Employee engagement has turned into a constant battle for companies of all sizes. The seminal study of employee engagement, conducted by Gallup back in 2015, found that only 32 percent of employees in the United States considered themselves engaged at work.
When people aren’t involved and enthusiastic about their work, it costs their companies money. A separate Gallup poll estimated that actively disengaged employees were costing U.S. businesses $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.
How companies account for employee engagement in office design
There are plenty of proposed solutions–from selecting managers with the knowledge and talent to support their teams to implementing objective performance measurement frameworks such as OKRs. But there’s another potential fix that’s as tangible as you can get: creating an inspiring workspace.
Architecture and design firm Gensler surveyed more than 6,000 people working full-time across the United States to determine what amenities had the greatest impact on effectiveness and experience. Topping the list were those that directly supported the work needs of individual employees and their teams. Lounges and break rooms were shown to have small impacts on experience and effectiveness, while designing spaces for team collaboration, group meetings, and focused solo work had much higher effectiveness and experience scores.
Campari’s office environment fix
Gensler put those findings to the test when they designed the North American headquarters for Campari Group, a leading spirits company that’s home to SKYY vodka, Wild Turkey bourbon, and of course, Campari liqueur. The New York office has a series of “bars” that double as reception areas, employee cafeterias, or coffee shops, but also serve to give people an alternate way to collaborate and interact away from their workstations.
One of the quickest ways for medium and large businesses to transform their workspace is by moving into a headquarters by WeWork private office. Companies don’t move their employees into a private large office suite in a WeWork-branded and managed coworking space; instead, they can choose from a number of smaller white-labeled locations leased and managed by WeWork. The result is that businesses retain privacy– both physical and digital–and brand identity — with their names instead of WeWork’s on the front door– while still getting the hassle-free managed services bundled pricing that WeWork offers its large office customers. WeWork builds out the space behind the scenes, providing desks and chairs, conference rooms, lounge areas, IT infrastructure, utilities, security, and other services to get the team into the space up and running faster.
Oscar’s office environment fix
Health insurance startup Oscar recently worked with WeWork to design a space for its 500-plus employees in New York. The result included amenities that matched Oscar’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle: a large room that can be used for yoga and other classes, and showers for those who bike to work. There are also small lounges with reconfigurable furniture arrangements, as well as a central library “quiet zone.”
When employees enjoy spending time at work and feel energized by their environment, satisfaction goes up. A recent study by industry groups for interior designers and furnituremakers found that employees satisfied with their workplaces are more engaged, more supportive of co-workers, and less likely to quit. While another survey by professional services firm Aon revealed a “fun place to work” and a “flexible work environment” were among the top reasons a company stands out.
With the workforce as competitive as ever, people have more choice over their work environment. It makes sense that companies would make an inspiring workspace one of the key elements of their employee engagement strategy.
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