How engaged is your workforce?
We all know how much better we perform an activity when we are motivated and engaged. In the workplace, truly engaged staff do not regard work as simply payment for a certain number of hours; they really care about the outcome and results of their efforts. Think about the customer satisfaction and profits possible from a 100% engaged workforce! Fortunately, there are well-researched office design principles to help you achieve this during your next office fit-out or workplace refurbishment.
The Evoke Projects’ team have been discussing Anetta Pizag’s book, Create a Thriving Workspace, which covers office design strategies for an ‘engaging business’. There are many thought-provoking points in the book, and we have highlighted some key considerations for your next office fit-out or refurbishment.
1. Office design that works in one place may not work in another
This may seem obvious, but as one case study in Pizag’s book points out, there are many IT companies that set out to copy Google’s office design principles without thinking about why. Not every IT company needs ‘meeting bikes’ or an office refurbishment to accommodate on-site day care.
Having said that, Pizag refers to the ‘Best Places to Work in Australia’ awards and notes that free lunches and family friendly policies were common factors in all companies that performed well in these awards. At Evoke Projects, we find that family friendly companies usually include flexible working models such as work from home days and office designs that include hot desking or activity based working. We can advise you on activity based working zones during your next office fit-out.
2. The office design either supports or interferes with workplace culture
Every business has its own culture. A positive culture supports engagement through open communication and trusting and caring relationships amongst staff.
During plans for an office refurbishment or a new office fit-out, Pizag advises us to align the office space with the culture. She reminds us that we draw meaning from our space in terms of what we are supposed to do while at work. The interior design also dictates what we can do and how we can interact with others. An office design that sends the right messages and facilitates the work flow can enhance workplace performance and engagement.
If you want to create a free-flowing, engaging office, Evoke Projects recommends an open plan office design with modular partitions to create private spaces where required. Also consider Pizag’s comment that managers in open offices and those who are physically present in the office are regarded more positively by employees than those in enclosed offices.
3. Engagement is improved with better work-life integration
Pizag discusses the concept of better ‘work-life integration’, where there is less separation between work and life. This challenges the theory that fun starts when work ends. It invites people to bring some of their authentic selves to work so they feel truly engaged with their workplace and their colleagues.
From an office design point of view, bringing life into work can mean anything from more social spaces such as breakout zones to themed spaces or recreational areas. Breakout areas that include plants, water features, views and natural light will make a space feel more like home.
Pizag recommends finding inspiration from naturally engaging spaces. For example, during your next office refurbishment or fit-out, create an office that resembles part of a neighbourhood, with areas that feel like home, a café, a sporting facility, a market or a park. If you have limited space, a wall mural is a space-efficient method of conveying a theme.
Try to find new ways to encourage informal interaction, which can lead to better collaboration and a feeling of belonging. Pizag mentions some interesting research from Google that shows 4.5 minutes is the optimum time for employees to wait for a coffee and feel inclined to chat with other waiting colleagues. There is a challenge for your coffee machine!
Please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out more about office design, fit-outs and office refurbishment to create a more engaging business.