There can be little doubt engaged employees are productive employees – and engagement can begin with the workplace itself, and the way in which it works and is designed. Peter Ames, from office-experts OfficeGenie.co.uk looks at how to put processes such as design and branding at the frontline of employee engagement.
Start at the beginning
When you’re searching for your business’ home, it can be beneficial to form an office search committee. We have found these are best formed of a broad spectrum of employees from various teams and seniority levels across the company. Do also include anyone with relevant experience.
The benefits of this are numerous: Firstly, an office search can be a fairly lengthy affair, so many hands make light work (generally). Also, it helps everyone feel engaged; both those directly involved and, as long as you have a ‘representative sample’ of employees, possibly the whole company.
Office branding is an increasingly popular phenomenon. The process, where you design an office to reflect the company brand and ideals, can involve everything from company colour schemes and large-scale designs down to branded stationery. It’s a great way to create a space in which staff can immerse themselves in an organisation and live and breathe the business.
Of course, the process of branding can be supplemented if staff are also engaged with the process, after all who knows a brand better than those working for it? Consulting staff about things such as company values can have all manner of benefits in general, but it can be particularly handy in the office branding process as you incorporate their thoughts into the design.
Give the people what they want
Indeed this is perhaps the key to employee engagement in the workplace planning phase. Things such as Google forms make staff surveying quick and easy and mean you can have employee input on whatever you may want to add to the workplace. This is particularly useful for design and layout features and additions.
Somewhat counter intuitively, it may not always be best to pick the most popular choices. The majority of staff may feel an extra break area is the best use of that bit of spare space, but if a handful would really benefit from a quiet working area (and you don’t offer one) that might be the most valuable. Whatever you choose to do, if you don’t ask you’ll never know.
Our experience of moving office (a lot), as well as finding space for countless other business, has enlightened us to a few features everyone seems to love. Finding room in your workplace for the following is likely to help, as we said above, give the people what they want:
- Phone pods: Small private spaces for client/customer calls – or even personal calls outside of working time. They can be invaluable.
- Breakout areas: Areas in which staff can escape the pressures of the working day. They can be as simple as a sofa and chairs or something more extravagant such as a games room or even a bar – they can also double as handy impromptu ‘creative spaces’.
- Kitchens: Seems like a given but a well-equipped kitchen can go a long way, combine one with the above to get a great communal lunch area.
- Quiet-working areas: Particularly popular in the increasingly-ubiquitous open-plan offices, an area to escape the office buzz can be hugely beneficial.
So whether you’re looking to move office, or simply spruce up an existing space, follow a few of these tips and you should hopefully ensure your staff are that bit more engaged.
Peter Ames is Head of Strategy for OfficeGenie.co.uk, an office space search engine for the UK