According to a recent study by Steelcase, workplace disengagement is a widespread problem around the world. In fact, one-third of employees across 17 major global economies are disengaged.
There’s reason for business leaders to be worried about this: The study also found a strong positive correlation between employee engagement and company profits. Furthermore, there’s also a link between office environment and productivity, which affects engagement and profits, too.
A well-designed office can make or break a team’s productivity, and great offices can actually improve overall productivity by about 20 percent. While productive employees can increase a company’s profits — at Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For listed in 2014, revenue had increased the previous year by more than 22 percent on average — disengaged workers cost U.S. businesses up to a whopping $550 billion each year.
Why Redesign At All?
Besides preventing an office from becoming outdated, revitalizing your office space can also help tell your brand’s story. Every company has a story, and the employees live it and share it every day — and it all begins at the office.
When you consider who at the organization is most familiar with your brand’s story, you have to turn to the marketing team. The marketers and brand strategists are the ones who actually created the company’s story (and are spending most of their time convincing customers to believe it). Thus, they’re a perfect fit for developing the messaging and tools to tell your brand’s story in an interesting and inspiring way.
In telling your brand’s story, it’s important to think about your “why.” Why does your company exist? What are you trying to accomplish? Why should your customers care about your story, and how can your office design reflect all of this?
Companies Doing It Right
Determining your brand’s story and the right way to tell it through your office design is tricky. The wrong design can attract the wrong type of employees (or worse, cause your best employees to leave for companies with better office designs), which can cause a drop in productivity and a loss in profit.
But to design an attractive office space, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel — get started by looking at a few companies doing a great job, and follow their lead.
Take Google, for instance. Famous for its perks including free food, gym memberships, and bowling alleys, the tech giant even hired a chief happiness officer to ensure every employee is as happy and productive as possible. One of the keys to Google’s cultural success is allowing its employees to be creative, because creative work environments lead to creative work.
Other brands are taking notice of Google’s strategy. Dell, for example, recently renovated its 22-year-old campus in Texas. What formerly consisted of drab gray cubicles is now filled with wide open layouts, fashionable desks and furniture, and lots of lighting to make it more attractive to younger employees in the competitive Austin market.
And it’s not just tech giants looking to revamp their workspaces with startup-like vibes. Financial services firm Sterling Partners in Chicago realized that many younger workers are choosing to focus on more “exciting” careers in the tech industry, so the brand made the leap to renovate its downtown office to attract younger talent with a mind for numbers and a yearning for a creative environment.
Designing To Encourage Creativity
As executives ponder how, exactly, they can create work environments that encourage creativity and boost productivity, they must consider a few things.
First, it’s important to plan everything before you begin making renovations. Consider your customer journey as well as your guest journey , and think about how you want workers and guests to experience your company. Will your new design give the best impression of how your organization works? Or does a disconnect exist between what they see and what you want them to see?
Also, when it comes time to start renovating, you don’t need to break the bank. Even something as simple as custom artwork showcasing your story, messaging, or values can give the office a sense of originality, making employees and guests alike feel like part of a family.
Taking The Renovation Leap
When it comes time to make the leap and revitalize your office, here a few steps to ensure the transition goes smoothly:
1. Define What Success Looks Like.
Just as it’s important to plan your design ahead of time and ensure it aligns with your employee and guest journeys, it’s also important to define your ultimate goals.
Lock down the values, purpose, and story you want to share with your employees, and then double-check your messaging to be sure everything is in sync. Prioritize the areas of the office that are most important, and then determine which messages are the most critical and try to line those two up as much as possible. This will really drive home your most important messages and make the experience the best it can be.
2. Establish A Budget.
You can’t do much of anything without a budget and a timeline, and these two things will also determine how far you can push the design and execution.
The best way to ensure your budget remains intact throughout the renovation is by selecting the right partner to help bring your story to life. Take everything you’ve learned about the messages you want to be sharing, and work with a design expert who can survey each space and work with you to produce ideas and determine realistic renovation costs.
3. Celebrate And Promote.
After your renovation has been completed, it’s time to celebrate! But the work isn’t over yet. You can’t simply redesign your entire office and expect everything else to fall into place automatically.
You’ll need to educate your staff about the changes and explain what the new experience will look like. Then, you’ll have to get the word out to the public through press releases, social media, or your sales and marketing team. Relentless self-promotion is not a crime. In fact, telling the world that you have a brand new engaging office space can attract more employees, customers, and clients.
All business leaders should be thinking about how to better engage employees and improve productivity. Revitalizing your office space can boost creativity and make the team happier – and that leads to healthy brands.