Collaboration versus solo-time
Much emphasis has been placed on creating open-plan, collaborative working environments in recent years, but research by office furniture designer Steelcase has shown that workers are craving alone time.
The need for privacy sometimes is as basic to human nature as is the need to be with others.
The harder people work collaboratively, the more important it is to also have time alone—to be free from distractions, apply expertise and develop a solid point of view about the challenges at hand, says Donna Flynn, director of Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures research group.
The key recommendation from their study is for businesses to achieve a balance in office design so that workers can switch between working together and working privately.
At Google’s Sydney office, individual tree-house pods allow workers to escape for some alone time away from their desks.
[Image source: Google press office]
Inject your workers’ personalities into the design
Allowing your staff to contribute to the look and feel of the workplace can boost employee engagement. Simple ideas like creating a ‘motivational wall’ where they can stick up inspiring quotes or colourful images can motivate staff.
At Expedia, the travel giant has created a wall of employees’ travel photos that greets visitors when they walk into the reception of the building.
[Image source: employee photo from Glassdoor.co.uk of Expedia’s office]
Building great employee experiences through workspaces
There’s a reason why the top ranked ‘best companies to work for’ invest heavily in the design and aesthetics of their office spaces – they realize that poor design can affect employee morale and can also stop them from being successful in the search for new talent. Providing a vibrant, modern, fit-for-purpose environment will ensure companies remain an attractive proposition for both existing and future employees.
Yet, it's important to realize that simply having a create physical environment alone doesn’t equate to being an attractive place to work.
These companies aren’t seen as good employers because they build attractive looking workplaces. This is just one of many ways that they build great employee experiences.
Google’s HR and people team, for example, use people analytics and are known as the People Operations team (or, POps). They state that they ‘live by the mantra “find them, grow them, keep them” to staff, develop and build a distinct and inclusive culture’.
Ultimately, having a great space isn’t what makes a good employer. But it's usually an indication that they’re a company who seriously consider employee experiences – and that’s what candidates and other employers should sit up and take notice of.
To find out more about how you can engage your people, and empower them to do their best work, watch our on-demand webinar "5 tricks to build great workforce experiences".
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