If your workplace is having difficulty hiring and retaining quality talent, HR should take a look around them – literally – as a simple office makeover could be all it takes to engage existing staff and attract new workers.
Serge Kotlyarov, CEO of office space search engine JAGONAL says that since the average worker spends over a third of their waking hours at the office, a great workspace is a critical factor for staff retention.
“A great working environment can make a major difference in terms of how engaged someone feels at work, the types of interactions they have with their colleagues, even how well they sleep at night,” Kotlyarov said.
“For this reason, it is becoming a critical factor in terms of retention,” he says.
“It used to be that office space was just office space but tech companies like Google and Facebook are leading an office space arms race in the war for talent. Once your competitors have cool offices, it becomes difficult to compete for staff who value that.”
Firemen’s poles, beer tent meeting rooms, collaboration pods and space-age escalators are featured in some of the world’s coolest office spaces, according to jobs website Adzuna.
With a recent Gallup poll finding that most people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers, Kotlyarov says that would add that they leave their offices too.
He says office location, design and features can give employers an edge over their competition.
And while in-house Jacuzzi’s and gleaming industrial kitchens might be beyond the budget of some companies, Kotlyarov says office improvements can be made at many levels.
“On the low budget scale, tech workers need good coffee so they love a good coffee machine,”
“Employers can consider getting a professional barista coffee machine and allowing them to grind their own beans,” he says.
On the high budget scale, sleep-deprived employees working long hours will appreciate a place to nap.
Facebook famously has sleep pods and in SEEK’s China offices, the lights turn off at lunchtime the lights and people can roll out their deck chairs to sleep.
“Additionally, tech workers would love having distractions such as food and laundry taken care of so they can focus on coding and technology.
“For example, Campaign Monitor has hired a classically trained chef and developed a special purpose app for its in-house cafeteria,” Kotlyarov says.
Other everyday considerations include end of trip facilities like showers, lockers and bike racks to allow your staff to incorporate health and fitness into their workday.
“Cycling to work in the morning means employees arrive energised and pumped full of endorphins rather than tired and groggy,” Kotlyarov says.
“Similarly lunch time gym sessions help keep staff focused and productive through the afternoon.”
On the practical side of things, employers also need to ensure their funky new office modifications still meet workplace health and safety standards, so parachutes from the penthouse to the carpark are best kept on paper, and not in practice.
“Health and safety is a major consideration,” Kotlyarov says.
“It’s really about getting your health and safety stakeholders working closely with the team that is designing and fitting out the new funky workplace.”
Sleep pods, fantastic coffee and freshly folded laundry are just some of the incentives employers can use to attract the best and brightest workers to their workplace.