Staff-friendly office fit-outs
Bosses, listen up.
If you think you can hang inspirational posters on the workplace walls and score a rep as ‘employer of the year’ – think again.
Today’s best employees want to see thoughtful office lay-outs, and considerate fittings and features including bike racks, showers, games and groovy communal areas.
Stark tearooms with broken plastic seats, blinding neon lights and meagre bathroom amenities will not win you fans around 21st century water coolers.
Here are some of the latest trends in people-focused workplaces.
Show your workers some love with comfy chairs and mood lighting
That is the inside scoop from Total Fit-outs Managing Director Jeremy Dyer, whose team earn their crust helping other businesses makeover workplaces.
Asked what businesses can do to create an office staff members want, Dyer’s top tips are:
- Comfortable furniture, especially chairs.
- Good quality and aesthetically pleasing internal decor; “It makes people feel and act more professionally.”
- Office equipment must be highly functionally but also needs to look good.
- Top-notch lighting is essential; “Gone are the days where retailers could get away with rows of products stacked on shelves, bright, white fluorescent lighting and plain colour schemes.”
- On-site childcare services.
- On-site gyms.
- An on-site or nearby cafe.
- A “fun and games” feature such as ping pong, air hockey or billiards.
“Employees want a space that is relaxed, up-to-date and funky,” the Sunshine Coast fit-out specialist says.
“They want to feel appreciated through the space you provide for them … employees who feel comfortable in their work space are more productive, happier, their stress levels are lower and longer work hours don’t bother them as much.”
Employees who feel comfortable in their workplace are more productive.
Play hard, but work harder
This is the motto of Aussie-born global software company Nitro, and its workers say the office environment must reflect this.
The tech company recently revamped its Melbourne office to reward its ten staff for their hard yakka since the company’s launch in 2005.
Nitro has about 160 staff worldwide, most of whom work from its San Francisco HQ.
“We recently expanded our recreational zones to include arcade and computer games, and of course, the ubiquitous ping pong table,” Erica Johnson Director of Employee Experience says.
“Along with this, we provide twice weekly team lunches in-house, a fully stocked kitchen with a pantry filled with healthy snack options and a sandwich bar.”
There is a pantry filled with healthy snack options.
The office in Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD also has an in-house bar with sound system, a “beer cart”, breakout zones for chilling-out, ergonomic work stations, a video conferencing kit and wall-to-wall whiteboards for brainstorming sessions.
According to Nitro, this is what staff members really want.
“We believe our people are our greatest asset,” Ms Johnson says.
“It’s only natural we want to reward them with a workplace that makes them smile as soon as they walk through the door each morning.”
Any business wanting to woo its employees with an office fit-out needs to make sure it team is onboard from word go, Johnson suggests
“An office refurb is a great opportunity for team building and to work collaboratively on a project that every current and future employee can benefit from.”
Lights, calming places and lively colours are key
That’s the word from audio-visual production company Stellar Group, which moves to its new mega-HQ in March.
The offices, at the Entertainment Centre in Moore Park in Sydney, include loads of custom features including a huge open-plan working space facing a bank of windows, a state-of-the-art production facility, a break-out area with a pool table, a galley kitchen, a large balcony, several storage rooms as well as plenty of built-in storage around the open-plan office area.
Stellar Group Director of Sales, Helen Lynch says the in-flight entertainment specialist held staff brainstorming sessions before the company’s latest office relocation, producing “a wish list before the design process began”.
Next generation offices need natural light.
- According to Stellar employees, next-generation offices need:
- Natural light; “it is a must … and windows too, so you can see what’s happening in the outside world”.
- “A place to relax, somewhere you can leave your desk and go to, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Colour; “Offices don’t have to be grey (and) colour has an enormous effect on mood and productivity; it can be stimulating or stifling.”