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How Your Office is Harming (or Helping) Your Company Growth

Updated: Mar 11

Workspace Company Performance

87% of UK businesses are looking to grow in 2024. However, in the current economic climate, you can't take growth for granted. You have to work at improving every part of your business. This is especially true of the key constraints facing your business. One potential constraint you may not have thought about is your office(s).


As the environment where your staff spend most or all their working time, your workspace(s) have a major impact on the performance of your people, and thus the performance of your company.


If you're pursuing company growth, your office will either be holding your business back or helping you forward. To help you identify which, we'll go through 5 signs your office is holding you back, and then 5 signs it may be helping you forward. As a result of reading this article, you'll know whether your office is hindering or facilitating your company's growth efforts. You'll also know where to start fixing or optimising your workspace(s).


How Your Office Is Harming Performance

1)     Too Many Desks

Most offices have far too many desks. In today's world of work, people don’t sit all day and work in isolation. If your office has too many desks, you are stifling the creativity of your people as well as their ability to communicate. As a result, your company will suffer from siloed teams and a lack of collaboration.


If more than 60% of your office space is taken up by desks, then you likely have this problem. You should also look around your office at different times of the day and week. If your breakout and collaboration spaces are overcrowded while your desking areas are empty, then you have too many desks.


To learn more about the amount of office space you need and what it should consist of, read How Much Office Space Do I Need?


2)     Inflexible Design

Just having breakout and collaboration spaces in your office isn't necessarily enough. If those spaces are not designed for flexible use, then it's not much better than only having desks. Your office won't suit all (or any) of your staff. As a result, you'll hinder their ability to perform, which will have a knock-on effect on your company.


If you only have 1 station in your breakout and collaboration spaces, then you'll likely have this issue. It may suit some of your staff, but not all. If you see people working in strange places or ways, it may be because they don’t have access to an environment that suits their work or working style. Your people are all different, so they need the ability to work in different ways to maximise their contribution to your company's growth.


For more help on how to make your office work for all your staff, read about the Top 4 Ways to Enable Customisation in Your Office Design.


3)     Generic Experience

Have you ever thought about the experiences your people have in your office? Most companies have a bland, generic design that is no different to hundreds of other offices nearby. As a result, the experiences their staff have are bland and generic: no different or better than what they could easily find elsewhere. Consequently, they struggle to attract and retain talent. The working experience is commoditised, so staff have little incentive to come or stay.


If your office merely has a logo in the reception and a few walls in brand colours or statements, then your office experience is not differentiated. Ask yourself: does your office look and feel like the living embodiment of your company and culture? If not, then your workspace will be dampening the engagement of your people, making them more likely to leave.


Learn more about creating a differentiated office experience by reading How to Create an Office Design Tailored to Your Culture.


4)    Distracting Environment

Distractions are hugely damaging to staff and company performance. The average office worker is disrupted 4-12 times every hour. Even worse, it takes 10-20 minutes to refocus after a distraction. This means that your people are spending most of their day at sub-optimal productivity. Your office may well be part of the problem. Of course, some distractions are inevitable. However, if your office isn't minimising distractions, you're jeopardising your staff performance.


A noisy and echoing office is a clear sign that your office is a distracting environment. However, distractions aren't just auditory - they can also be visual and spatial. If your people don’t have anywhere to go for focussed work, then they will likely be distracted. Another clear sign your office is distracting is if you regularly see lone workers in meeting rooms.


To resolve this issue in your workspace, read How to Reduce Noise Pollution In Your Office.


5)     Long Lease Terms

It may not be an office design performance issue day-to-day, but the terms and length of your office lease may also be hindering the growth and progress of your business. If you're partway through a long lease, how have your workspace needs changed since you signed the lease? How will they change before the end of the lease? Your workspace needs will change not only in terms of headcount, but also the way your people work and communicate.


The average length of office lease in the UK is 6.8 years. Over the last 7 years, the way your people work has probably changed beyond recognition. If you haven't done an office refurbishment in the last few years, then your office is likely obsolete. It would help if you also considered how your workspace needs will change in the future, and adapt your workspace accordingly.



