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To engage or escape – the decision your employees make every day

That might sound a bit dramatic, but think about it… We all approach a task with one of two attitudes. We either engage with the task, giving it our full attention and caring about the outcome. Alternatively, we focus on getting a job done so we’re free to do something else. Engage or escape.

It won’t come as any surprise that engaged employees are more productive. Evoke Projects looks at how your office design and fit-out can make or break employee engagement.

How does employee engagement affect your business?

Gensler’s U.S. Workplace Survey 2019 sums it up: “Great workplaces create more engaged employees; and more engaged employees are the key to business productivity and profit.”1 Companies with top quartile engagement have 21% higher profit, 41% lower absenteeism and 10% higher customer loyalty. 2

Office design and fit-out contributes highly to overall engagement

In Gensler’s survey, the workers with the highest engagement score described their workplace as having “high effectiveness” and providing a “great experience”. Many of the respondents highlighted office design and office fit-out elements as drivers of a great experience.

Variety and choice are important

At Evoke Projects, we often write about Activity Based Working (ABW). An ABW office design model has work zones for different activities. In the Gensler survey, 79% of people in workplaces with a variety of settings and 71% of people with choice in where to work reported a great workplace experience. Variety and choice within the office fit-out clearly influence employee engagement.

As well as different work zones within the office, flexible working is another way to create choice. Giving employees flexible hours, the opportunity to work from home or at a co-working space frees them from a regimented daily commute. Extra time in their day gives people the physical and mental energy to engage with their work.

Company perks help employees achieve work-life balance

In Randstad’s 2019 report on Australia’s best workplaces, work-life balance was found to be “the single most important reason for employees to stay in their roles”.3

As well as flexible working for work-life balance, company perks are important. In fact, Qantas claimed Randstad’s top spot for the best employer, due partly to generous benefits and discounted staff travel. Family friendly and health related benefits are always popular, e.g. discounted gym memberships, healthy food options and in-office shoulder massages. You could even create your own small gym or a ‘bring your child to work’ room during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.

A balance between open plan working and privacy helps engagement

Open plan vs private office is a debate that will probably never go away. Perhaps that’s because most people like a balance between the two (the Gensler survey states that 77% of respondents wanted somewhere between the two extremes). Winning office-fit-outs appear to be those “that are mostly open environments but provide ample on-demand private space”. At Evoke Projects, we find that most new fit-out or office refurbishment clients take our advice to have a mix of spaces, so this is great news.

Get back to nature

Natural light, water features, pot plants, outside work areas and window views are naturally engaging. Employees feel more at home if their senses are nurtured. During your next office fit-out or office refurbishment, talk to your office design company about biophilic office design, which is nature-inspired and supports well-being.

On the subject of well-being, healthy people are more likely to be engaged at work. The WELL Building StandardTM has ten concepts (Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community) that support wellness and employee engagement.4

For office fit-outs and office refurbishments that make employees want to engage, not escape, please call Evoke Projects’ office design team on 1300 720 692.

1. Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey 2019
2. Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey 2019 citing Gallup Q12 Meta-Analysis
3. Randstad’s Employer Brand Research 2019 cited in
4. WELL Building Standard )

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