Tech companies in Silicon Valley created an interior office design trend in the late 1990s and early 2000s that focused on employee comfort.
Businesses added lounges, casual workspaces, arcades, fitness rooms, on-site medical offices and restaurant-like cafes. Google even installed a rock-climbing wall.
The reason? Human resources. When competing for talent, businesses must offer competitive pay and benefits, as well as perks that make employees want to work there. An HR strategy incorporating office design helps recruit and retain talent.
The pandemic caused companies nationwide, including here in Southwest Florida, to reconsider their office design. Businesses incorporated safety-focused solutions like easy-to-clean workstations, cubicles and desk dividers. Many companies also found themselves with extra interior space as employees worked remotely or hybrid schedules. That space offers flexibility that businesses can use to their advantage, especially from a human resources perspective.
The Job Market
Soaring real estate and used car prices mean this is a sellers’ market. Similarly, low unemployment rates mean this is a job seekers’ market. There are far more job vacancies in Florida than people looking for jobs, so companies must get creative to recruit and retain talent. Employers are offering signing bonuses and higher starting salaries to attract new hires. Meanwhile, they are rolling out additional benefits and perks to keep current employees from pursuing other opportunities.
Businesses recognize that employee retention isn’t only about a bigger number on a paycheck. That is why companies are bringing a little Silicon Valley office design to Southwest Florida.
An employee-focused office design creates an atmosphere where people want to come to work. It’s a place where they feel comfortable, focused and productive.
Office Design and Office Furniture
OFDC Commercial Interiors offers office furniture and office design services to hundreds of local businesses. The company notes the following trends taking shape across Southwest Florida:
- Lounges: With more employees working remotely, businesses might not need as big of a physical footprint. However, if they have a desirable location and attractive lease, repurposing that extra space as a lounge, breakout room or game room is beneficial. A five- or 10-minute mental break during the workday offers stress release and team bonding opportunities.
- Cafés: Every office needs a lunchroom. Rather than uncomfortable chairs and tables, businesses can create a café-like vibe with counter seating and high-top chairs or banquettes and retro booths. Lunchtime is as much about nutrition as it is a mental break from the fast-paced work environment. A café setting can make employees feel like they went out for lunch, even if they’re just down the hallway.
- Outdoor spaces: Shade trees and courtyards are often underutilized because businesses view those spaces as a landlord’s responsibility. Tenants, though, can approach property managers for approval to install tables and chairs that would allow outdoor conversation and creative spaces. Stepping out of the office for a brainstorming session can free up creativity and ideas that otherwise might be bottled up.
- Workstations: Functional workspaces include an ergonomic chair, sturdy desk and storage solutions. When prospective employees tour an office, they want to see uniformity, distinctive spaces and clean lines. Businesses are recognizing that prospects envision themselves sitting at a desk for eight hours. They want an environment that feels like a second home.
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There is a cost associated with every human resource strategy, and creating an employee-centric workplace is certainly an investment. However, Southwest Florida businesses are betting this intentional investment will pay dividends for years to come to recruit and retain top talent.
Looking at office design as a strategy to recruit and retain talent?