On the news this morning, they were discussing the job market. There are apparently parts of the country which are at full employment and skill shortages in certain areas are beginning to emerge. As we slowly climb out of recession, the economy has turned into an employees’ market. I was speaking to one of my clients, a recruitment company, a couple weeks ago and they were saying that candidates are asking, where the offices are and what are they like? Before they will even go for an interview. So does your work environment make a difference?
Research on this has been carried out on this, both sides of the pond and the undisputed answer is ‘Yes!’ A Robert Half survey have revealed that over a third of executives see the working environment as the most crucial factor in keeping an employee satisfied in today’s business world, compared to just 9% in 1993. And with the internet awash with pictures of Google, Hootsuite and Facebook’s funky offices, it is understandable that young people particularly, want to see themselves in similar environments.
I went to see another company this week who have already invested considerably in their office interior and have further grand plans. They are a young, dynamic technology company whose success depends on them attracting bright, young people. They expect a lot from their employees so are prepared to provide them with a home (or better!) from home.
Technology has blurred the lines between our work and private lives, our work fulfils our need to belong and gives us a sense of identity. What our work environment looks like, what is says about our employer and ultimately about us, is extremely important. So the bottom line is, if you want to grab the attention of the best people, your work environment has to reflect you, your values and attract the kind of employees you want to engage.
So what can you do, well establishing and celebrating your brand identity is crucial. It should be obvious where you are and what you are about from the moment you walk into your workplace. Find out what it is that attracts people to your company and celebrate it. Whether it is your history, location, customer list or culture, shout about it, be proud of who you are. What you want to promote will depend on you and your market, but you should feed your employees, clients and partners with information about you and what you are about.
Windows and natural sunlight boosts vitamin D production, which puts people in a good mood. Windows also gives people a view outside, which reduces the feeling of being cut off from the world, and encourages creative thinking. You may not be blessed which a beautiful view from your windows, so consider painting one!
Colour is incredibly important for altering mood; reds and oranges raise blood pressure, promote sociability and brain activity, whereas greens and blues are calming. Pink is known to reduce aggression so can be particularly effective in male dominated, high stress environments.
Open communication is cited as an important factor in chosing an employer, so try to find creative ways of allowing employees to have a say. A chalkboard or whiteboard on the kitchen or staffroom to encourage feedback can be an invaluable tool.
It doesn’t have to be a major refurbishment either, a study in US showed that men are 30% more creative when they have plants in their immediate vicinity. And encouraging communication and mindfulness through art is a relatively straight forward process.
So if your business depends on it’s people, and let’s face it, whose doesn’t? Why not create an environment that people will clammer to work in? It will reap it’s rewards.
If you would like to discuss your office interior with someone who is a curious mix of artist, designer and marketeer, let’s have a coffee.