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6 Things Your Workplace Needs that Future Employees are Looking For

By Lauren Elliott, RID, NCIDQ

May 2, 2022

 

Now more than ever, employers are realizing that the physical office must become a destination. With so many of us having the opportunity to work remote, organizations are now facing this hard question. How do we make people want to come back to work? The answer is simple, make the office a place people want to be. This means rethinking how your office functioned prior to work from home requirements. Below are the six things we’ve identified as being key drivers in bringing people back to the office.

 

Flexibility

The first, and most significant aspect to a successful workplace is flexibility. Technology along with a global pandemic have brought remote work to the forefront, and the traditional workspaces no longer makes sense for every employee. Having a variety of workspaces within the workplace is a great solution for this! Many organizations are shifting to a hybrid office model. One that supports both focus and collaborative work on demand. The hybrid office offers ultimate flexibility and allows employees to work how and where they want for the day, depending on the tasks at hand. Another key part of flexibility is technology. Give your staff the ability to easily plug and play no matter where they are working in the office. Also consider integrating video technology throughout the office, this makes it easy to connect with remote team members for easy collaboration. Be flexible with your employees and give them the freedom to work in a space that suits them best.

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Health & Wellbeing

Another draw for employees is having access to spaces that support physical and mental health. Not every office can build a full gym for their employees, but there are plenty of options today that are much more feasible – like providing access to the outdoors, walking trails, and providing subsidized memberships to nearby gyms. It’s also beneficial to offer healthy food options and fresh, clean water, as simple as those benefits may seem. Aside from physical health, companies can offer mental health services and private spaces for employees to take the time and space they need for a quick break. These spaces might include a relaxation, wellness or meditation space. Lastly, we’re also seeing many property managers and building owners invest in upgraded building systems. These systems focusing on improving indoor air quality with increased filtration, greater intake of fresh air and increased humidification.

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Nature & Light

Two very significant elements of a thriving workspace is the connection to nature and natural light. Studies have shown that employees who have access to natural elements in their work environment are proven to be happier and more productive. Offering plant walls, outdoor patio spaces, or large windows can be great options to connect employees with nature. Lighting also has proven to have positive effects on employee productivity. Natural lighting can be brought in through skylights, while different types of LED lighting can bring warmth and comfort throughout the workplace. Back to choice and flexibility, providing something as simple as task lighting at a worksurface is another great way to give employees control over their environment.

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Sustainability

Also, very important and something that has become increasingly significant in the past several years is sustainability. Using more sustainable and healthier materials in the design of your office is a great way to promote sustainability and wellbeing in the office. You can also be more sustainable in smaller ways, such as providing employees with reusable coffee mugs instead of Styrofoam cups or decorating your office with artwork made of sustainable materials. This also includes looking at the way you maintain your space. Are your maintenance and cleaning protocols also supporting sustainability?

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Amenity Spaces

Aside from taking care of your employees’ health and work needs, it is also highly beneficial to provide them with inspiration for their innovation and creativity. Again, make the office a destination! Provide spaces where people can come together and connect. Let these areas support your company culture and your staff. Community hubs are a great way to support community and offer up some unique amenities to your staff. This could include a coffee bar, snack shack, ping pong table, and so much more. Don’t be afraid to ask what people want and build your amenity spaces around these wants.

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Location

Finally, location has become so important. We’re seeing that people want that connection with their local community. When they make the trip into the office, they can also take advantage of visiting shops, restaurants and other local venues that surround their workplace. We now have to make the commute worthwhile, if not people are more likely to work from home. For this reason, we’re seeing more organizations relocate to downtown areas to take advantage of this community connection.

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The workplace itself, along with peoples’ perceptions of the workplace, is changing.  But that doesn’t mean the workplace is disappearing; on the contrary, people are realizing that they need one another to thrive, especially in their jobs. What we can do is provide an even better workplace than before, particularly by offering flexibility, healthy options, access to nature, sustainable options, and spaces to relax and have fun. Not only do these things increase productivity, but even better, they result in happier, healthier employees. Start thinking about the future of your workplace today!

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