The Importance of Workspace Design
Are you wondering if your office is as important as it used to be, given the rise of hybrid working? Perhaps you're considering an office fit out or refurbishment, and are unsure if you can justify the cost? If either of these situations sounds like you, you’re likely wondering why office design matters.
We’ve been carrying out office designs, fit outs and refurbishments since 2008. In that time, we’ve seen time and again the transformative impact that a great office design can have. In this article, we’ll go through 6 key reasons why office design matters. By the end, you’ll have a much better understanding of how your office design impacts the performance of your company. You’ll be able to start building a business case for your upcoming project.
Productive people are the foundation of every business. However, most UK companies have seen a 3-6% drop in productivity in the last 4 years. As the environment where your people work most or all of the time, your office has a major impact on their productivity.
If your office provides your people with environments and features they need to be productive, then they will be as effective as possible. However, if your office is a desk farm, then they won't have the spaces they need to match the way they work, reducing their productivity. Aside from the indirect benefits, office design can improve productivity by as much as 20%. However, 1 in 3 office workers say that the design of their office decreases their productivity.
To maximise the productivity of your people using office design, you need to create an office that matches the way your people work. This means providing them with the different spaces and features they need to be as effective as possible. To learn more, read How to Maximise Staff Productivity with Office Design.
Company culture can be hard to define, much less measure and improve. However, it is hard to overstate its importance to the long-term success of your business. As an IBM CEO said “culture isn't just one aspect of the game—it is the game. In the end, an organisation is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”
If your office is on-brand then it will reflect and reinforce your culture. It will bring your company’s personality to life, improving your employee productivity and satisfaction. However, if your office has a bland, desk-centric design like so many, then the day-to-day experience of your office will be no different to any other company. As a result, staff may be tempted to leave.
To create a workspace tailored to your culture that maximises the performance of your people, you need to consider the user experience. This includes the layout, design features and everything that goes into the day-to-day experience of your people – from the location to the coffee. To learn more about creating an office design that improves your culture, read this article.
Another concept that can be hard to define, engagement is how emotionally and psychologically invested staff are in the success of your company. If your staff aren't committed to your company, they will be unmotivated, less creative, and less hard-working. On the other hand, if your staff do feel enthused about your company, they will be always looking for ways to improve performance.
The impact of engagement on company performance is huge. An engaged employee is 45% more productive than a satisfied worker. According to Gallup, companies with engaged workers have 23% higher profit than those with workers who felt “miserable”. However, studies have reported that as much as 91% of the UK's workforce is not engaged.
The physical environment of your office plays a key role in how engaged your people are. If your people are working in an environment that brings your culture to life, they will become much more invested in your company. However, if your office has a bland generic design, you are missing out on an opportunity to improve your staff engagement. To learn how to improve staff engagement through office design at your company, read this article.
Ensuring your people are physically and mentally healthy is essential to the success of your business. The cost of poor wellbeing is significant: 15-20% of the average company’s payroll is wasted due to poor worker wellbeing! Improved worker wellbeing leads to reduced absence and increased resilience, engagement, and productivity.
Your office plays a crucial role in the physical and mental health of your staff. If your office is a light, ergonomic and healthy environment, the wellbeing of your people will be as good as possible. This will allow them to perform well. However, if your office has dim lighting, poor ventilation, and uncomfortable furniture, then your employees will be unable to perform as well. It may even cause serious health issues over time.
To optimise staff wellbeing in your office, you need to consider their wholistic health, both physical and psychological. According to the WELL building standard, there are 7 elements to wellbeing in your office: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. To learn more about improving staff wellbeing in your office, read 9 Ways to Improve Workplace Wellbeing with Office Design.
Personal performance is important, but to maximise the performance of your teams, they need to be able to work together effectively. The environment they work in will impact their ability to collaborate. Collaboration is more than sharing information – it's working together to create.
If your office space is dominated by desks and boardrooms, your people will struggle to collaborate effectively. Desks are designed for individual work, while meeting rooms are designed for communication rather than collaboration. On the other hand, if there are facilities in your office to enable collaboration and you encourage it, your people will become far more effective.
To improve collaboration in your office, it’s crucial that your office is designed for it – both in terms of dedicated collaboration spaces and the furniture within those spaces to enable it. To learn about the 5 key ways to boost collaboration in your office, read this article.
Talent Attraction & Retention
One of the most important benefits of great office design is its impact on your ability to hire & keep good staff. While salary, incentives, and career growth opportunities all have a key role to play in this, the day-to-day experience your office provides can’t be overlooked. A great workspace can become a magnet for talent. It improves employee wellbeing, engagement, and productivity. Ultimately, this leads to an improvement in overall business performance.
If your office has a drab design, prospective employees won't be impressed during interviews. However, a unique, on-brand office design will have the opposite effect. 79% of recruits say that well-designed office environments make them more likely to accept a position. Your office design also impacts the job satisfaction of your staff. This is a key factor in how likely your people are to leave your company. To learn more about staffing and office design, read 4 Ways a Great Workspace Can Help Talent Attraction and Retention.
Why Your Office Design Matters
Undoubtedly, office design is a crucial component of company performance. As the environment where your staff spend most or all of their working lives, it has a major influence on how well they can perform. Because it is hard to quantify and affects a lot of complex factors, it can be hard to justify the importance of office design. However, it has a major impact on the performance of your staff and the strength of your culture.
Now you know why office design matters, you can assess your own office to see if it is performing well enough, or if it is holding your company back. As a result, you’ll be able to decide if you need a refurbishment or not. To learn more about building a business case for your project, read What Is the ROI of Office Fit Out.