Employee engagement is not only not a given, but a costly thing to lose. Reported by Gallup Business Journal, Gallup found that, “Actively disengaged employees — the least productive — cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.” With an already tight budget and more work than your small office can do in a day, it’s imperative that you are not encouraging the disengagement of your employees.
While exciting work is an aspect of staying engaged on the job, you can’t control what excites your employees and what doesn’t. What you can control, however, is the environment they’re working in. While office design is a critical piece of this puzzle, be sure you know the basics of a successfully engaging office design:
- Good lighting
- Open spaces
- Fun office furniture
Once you know the basics, you can begin making changes to your office to improve overall employee engagement based on your employees’ office space and cultural needs.
Analyze Your Layout
Before you can make any changes to your office or successfully design an engaging office from scratch, you have to assess your layout to see how these changes can be implemented. Experts at EngagementStrategies.com suggest, “… strategic office space considerations must be an integral component of the overall workplace philosophy with site location, building design and space configuration decisions driven by a goal of creating an environment most conducive to productivity and high-performance…”
Whether you’re choosing a brand new office or refurbishing your current space, consider a few important factors.
- Maximize small areas: Not everyone can have Googleplex for an office, so if you’re working with a smaller space, be sure to maximize those areas as best you can. This can come in the form of a great paint job that opens up the space, or strategic use of furniture.
- Plan the communication network: Your sales employees will likely be most frequently engaging with sales and marketing team members – be sure that you are able to place them together in an open manner so engagement is easy and encouraged.
- Consider workstation potential: Engagement is highest in an open area; consider if the space can be used for modular clusters, as opposed to rigid and private cubicles.
Include Your Employees
When creating a space for your employees to be more engaged, it only makes sense that you would include them in the process as much as possible. Not only does this allow you to give them the tools they need, but a study done by PRISM found that by giving office workers a say in the design of their workspace increased productivity by 32%.
- Brainstorm as a company: Start the process with whiteboards and brainstorming sessions. Give them their options so they can explore ideas and research potential designs and layouts. This gives them a reason to be engaged with the company outside of their regular work.
- Be sensitive of generational preferences: Gen Y works best in a collaborative environment; however, your older generations may be more engaged when they are focused on their work in a private station. Including employees allows everyone, regardless of generation, to create their most engaging space.
- Watch employees taking ownership: Studies have found that employees who create their working space take ownership of the office and design, giving them more reason to be engaged and attached to their work.
With disengaged employees costing your company so much money, it makes sense to encourage engagement in the one way you can: office design. Whether you’re redoing a current space or trying to find the perfect first office, keep engagement at the forefront of the process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer. As the marketing copyeditor of www.ResourceNation.com, she touches on a range of topics such as office design and employee engagement.