"People and property are your best [business] assets", say workplace designers Morgan Lovell. Great companies, big and small, see their functional, high-quality office as a direct recruitment draw for the best employees.
According to Morgan Lovell, office space is a key factor in the employment and retention of great talent. A job with a better quality office could be more attractive to your desired employees than a job with a better salary but less amenable facilities. But what exactly do employees feel constitutes quality in the workplace?
Often championed by forward-thinking tech companies, open-plan offices have spread across a variety of industries and are designed to be modern, attractive and innovative. Made to encourage those all-important ‘employee collisions’ and foster great ideas, they do however, come with a noise caveat.
In a recent survey of ‘High-Performing Employees’, 54% said they found their office space too distracting. Other people’s conversations, interruptions and general office noise all slow productivity and frustrate those working on problem solving. Employees seem to want both the option to focus in private spaces, and improved soundproofing.
That being said, open-plan offices are still hugely popular. Studies still show a lot of positivity for open spaces, as they encourage collaboration and improve employees’ moods overall. Morgan Lovell says that companies need 'big brains [...] bumping into each other', and flexible office spaces help foster that kind of environment. A recent survey of office workers in Britain also showed that 71% of those asked would actually like more space in the office. This suggests there’s plenty of scope for a well-designed open space, perhaps with optional private rooms.
It’s increasingly important for a company’s brand image to consider sustainability when building or looking for a new office, and environmentalism can be high on many employees’ agendas too. Sustainable quality offices are popular and boost morale, according to a study in the US, which found that workers who considered their company to be 'green' were generally more satisfied with their job. A building with green credentials is thus likely to be an attractive asset to an employer.
From on-site gyms to convenient public transport links and nearby supermarkets; employees consider quality in the workplace to go hand-in-hand with convenience. Big companies like Google are looking to cater to as many of their employees’ needs and expectations as possible in one building, even adding seemingly over-the-top perks like haircuts, chef-cooked meals and chair massages. It seems these businesses have the right idea too – a US survey found that 80% of those workers asked would choose additional benefits over a pay rise. A building which is near transport links, has sufficient bike and car parking and an on-site gym or library, is a perfect example.
As an estate agent you can capitalise on this knowledge and provide your clients with valuable insight about what makes a quality office. In your commercial inventory, take note of spaces that either already have an open-plan design or have the potential to be adapted. Make sure you highlight offices with good soundproofing and green credentials as having great potential for the next generation of high-performing employees. It’s an advantage for the employer too, as a green office will likely have lower energy costs.
You’ll also want to recognise entire blocks with the potential to include extra functional spaces, so you can help the employer envisage future uses of space. Keep abreast of movements in the sector and market trends so you can keep your clients well informed and get great properties on your inventory.