You want to recruit and retain the best talent in the industry. You offer exceptional insurance, retirement, and quality of life benefits, but is your office space enticing to potential hires? To increase employee retention and impress prospective hires, your office needs to forward creativity, productivity, and teamwork. Your employees spend most of their days in the office and it’s important for employees to feel that time is well spent.

Foster Teamwork By Ditching the Open Floor Plan

Open floor plans don’t foster camaraderie and teamwork. Pooja Singh in “Entrepreneur” points to recent studies that show open floor plans decrease productivity and collaboration. Open floor plans have no noise-reducing measures and offer no privacy. Employees are forced to use headphones to reduce the assault of sound. The lack of privacy and noise push employees to choose emails over face-to-face interaction. Without privacy, employees have trouble focusing and can be intimidated to collaborate face-to-face because of too much (or too little) noise.

Smart office designs shun both the cubicle farms and the open floor prairie. Smart Office designs are flexible and allot spaces for multiple needs. There should be small, quiet areas available for individuals to work uninterrupted. Small and large conference rooms to accommodate project needs. By creating purposeful places, employees can choose the space that fits their needs. Providing a dynamic environment facilitates camaraderie and face-to-face collaboration.

Keeping the Body Electric

Physical comfort boosts creativity. Bringing nature into the office increases creativity and a sense of well being. Adding plants to an office can provide visual relief to reduce eye strain. Ambient nature sounds can be soothing and created with a sound system or building a water feature. Natural light is essential. In “Psychology Today,” Christopher Bergland cites a study by Northwestern University in Chicago that links natural light to employee health and productivity. Researchers found employees in offices with windows slept an average of forty-six minutes longer than employees of windowless offices. It’s not hard to imagine how forty-six minutes of extra shut-eye can improve morale, creativity, and productivity.

Physical comfort can also be encouraged by incorporating healthy amenities. Nix the sugary vendor options that provide quick energy, but later give you a mid-afternoon crash. Instead, ensure healthy snacks fill the vending machines. Coffee can be another quick fix, but it may have a downside with some people. Make bottled water available and remind employees to take a water break. Hydration and a stable sugar level will help employees stay focused and creative.

Holistic Office=Happy Employees

You don’t need to study Feng Shui or align crystals to create a holistic office. Take time to walk through your office space. Observe it objectively. Do the conference rooms have their own climate controls to keep employees and clients comfortable? Are there quiet secluded areas for individuals to work away from distractions? Is there generous natural light without creating a glare on work surfaces? Gather your department heads and create a dialog about office design and productivity. Ask supervisors to observe where your employees choose to work. Incorporate an office afternoon stretch to promote movement. Be flexible and invest in making your office a place that promotes creativity, productivity, and teamwork.