10/12/2021 • 4 min read

How to Make Your Office More Than Just an Office

Workplace upgrades lead to a high return on investment—benefiting employees and customers

by Haworth, Inc.

If you view money spent on office space design solely as an expense, you’re probably not aware of the role the workplace plays in employee and customer satisfaction. Thoughtful office design backed by research pays off big—both financially for businesses and for the people who work there. Here are 3 reasons workspace investments are worthwhile for businesses of all sizes.

1. Attract Employees to Work In-Person—And Remain with Your Company

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, and most companies have put new health measures in place, many people are hesitant to return to the workplace. For this reason alone, employers can’t afford to overlook any element that entices employees to come into the office two or three days a week as part of a hybrid schedule.

The office becomes more than an office when it is the hub of activity and connection, as well as a place for work. When we optimize spaces for activities that foster interaction, collaboration, and creativity, we provide workplaces where people want to be. When the spaces people share reinforce an employer's brand values, organizational culture is strengthened.

To focus on financial value, it makes fiscal sense to create a workplace where people desire to spend time because turnover is costly. The average cost per hire is $4,425; for executives this figure jumps to $14,963. Yet, there’s an often-overlooked tactic for bringing this cost down. According to a Concept3D article,  LinkedIn reports that companies with a strong employer brand see a 43% decrease in costs per hire. Creating a workplace that celebrates your brand not only contributes to a stronger culture, it also helps reduce the cost of attracting new talent.

Additionally, spaces designed for connection enhance employees’ sense of belonging. That’s good for employers who implement thoughtful workplace design—high levels of belonging are linked to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days.

2. Improve Employee Well-being for Lower Healthcare Costs

An increase in performance and fewer sick days are not the only ways well-designed workspaces help improve employee well-being. You may be surprised to learn that a physical environment that promotes health can be more effective than traditional wellness programs. Healthy nudges that encourage movement and posture changes throughout the day promote musculoskeletal health and help prevent injuries.

The cost of not encouraging workers to move nor providing ergonomic furnishings is tremendous. Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders—which include those that result from non-movement—cost employers $13.4 billion each year. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks—including the kind many office workers do regularly—set back US employers $2.05 billion annually. Make the investment to address the office “ouch factor” and you’ll achieve gains by lowering incidences of neck strain, lower-back pain, and leg aches.

Your choice of furnishings has a significant effect on employee focus, productivity, and well-being. Seating that promotes natural spine alignment, height-adjustable tables that encourage changing postures throughout the day, and monitor arms that help reduce eye strain all support individualized workstyles—accommodating workers of different statures. Plus, adjustable furnishings are a tangible way to show employees that you care about them.

3. Greater Customer Satisfaction

Your office is more than an office when it comes to those you serve. When meeting clients on-site, your workplace becomes a reflection of your organizational culture and personality, as well as the services or products you provide. That’s why it is important that elements of your brand are carried throughout your workspace in the form of colors, graphics, architecture, and ambiance. While an office that reflects your brand makes a great first impression, it also makes it clear that your team is professional and capable—and it can help differentiate your company from competitors.

While an office that reflects your brand makes a great first impression to prospective clients and buyers, there are even more advantages when your workplace creates a positive employee experience. Case in point, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that organizations with a strong focus on employee experience achieve 2 times more customer satisfaction.

An office is more than a monthly lease with desks, chairs, and a coffee bar. For strategic organizations, the office is a tool that advances key initiatives for success. The first, attracting and retaining employees, and the second, providing a place to connect with and impress new clients. Design your office space wisely—invest with purpose.

Create an Office That’s More

Through our Small and Midsize Business program, we can help you create an office space that contributes to your bottom line.


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