s overall mission and impact on the community at large.
It combats disengagement, enhancing creativity and clarity of thought.
Healthy physical workplace practices create comfort, reduces stress, headaches and also contributes to overall health.
The fact that employees are able to make choices drives innovation.
Flexible work timings result in higher satisfaction and lower turnover.
Encouraging personal sharing among employees fosters employee bonds to connect better.
Thus, designing an employee-centric workplace helps the employees to become the best versions of themselves at their job.
5. Lifts Up The Mood And Productivity With Aesthetics
An aesthetic interior design encourages employees to feel motivated and work harder.
Walls dedicated to team accomplishments, awards/ testimonial displays have a beneficial psychological impact on employees. Natural lighting, greenery and added indoor plants and fountains make spaces feel calmer, improving employee satisfaction.
They feel amused and energized and get bound to be more productive and efficient with both time and resources. This ultimately leads to the success of the organization.
In 2019, India witnessed the real estate market grow with a high office space leasing record, motivated by creative space planning. Smart organizations like the BFSI firms, tech houses and conglomerates already know that workplaces are more like an engagement tool.
If you haven’t thought of this yet, it’s time that you plan the ‘destination workplace’ for your employees. We would be happy to hear your workplace design ideas in comments below!
A complete guide to employee engagement