Office design trends are constantly changing to keep up with the ever-shifting demands of today’s workforce. Businesses are competing to offer the latest and coolest office perks, in an attempt to attract young professionals and retain their top performers. Yet different generations want different things from their workspace, and if you want to promote inclusion, you have to make sure that everyone’s needs are met.
However, not all budgets are created equal, and startups or mid-size businesses might not be able to afford incorporating all those cool features in their offices. Yet they can still attract top talent by focusing on the basic needs that everyone wants fulfilled at work. It’s the little things that make the biggest differences, and ultimately, having beer on tap or fancy game rooms aren’t the first things one looks for at an office job.
Below are what we consider to be the most important things that employees want from their office space. If you can check these off your list, then you have a good chance of creating a productive work environment that retains employees.
Lighting and temperature control
A comfortable temperature and good natural lighting are crucial to creating a productive work environment. Nevertheless, temperature wars have always been part of the office life, because people have different metabolisms and preferences and you can’t please everyone. But even if it seems like a never-ending struggle, it’s worth trying to fix this issue, as it’s something that has a huge impact on productivity and wellbeing. You can try tweaking the temperature on the thermostat, providing blankets or fans, or moving people around to warmer/cooler areas.
In terms of lighting, experts agree that natural light is the absolute best, so you want to make sure employees get plenty of it. You can look for loft-style offices with large, floor-to-ceiling windows and open spaces that eliminate the need for round-the-clock use of fluorescent lights. This way you’ll also cut back on the energy bill and make your office more environmentally friendly.
We tend to spend the bulk of our weeks at the office, and this can ultimately take a toll on our health. By now, we all know that sitting or standing for a prolonged time is very bad. How many of you have had to skip work due to back pain or other job-related health issues? Employers nowadays need to promote wellbeing at work and ensure that employees are healthy, and there are a few ways to do that.
Besides fine-tuning the lighting and the temperature, you can also provide ergonomic furniture for your team. Ergonomic chairs can help prevent back pain and promote good posture while sitting, while standing desks or even treadmill desks can encourage employees to switch positions and keep moving during the day. You can also provide ergonomic mouse pads, under-desk footrests, and adjustable monitors to ensure that employees maintain good posture and don’t get repetitive strain injuries.
Modern, functional equipment
It’s true that fax machines and bulky office equipment are now past their heyday, but some things are still indispensable. Functional printers, scanners, and copy and fax machines are absolute must-haves in every office. We might be living in a digital, cloud-based era, but we still need to print out and trade papers and other important documents. Equally important are conference and video conference technologies, so that you can keep in touch with business partners, remote employees or prospective clients.
Informal spaces and quiet retreats
The open office design is the most widespread layout in modern-day workplaces, and it’s getting mixed reviews. While this cost-effective design encourages communication, collaboration and transparency, it can also hinder productivity and become noisy and overcrowded, leading to an unhealthy work environment. To make sure that your employees have a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the open office, you can provide informal spaces like quiet rooms or small meeting rooms. This way, when the office becomes too noisy, too hot, too cold or too crowded, employees can retreat to a small private space and get work done without distractions. Informal spaces can also be suitable for conducting one-on-ones or taking a break from work in a relaxed environment.
Flexibility in and out of the office
When you think of workplace flexibility, you think of remote work options and flexible hours. But employees also need flexibility when they are in the office. People are different; some work better when they’re surrounded by peers and they can bounce ideas off of others; others need quiet, isolated spaces to retreat to and get work done. Some like to work in meeting rooms, while others get inspired by taking a stroll around the office. If you want to retain top talent, you need to allow employees to take full advantage of the office space and switch up their daily routine every now and then. You could provide them with laptops so that they can move around the office, go to a quiet room, or even work remotely from a nearby coffee shop for a few hours. Being rigid about presenteeism and workspace flexibility might hinder productivity and prevent your best employees from finding inspiration and focus in the office.
The open office design is a controversial one, to say the least. Collaboration, cost-effectiveness and transparency aside, this layout has also eliminated privacy in the workplace. With no physical boundaries like walls to separate one employee from the next, workers often feel exposed, watched and distracted. Visual and auditory distractions are productivity killers for many, and no noise-cancelling headphones can help. Adjusting lights and temperatures also becomes more challenging since everyone is huddled together in the same space. However, there are ways to make an open office layout ‘less open.’ Instead of walls, you can place dividers to delimitate workers into smaller groups or teams. You don’t have to go back to cubicles, but you can use cabinets, shelves or even plants to create a visual boundary and eliminate some of the noise. You can also provide noise-cancelling headphones or privacy screen filters to make people feel less exposed.
A great location
The location of the office matters just as much, if not even more, than its design and available amenities. Proximity to public transportation options is for many an eliminating factor when it comes to applying for a job. Even more so in a city like New York, where traffic is intense, commute times are long and parking spaces are scarce. Offices located near transportation hubs like Grand Central Terminal or Penn Station are highly coveted by employees, as they offer easy access to different parts of the city and to nearby cities as well.
Equally important is the proximity to dining options. Many workers prefer to leave the office during lunch breaks for a change of scenery, so working in an area with restaurants, food courts and other dining options is a desirable perk. Having access to onsite restaurants or gyms can make a big difference for many of your employees, and encourage them to build a healthy work/life balance.
If you’re thinking of setting up your business in a convenient location in Manhattan, and are looking to lease state-of-the-art space with top-notch amenities, reach out to us and we will show you worthwhile options situated right in the heart of New York City. To learn about available office space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 444-2241 or email us at [email protected]