Let's face it: we now live in a millennial-driven workforce. The demand for modern, creative, and appealing office space creates a massive opportunity for sharp business owners who are clever enough to retain and attract top talent. It can be a real challenge for the owners of aging, old-school office sites and work environments.
Where do you stand? Are your employees happily engaged in their work and energized by their surroundings or are you a cube farm with minimal amenities and low collaboration in an uninviting space?
Maybe your sole focus is on growing the business by investing in marketing, sales, and product development and consider anything else to be a waste or a luxury. Maybe you think the aesthetics of an office space have no connection to the productivity of your employees. Maybe it's time to change your mindset.
1) Your team must have access to personal / focus spaceFor better or for worse, open offices are here to stay. Workers must have access to private and quiet spaces to contend with nonstop client calls, sales calls, internal meetings, visits, and even the music a neighbor is playing. Depending on the size or growth of your team, you may need more than just one or two conference rooms. Consider adding huddle rooms for smaller meetings or for people to have an opportunity to really dig in and get their work done without distractions or interruptions that are par for the course in any office environment.
2) Appearances matter to your teamYour employees should be proud of where they come to work each day and you better believe they talk about it. You don't have to be Google to provide your people with a reason to love your space. Taking care to include simple amenities can go a long way here. A person's surroundings play a direct role in performance. In fact, if you give them a dark and depressing place to work, they will most likely work in that mindset. But consider a bright, open office that conveys the culture and welcomes employees into the space with opportunities to share, have fun, and learn. We are products of our environment, after all!
3) The layout drives how your teams interact and collaborate (or don't)You must present opportunities for people in different departments to get to know each other. Engineering should have friends and contacts in sales and vica versa. This critical component of your culture makes it easier for teams to feel comfortable asking questions, cross-training, stepping up to help, and taking a more active role in the business.
4) Use your office space to attract & retain top talent
It's no secret that we are all in an ongoing "quest for new talent." It only makes sense to use your space to give yourself an edge with recruits. Imagine the difference in perceived happiness at work when a potential employee walks through an ugly and dated office space with solemn faces versus a bright and welcoming motif with clear culture signals. Think about how ping pong and foosball tables became synonymous with start-ups. It wasn't on accident. Fledgling companies knew they needed to have a way for their brave employees who took a risk working for them to unwind and enjoy themselves at work. Take a page from their book and consider what you could add, that would be in line with your company values and brand, that would enhance the aesthetics and perception of your space.
You'll end up switching your mindset on hiring from trying to sell them on joining you to deciding if they are the right fit. What a hiring advantage!
It all comes down to your employees. Show them that you value their commitment to doing their best work for you by doing your best work for them. Give them a place to thrive.