Being happy in your career is the foundation to being successful. As Albert Schweitzer said, “success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
In today’s world, happiness at work is even more important than it used to be. The millennial generation have high expectations of their career and their employer. It’s no longer enough just to like your job, millennials want to be truly happy with the whole experience. Happiness at work is impacted in a myriad of ways; from salary and people, all the way through to the office environment.
Does the office environment REALLY make a difference to your business?
Some office environments can often leave much to be desired. Desks and cubicles crammed in together, it can seem like companies are trying to utilise every inch of floor space. But space, pleasant surroundings and natural light are essential.
Of course, making improvements costs time and money and is just one of many priorities. But how much of a difference can a working environment really make?
Chain reaction from employee well-being to productivity & retention
The first thing to understand is that employees’ health, wellness and job satisfaction are linked to their environment. If you look at some of the research around this idea, for example Gensler’s UK review into the workplace that identifies how ‘poorly designed, open-plan environments are negatively affecting 8+ million UK workers’, it quickly becomes clear that there is a chain reaction when an environment is improved.
Once the surroundings change, employees begin to feel more comfortable, engagement and motivation increase, followed by improved performance and productivity, along with job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction is one of the key factors for employee retention. This is especially important in a time where people may put quick career progression ahead of loyalty.
How switched on are employers to their employees’ environmental needs?
An MD from a leading office design company explains how companies are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of environment on their employees and they are working towards making improvements.
“Today’s office has developed into one which provides employees with a space in which they can conduct focused work, socialise, collaborate and more. The removal of walls – both physical and psychological has led to a major change in office design and the distinct boundaries that existed between ‘the office’ and ‘the home’ have in many ways been removed.
Many companies are looking to provide a more ‘homely’ feel to the office through enhanced office design. Primarily led by the tech companies such as Google, this design trend is now apparent in firms even within traditional sectors.’”
He believes there are 3 key reasons behind this employer attitude:
- Staff attraction & retention
- A desire to ‘give back’ to employees working long and possibly unsociable hours
- An aim to foster a collaborative and interactive style of working
Case Study: Leading FMCG brand moves offices
A new environment bring rewards with improved employee retention and engagement
A client of ours that has recently moved offices found their new environment had a big impact on their employees. They identified that their old offices were not “fit for purpose”. In the new office there is a focus on layout and privacy, with “plenty of flexible working space and phone booths for private calls”, making it as easy as possible for employees to be comfortable and work productively.
Our client believes that their new office environment had a visible effect on their ability to attract and retain talent and improve employee engagement levels. ”Our retention rates are high, but we have seen a marked difference in our engagement scores over the last two years since the move.” He acknowledges that there are many factors which impact talent retention, but believes that this can be strongly attributed to the new environment.
To build upon the success of the new offices, the business has a team of committee members who regularly feedback on suggested improvements, making sure that ”any frustrations or concerns don’t go unnoticed.”
Prioritising the office environment
It’s clear that there is a direct link between office environment and employee engagement, productivity and retention.
Some businesses are striving to make improvements, while there are still others that could benefit from giving their office a little more TLC.
In the long-run, as industry professionals point out, investing in improving the working environment can make a real difference. Invest now and reap the rewards of increased productivity and improved retention for years to come.