By Vanessa Warne, Furniture Category Director, VOW

Investing in a workplace so that it not only attracts but retains talent is key to business success.

Many people look beyond salary and benefits, to the look and feel of any prospective employer’s workspace. Reviewing your office layout and design can make all the difference when it comes to finding and keeping individuals with the right skills, expertise and personalities.

Added to the knowledge and financial loss that can come from key staff leaving, or not being attracted to the business in the first instance, understanding what your workplace might be saying about you is vital.

Says who?

33% of workers say that office design can significantly impact on their decision to accept a job, according to Human Spaces.

And after National Grid challenged itself to boost productivity by redesigning its head office, the results were claimed to boost staff performance by a significant 8%, and the business believed that the impact equated to £20 million-worth of increased productivity. Building users were reported as happy, with 86% saying they preferred the new working environment.

People and wellbeing

More people than ever expect to work in an environment that inspires them and supports wellbeing and productivity. Understanding your people, how they work and ensuring your workplace meets those needs is the first step of any re-design project or office move.

For years many companies have created one purpose environments, often based around desking, instead of providing a range of settings for employees to work in that could prove much more productive.

Breakout spaces


With millennials and increasing numbers of centennials in the workplace, the Google or Facebook ‘tech company’ style environment is viewed as desirable. Collegiate-like spaces to relax, hold informal meetings or work in peace are one of the assets that these modern workspaces include.

Providing staff with spaces to collaborate or concentrate does matter, as some seek the chance for a quick team de-brief, and others look to escape the open plan office at times to work in peace.

Work life balance

For those working longer hours or with less time to leave the office during the day, facilities that enable a kind of work-life integration are worth considering. These not only include relaxation spaces, but informal dining and leisure spaces where people can enjoy some downtime before returning to their tasks.

Supporting the work-life balance and giving employees as much autonomy as possible to work and rest where they choose will help to create a workplace that makes everyone happier.

Calm down

Increasing numbers of employees are said to be unhappy with noise levels in open plan working environments. Desk dividers, free-standing screens and hanging acoustic panels can all help to create a more balanced layout and reduce unwanted noise.

Clever use of panels can also increase collaboration, efficiency and provide more privacy in open plan offices.

High back soft seating pods provide spaces for small group break out meetings or for individuals to work in relative quiet, even within what would otherwise be a busy office environment.

Well-equipped workstations

While choice of workspaces can often include hot desking, it’s worth bearing in mind that not everybody wants to hot-desk, and some need to create a sense of belonging. Employers that respect those employees are more likely to build a more harmonious atmosphere. Giving people distinct workstations that feel like their own may provide an advantage, alongside the ability to work and collaborate in other parts of the building as desired.

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