Can office design improve employee retention?

Archilogic helps office providers better understand and visualise their spaces through 3D floor plans, office design simulations and data analytics. Here we look at how office designers can help their clients retain their teams through creative office design.

The world of work today is dominated by a new generation of workers who need their office environment to be as flexible as their working lives. By next year it is estimated that Millennials (defined loosely as people up to the age of 35) will comprise more than half of the global workforce and their approach to work is quite different from that of previous generations.

Office culture is important for the growing millennial workforce

The Deloitte Millennials survey found that 66% of Millennials expect to leave their firm in less than 5 years, and nearly half (44%) in less than 2 years. Of all workforce generations, they are the least likely to stay with an employer if they think the environment isn’t a good fit.

Physical office space is a reflection of a business’s culture, so how can you create an office layout that helps reflect the ethos of your client's workforce, to more effectively help them retain talent?

The keywords to bear in mind when designing spaces for this workforce are flexibility, freedom, and face time.

Flexibility: Make sure your workspace reflects work trends

The best way to arrive at a suitable office design is to let their team help you create it. Millennials are active collaborators with companies. Ask their opinion. After all, they are the ultimate users of your design. You can get better engagement from your clients by letting them be your co-creators.

Share and test. Today’s technology-enabled workforce expects to be able to try out products online. Not only does a 3D floor plan allow you to showcase your work to your clients, it also enables them to review it and make suggestions, as well as sharing it more broadly with their peers. Make it easy to test out scenarios with your clients and they will respond with the design feedback you are looking for.

Freedom: Creative office layouts match modern behavior

Banks of static workspaces are no longer suitable for this changing workforce but a simple open plan may not be the solution either. Consider designing a range of dedicated space types – areas for working collaboratively, space for concentrating alone, rooms for private conversations, even space for mental health and meditation. Some 84% of Millennials say they have experienced burnout in their jobs, and nearly half have left a role because of it – so areas to de-stress are important.

Millennials are well known as technology adopters but the very newest generation of workers, Generation Z (roughly under the age of 25), uses more devices than any other. They employ an average of five screens in the course of their day. Staying constantly connected is clearly essential for these workers. Make sure your office layout provides enough space for these screens. Don’t forget to include crucial charging points so that their devices can remain powered up wherever they are.

Face time: It’s not always an online conversation

Despite being the group that was born into a fully technology-enabled world, Generation Z workers – perhaps surprisingly – are not perpetually tethered to their devices. When it comes to workplace conversations, they prefer to have face-to-face chats with their managers and their colleagues, rather than via email or phone.

Can your office plan facilitate those face-to-face conversations by offering up meeting rooms and break-out spaces? There’s no need to guess – with today’s technology you can quantify it with an online tool for digital floor plans. Measure the ratio of people to the number of meeting rooms to ascertain whether there are enough spaces designed for those conversations.

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