Forbes Coaches Council
When working alone or from a home office, the appearance of a workspace may not be as important. But if you have even just one employee, and especially if you want to attract top-flight talent, you really need an office that you can envision the best and brightest working in.
If you are thinking that it’s time to upgrade your office, I have some suggestions. My company has been planning a new office space for our move happening later this year. While we may not incorporate all the ideas below, we have considered upgrades to give our team the best possible work environment for years to come.
Our company has added team members in the last three years, and I’m sure that upgrades to our office — and the eventual move — have only helped in attracting talent.
Focus on your technology.
Whatever your employees are working with, you want to invest in the best and most updated technology and devices, including high-speed data service. For example, you obviously want your internet access and telephone system to be top-notch.
For instance, we made big investments in our technology to do things such as hosting virtual meetings, bringing remote individuals closer together and enhancing the communication occurring here.
After all, if you purchase something that simply gets the job done but isn’t the newest and best resource, in a short period of time, that item or service will seem even more dated. Technology ages faster than anything else in your office, and it permeates so much, from how you meet with people in virtual meetings to security cameras.
Go antiquing for the office furniture if you want to; don’t do it for your technology.
Consider everybody’s life-work balance.
This varies for each company, its employees and corporate culture. An exercise room is a popular amenity at some larger offices. Some companies have a lactation room. (The federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law requires employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide basic accommodations for employees who want to pump breastmilk for their baby.)
It doesn’t have to be a large area, but a dedicated space for people who commute to work on a bike can be a nice touch. These types of offerings are nice perks, but you’re also sending the message to your employees that you care about them beyond simply how productive they are at work.
Update your décor.
If your carpet was installed in 1985, you have dim lighting and the artwork is faded and worn, it is time to consider upgrading. Prospective employees aren’t going to be excited to work for you if your office is drab and unwelcoming — and longtimers may just be shuffling into work and going through the motions.
Our new office will have windows lining the entire building, which is one way to help with lighting.
Don’t forget landscaping.
It isn’t only the inside of your office that should look pleasant. Think of how you want your employees and your clients to feel when they arrive at their destination. You want people to be glad that they came and not wondering if they made a mistake.
Consider open spaces.
Some people like cubicles and hate open spaces where everybody can see you working. You don’t need to get rid of cubicles and offices — but if you can, you should strive to make part of the workspace not feel claustrophobic. The open space could be used for décor, or you could designate certain open areas as informal workspaces for anyone who wants to use them.
Include places to brainstorm.
These places could be in your open space, of course, but could also be meeting rooms or places with whiteboards — or benches among your outdoor landscaping. Anywhere you can think of, where it makes sense, you should offer places where you can imagine employees getting together and thinking creatively.
If you’re moving headquarters, think about the location.
Our new office space is next to a hotel and conference center where our franchisees stay when they come for training. Being so close makes it a much easier experience for everyone. I realize upgrading an office often doesn’t mean moving, but if you do get to move, you’ll definitely want to think about some nearby areas. Maybe being closer to restaurants, where people can eat, would be very convenient for staff and office visitors. Perhaps you should be closer to a transportation hub, like a train station. Maybe moving to a new city, where there’s possibly a younger workforce and more talent, could be a good option.
Provide free parking.
If you have a downtown office and your employees need to park in a garage, a very nice perk would be to pay for the parking. Plenty of companies do this, while some don’t. If you don’t want people to resent your business, that could be a nice way to make it more pleasant to work in your new, modern and swanky offices.
When you are looking for ways to improve or upgrade your office, you want to do more than offer a pleasant place to work. Whether it’s in offering parking perks or a place for somebody to store their bicycle, you are telling your employees that you care. It also simply makes sense to continually improve your workspace. Why would anybody want to work at a company that looks as if its best days are behind it?