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Top 7 Ways to Improve Staff Satisfaction with Office Design

Updated: Apr 25

Improving Your Employee Engagement

If you’re looking for ways to improve your culture and employee turnover, then you’ll know that a key element of both is staff satisfaction. To create a high-performance workspace, you need to make sure your people are satisfied.


It may sound simple, but delivering this is very difficult. Staff satisfaction is a complex topic, affected by many different factors. major factors include their job role and performance, as well as your culture and overall company success. Their workday experience – how enjoyable it is (or isn't) to spend time in your space - is also key. The design of your office has a key role to play in making this experience as enjoyable and effective as possible.


Every week, we speak to companies that are planning office relocations and refurbishments. As we ask lots of questions to understand their challenges and needs, the need to improve staff satisfaction is a very common theme. While redesigning your office won’t transform your staff experience by itself, it does have a key role to play.


In this article, we’ll explain the top 7 design features and aspects we look at when helping our clients improve their employee satisfaction through office design. This covers both specific design features and technical considerations. We’ll also explain how you can apply these concepts to your own office. By the end, you’ll be able to pinpoint key areas where your current office is falling short. You'll have a good understanding of how to fix those to improve your staff satisfaction.


1) Relaxation Spaces

A major part of the day-to-day experience of your people is the social time they spend with their coworkers. It might seem counterintuitive, but encouraging this and providing environments for it will improve their performance. Their wellbeing and job satisfaction will increase, which will have a positive impact on their productivity.


Social time with coworkers is also the most effective way to attract staff back to the office. According to research from Microsoft, 84% of employees would be motivated to go into the office if they could socialize with coworkers.


Providing a dedicated and purpose-built breakout space is essential. This will enable staff to relax and socialise much easier than if they are trying to do so in a space designed for working. It will also create a clear separation between working spaces and socialisation spaces.


2) Collaboration Spaces

The importance of connection with coworkers extends to a direct working context. In an age of hybrid working, making it easy and effective for your people to work together is crucial. 3 in 4 of your staff would go to your office more frequently if they knew their direct team members would be there. In addition, staff are 17% more satisfied with their job when they engage in collaboration.


Again, providing purpose-built spaces for collaboration is crucial. Long gone are the days of working being completely desk-based. If your office design hasn’t kept up, your people will be frustrated, less satisfied, and less productive. We generally recommend 35-50% of your office be used for collaboration spaces. To learn more about what other types of spaces you need in your office, read this article.


3) Natural Light

While it may be easy to look to fads when trying to improve your employee experience, what your people actually want is very different. Research published by the Harvard Business Review found that access to natural light is the most popular amenity. 4 in 5 staff say this improves their wellbeing and 70% say it improves their performance.


To maximise the natural light available in your office, make sure the most used areas of your office have natural light. Boardrooms and executive offices are not used very often, so they are not a good use of natural light. Where natural light is not possible, you should ensure your office has daylight-balanced LED lighting.


4) Biophilic Design

Biophilia is the innate affinity of humans with nature. Biophilic office design taps into this by using natural materials and features throughout the space. This makes your office a much more relaxing and welcoming place for your staff to be. This in turn increases their job satisfaction. Research by Human Spaces found that working in a biophilic office improved staff wellbeing by 15% and productivity by 6%.


It is very easy to incorporate biophilia throughout your office. The simplest way is through adding office plants. These are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and will improve air quality. They will also provide a more aesthetically pleasing environment.


However, biophilic design doesn’t stop there. It includes all natural materials throughout your workspace. Even decorating your office with warm green and brown colours will improve the biophilic design of your office.


5) Air Quality

Air quality is also a crucial factor in the office experience of your staff. If your office is warm and stuffy, your people will struggle to concentrate and it will become very frustrating. On the other hand, if your office is at a good temperature with fresh, well-circulated air, your people will be much more productive. 94% of UK workers say that the quality of the air they breathe has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. However, 1 in 5 are very worried about their office’s indoor air quality.


To make sure that your office has good air quality, you should make sure that your air conditioning combines both fresh and recycled air. According to building regulations, your office must supply 10 litres of fresh air per person per second. While the temperature of your office is a hotly debated topic, most studies agree that it should be somewhere between 21 and 23 degrees celsius.


6) Refreshments

A healthy diet is one of the most important parts of physical health. Given that your people will be working in your office for up to half of their waking day, you can have a big impact on what they do (and don’t) eat and drink.


To do this, you should ensure your teapoint or staff breakout area is well-supplied with healthy drinks and snacks. It may seem an unnecessary expense, but it is one of the most popular staff amenities. Ensuring your staff are kept well-fed and hydrated throughout the day will have a major impact on their performance.


7) Noise Management

A noisy and distracting working environment is a very frustrating place to work. Nearly half of UK office workers say the noise in their office has a negative impact on their wellbeing. If your office doesn’t have adequate noise management, your people will struggle to concentrate. This will not only limit their performance but significantly impact their job satisfaction.


To make sure your office is not like this, you first need to make sure that your office is not too cramped. Typically, you will need 100-250 sq/ft per person, but to learn more, read this article. Your office design should also maximise the use of soft furnishings and materials to absorb sound. There are also specialist acoustic wall and ceiling-mounted baffles available that are designed to reduce background noise.


Improving Staff Satisfaction in Your Office

Staff satisfaction is an absolutely crucial component of your company’s overall success. Satisfied employees will be more committed and more productive. Research by HBR showed that highly engaged employees are more than twice as productive as the average worker. Satisfied staff will also stay longer, improving your staff stability and saving hiring costs.


Ultimately, satisfied staff will have a significant, positive impact on your bottom-line profitability. According to Gallup, companies with engaged workers have 23% higher profit than those with workers who felt “miserable”.


Now that you know about the 7 top ways to improve your staff satisfaction, you’ll be able to identify any areas in which your office is falling short. You'll also know how to start fixing it. As a result, you’re well on the way to unlocking the huge benefits of improved staff satisfaction.


To learn more about high-performance office design, download the guide to office design and productivity. It covers why office design matters for productivity, the kinds of spaces that improve productivity, as well as design features that improve productivity. Download your copy here.


To learn more about improving the commitment of your people to your company, read How to improve staff engagement with office design. There, you’ll learn what staff engagement actually is and why it should matter to you and your company. You’ll also learn 5 ways that your office design affects your staff engagement, and how to improve them.

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