How Your Office is Helping Performance

1)     User-Based Design

If your workspace matches the way your people work, then they'll be able to perform far better. Their environment reflects and enhances their working style. As a result, your company will be much more likely to grow. Your office isnt holding your people back. It's also an inspiring, empowering environment that helps improve their wellbeing and engagement.


If you have an even distribution of staff using the different areas in your office, this is a good sign your office is based on their needs. You could also ask several people in different departments if your office suits their workspace needs. Of course, not everyone will be happy. However, if 80% of your staff say their workspace meets their needs, then you know your office is contributing to company growth.


For more help ensuring your space meets the needs of your people, read 8 Tips to Create a Workspace Your People Love.


2)     Biophilia

Biophilic design is a design approach that uses the different forms and elements of nature in office design. It has a huge impact on how pleasant your space is - leading to a 13% improvement in staff satisfaction. It also has a big impact on staff performance - up to 8% productivity improvements.


There are several indicators your office is contributing to company growth through the use of biophilic design. The most obvious is the presence of plants throughout the space. These could be anything from desk succulents to feature living walls. Even plastic imitation plants have a placebo effect, mimicking some of the benefits. Biophilic design also extends to other natural forms and finishes, such as wooden flooring.


For more information on optimising your office with biophilia, read How to Maximise Staff Productivity with Office Design.


3)     Effective Lighting

Unsurprisingly, the lighting within your space has a huge impact on the wellbeing and performance of your people. To facilitate company growth, your office should make the best possible use of natural light. Where this is not possible, LED lighting that mimics daylight should be used. Well-designed lighting can improve the performance of your people by up to 20%, as well as avoid a host of related health and eye-strain issues.


The biggest way your office lighting can contribute to company growth is by giving your staff access to natural light. This means the most-used areas of your space should be placed on the outside. If the artificial lighting throughout your space mimics natural light, then your office design is helping your people and company perform.



4)    Technology Integration

Technology is more pervasive than ever in the working lives of your people. As a whole,  your company is more reliant on technology than ever before. It's important to remember that technology doesn’t guarantee performance. It's an enabler for your people, to make them more productive. As a result, your technology and your office need to be designed cohesively around the needs of your people to contribute to company growth.


If your people are using all the technology throughout your space effectively, then this is a good sign. This isn't just about the laptops and hybrid meeting suites. It also extends to space technology such as room booking and access control. You could ask several staff if they are happy with the technology, and if it improves their performance. Technology is an accelerator, not a generator, so if your people are using it right, then it will be contributing to company growth.


Learn more about optimising technology and other performance improvements by reading about the Top 7 Ways to Modernise Your Office.


5)     Fostering Collaboration

The importance of collaboration has become a cliché, but however clichéd, it remains true. 3 in 4 employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important". Moreover, the companies that are best at collaboration are 5 times more productive than average companies. As the place where your people come together, your office has an especially important role to play in this.


A sure sign your workspace is helping your company grow is that you can see your people collaborating effectively in your office. If the collaboration spaces are well used, it means they suit and enhance communication and teamwork. If your office is helping your people work together, then it's having a positive impact on the performance and growth of your business.


For more help maximising collaboration in your workspace, read 5 Ways to Improve Collaboration with Office Design.


Improving Your Company's Performance Through Workspace Design

It's very easy to look at your office as an overhead or cost centre- an expensive but necessary place for your people to work. However, it's the environment where your people produce most, if not all, of their work. Consequently, it has a major impact on the quality and quantity of their work.


Right now, as you read this article, your office is either helping your company to grow or holding it back. Now that you've read this article, you know how to identify which it is. If it's hindering, you know where to look to improve it. If it's helping, you know how to optimise it.


If your office is holding your company back from growth, urgent action is essential. It may be easier and safer to wait, but every day you delay is a day that you are holding your company back from further growth.


If you know your office needs improvement, but you not sure where to start, download Your Definitive Guide to Office Design. There, you'll get answers to all your most important questions about office design, from why it matters to what exactly is involved, and what it costs. Download Your Definitive Office Design Guide here.


To learn more about the impact that a successful office redesign could have on your company, read about the 8 Ways Office Design Can Improve Company Performance. You'll learn about the key benefits you can expect from redesigning your office, and how to maximise their impact on your company, helping you to grow your business.



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