Home Away from Home: Three Ways Your Office Space Can Help You Retain Employees


As companies enter an all-out recruiting war and seek ways to keep their best employees, they may be overlooking an important factor: their office space.


“Innovative design, more than ever, is required to recruit and keep great talent,” writes Jeff Pochepan for Inc. “An office is not a separate environment the individual visits: it’s often part of the individual’s identity and company culture.”


If your employees are both introverts and extroverts, if they take on different sorts of tasks throughout the day and if you have telecommuters working in the office periodically, you owe it to them to evaluate the physical space where they work, writes Jeanne Meister for Forbes.


Eighty-three percent of HR leaders surveyed by the Future Workplace and Beyond ranked the employee experience as important to their organization’s success, Meister writes, and 51 percent said they’re investing more in work spaces.


“A work space is not just a building, but part of the HR agenda to extend the company’s culture and engage employees,” Meister writes.


Here are three steps to take to make sure your space is meeting employee needs.


  1. Consider your culture


“As a company grows and can afford to invest in a good workspace, the environment should become a tangible manifestation of the company culture,” writes Shannon Gausepohl for Business News Daily. That means creating a workspace that reflects your values and allows employees to feel like they’re a meaningful part of your organization.


How will you know? Ask them, then incorporate their feedback.


“Perform an audit to make sure … their personal workspace meets their productivity and comfort levels,” Pochepan writes.


  1. Think beyond the desk


Your employees are likely diverse and versatile people, and their immediate workspaces should reflect those differences. Simple desks are likely not cutting it.


“Adjustable height desks, treadmill workstations, data-integrated personal tables, and wireless desks are swiftly dominating modern commercial workspaces for one simple reason: they adapt to the employee’s needs, they don’t require the employee to adapt to it,” Pochepan writes.


  1. Provide alternatives to open floor plans


“Office furniture retailer Steelcase and research firm Ipsos found that nearly 90 percent of workers around the world are less than satisfied with their work environments, primarily due to a lack of privacy,” Gausepohl writes. “Open-office plans are great for facilitating collaboration and transparency, but these setups also make privacy and focus a real challenge for today’s workers.”


You might consider adding acoustical pods to open floor plans, which can provide meeting spaces for two to six people, Pochepan writes. And adding other options can make your open office more welcoming, too.


“Try smaller ‘hobbit hole’ spaces such as enclaves with padded benches, acoustic couches, a long communal table for lunch or telecommuters, the modern version of old-school desk attachments to rolling chairs, and general seating that helps employees feel comfier,” Pochepan writes.