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4 Things Employees Want From An Office

Workplace needs will change as technology, economies and life as we know it evolves radically. But, the way we use space cannot be decoupled from the people in it.

To put this into practice, strive to keep tailoring your space to your employees, their workstyles and their wants. Even, and especially, if you’re not exactly sure what they are.

Below, see four stories on what employees want and how the workplace can and should shift to meet them.

1. Privacy (even in an open office)

Open offices save on costs but skimp on privacy—and employee comfort as a result. Bringing privacy to open plan offices highlights that while open office design is meant to increase engagement, engagement “only flourishes when you have the choice to avoid it.” After riding the wave of open offices (and their ensuing crash), companies are realizing that balance is best.  It’s about creating space that fosters a spectrum of experiences.

A well-designed space offers room to escape via an activity-based layout. Employees can work how and where they want and feel empowered by management to actually go there.

2. Limited visual distraction

In Why you can’t concentrate at work from the Wall Street Journal (sub), Sue Shellenbarger talks visual noise—another issue with open office design. Once you find a quiet place to sit, activity visible in your periphery can still thwart concentration. Studies indicate this is a less-voiced complaint than privacy or excess sound. But remember, just because your people don’t articulate the problem, doesn’t mean it should go unsolved.

If you have an activity-based office, help cut the visual clutter—and enhance your people’s productivity—by minimizing sight lines with plants, half walls, fabric panels and curved layouts.

3. Space designed with them in mind

Your workplace is for your people, right?  So it stands to reason that more and more, HR is joining real estate conversations. This way they can help determine the best way to design space for the workforce. According to Ed Nolan (JLL’s Managing Director of Workplace Strategy) said factors like sick time, time to hire and retention rates are being considered along with dollars per square foot.

Additional takeaways from the event reinforced that workplace improvements (whether in sustainability, technology or flexible space) are ultimately about the employees.

4. Outside options to collaborate

Collaboration in the office is a must, and now more companies are understanding the value in connecting outside the workplace, too. The “premium” coworking trend has swept large organizations for a number of reasons. It caters to established professionals like business travelers, high-growth organizations that want to keep offices smaller for P&L reasons and innovative organizations that want to expose employees to outside entrepreneurs.

While startups have certainly pioneered the coworking trend to share space (and costs) with other entrepreneurs, the added interest from corporations has caused the shared office to become hotter than ever, with 1.2 million coworkingCoworking is just one piece of a larger trend toward creating space where people feel happy, healthy and connected.

Learn more about designing your office to enhance productivity.

And learn more about working with your employees to design the best possible space.

Key Tower is Cleveland’s premier workspace for growing and established corporations. Let us help you plan out your office design! Fill out the form in the footer to schedule your tour.

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