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Three office design ideas for the modern employee experience

A recent New York Times article explores the disconnect between what employees want and what they get when they come into the workplace, mirroring findings from our Global Workplace Insights report Returning for Good.

To create spaces employees want to come back into, many employers are redesigning workspaces to look “Instagrammable”—adding fake plants, accent walls, and upholstered furniture. Our data shows this strategy doesn't address what employees actually need and want from the workplace. How can companies improve the office experience for their people?

1. Create a home-like environment

Employees appreciate the focus the home office provides. People who work from home spend almost half (44%) of their workday doing individual or deep concentration work. To support these tasks in the workplace, companies can provide a mix of space types that support employees’ different roles and work functions.

Workplaces should include amenities to compete with the home office. In our client Arup’s new office, employees have access to bike and scooter storage, shower facilities, socialization areas, and ergonomic furniture.

2. Enable productivity

Although 83% of employers believe their offices support productivity, 58% of employees say they struggle to complete tasks in the workplace due to interruptions and the number of in-person meetings. And, although access to technology is a major priority for office workers (39%), employees say it can be difficult to find a desk and monitors if they don’t come into the office early. 

Space planning, flexible work areas, and a strong tech set can increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

3. Understanding what employees value

Current office setups don’t provide employees with the same level the privacy and focus they're getting from home. For example, although hot-desking is the main setup for nearly half of workers, 83% of employees who hot desk said they would come into the office more if they had a dedicated desk space. 58% of employees feel they can’t complete their core job effectively and 31% dislike the lack of privacy. 

To increase employee satisfaction and ultimately employee retention, having areas that support “me” functions, “we” functions, and “us” functions allows workers to access different spaces throughout the day, whether it’s private pods, small meeting rooms, town halls, or cafes.      

Creating an alluring office isn’t about bringing in stylish bookshelves and painting colorful walls—it's about considering employees’ wants and needs and adding the spaces and amenities that allow them to do their best work. To learn how to optimize your office to accommodate your workforce, get in touch with our experts here.