Are your premises driving away good staff?

Your workplace environment could actually be hindering the efficiency of your employees, even leading them to quit. How can you make improvements and keep your employees?

It can be difficult to ensure that your workplace allows employees to work efficiently, especially with how layouts have evolved over the last decade.

Richard deVries, director of DCI Partnership, says that a significant number of business environments are outdated for modern productivity standards and employee expectations.

“There are many companies that are coming out of environments that were put together five or ten years ago, that really don't fit the way people work today,” says Richard, speaking on the My Business Podcast.

“Looking at … workstations, they're perhaps a bit old. We don't work with CRT monitors anymore, so an L-shaped workstation with a monitor in the corner is not always the most appropriate way to work.”

An employee about to knock on a door, with a sceptical look on his faceAccording to Richard, the current trend in business layouts is to facilitate efficient collaboration, no matter where an employee is in the workplace.

“There's a big emphasis on collaboration, teamwork and giving staff areas where they can break out without necessarily having to leave the building to go and grab a cup of coffee,” he says.

To update your layout, Richard suggests examining how your current workstations are utilised in order to maximise the collaboration potential of new workstations.

“How many people sit in a cluster and what is around them? Where can they go to sit with a colleague and chat? Where can they break out? Maybe [install] some soft-seating areas; there's a whole bunch of things we can do,” he says.

Why update?

Updating a workplace is all well and good for making it modern and aesthetically pleasing, but doing so can also be an investment in employee retention.

For example, Richard says ensuring you have an up-to-date workplace can give employees flexibility in where and how they work.

“There's a great buzzword around at the moment … It's called ‘activity-based working’,” he explains.

“What it really means is about having a workspace that is appropriate and gives flexibility, and that is the key to it today: that people have the flexibility. They can get up, take their laptop, go and work in a kitchen environment, in a soft-seating environment [or] on a coffee table.

“It's about having the systems to support that, and that's one of the results of having IT where it is today, is we can have that flexibility.”

According to Richard, a decade ago workplaces were restricted to power points: if you didn’t have a power point, you could not work. With the advent of mobile and wireless technology, however, work can be performed virtually anywhere.

As such, a refresh of your business premises could help to boost efficiencies and productivity, as well as reduce staff turnover.

“There's always … this perhaps implied threat that if the workplace isn't good enough, ‘I'll pick up and go and work for one of the big guys’,” says Richard.

“So there's perhaps a more aggressive desire ... for a workspace that ticks all the boxes.

“Ten years ago, it was about having a nice tea room, lunch room, workstations that were big enough, a couple of meeting rooms, and that was about it. But these days, people want so much more. And they expect it.”

Hear more insights on managing commercial fit-outs on the My Business Podcast now!

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