The pandemic has made us reevaluate a lot in our lives, including where and how we work.  Many are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time, leading to what some are calling “The Great Resignation”.

As companies now experiment with hybrid workplace policies, to give their employees more choice and control over where they work and when, facilities managers and human resource professionals should not ignore the role of the physical office as a retention and talent attraction tool. The workplace is key to help organizations attract, retain, and engage talent. Not only is space an expression of the company, it sends important cultural signals about what new talent can expect in your organization.

How The Workplace Can Help Attract and Retain Talent

What does it take to provide an attractive work environment? As mobile work increases and people are working anywhere at any time, we are all seeking out new ways to get work done. According to research from Steelcase, most people who are returning to the office now are doing so because they miss the opportunities to collaborate and socialize with co-workers; something that they are unable to achieve while working from home. To attract and retain current and future employees, organizations will need to provide a ecosystem of spaces for employees, facilitating these collaboration sessions and social moments they crave.

Steelcase researchers recommend organizations pilot new spaces as part of their return to work strategy, and a company’s cafe is a good space to start experimenting. These spaces often sit empty parts of the day because they are typically used just for dining, individual work or small meetings. By looking at underutilized spaces in new ways, cafes can be redesigned as social hubs that will inspire people and provide high-performing settings where they can reconnect with their colleagues, as well as collaborate effectively.

Adding furniture options, such as our team’s favourite, the Potrero415 table, can make a workspace feel more like home, while still providing the functionality of an office.  Consider a standing height table with stools: employees can sit or stand depending on their preference, and the table can be used as a formal meeting space utilizing the integrated technology, or as an impromptu brainstorm session. “It’s like meeting at your kitchen table!” says Mike Meyer, Director of Sales.

Offering inspiring spaces facilitating creative collaboration will provide employees with something they can’t get while working at home.

Providing the Comforts of Home

After months and months of working at home, employees will be reluctant to head back to the same old office cubicle. They will be looking for spaces that remind them of the comforts of home and provide safety and security. Offering spaces where employees can relax and focus is important when considering why employees would want to return to your office. Heritage Office has found success creating spaces with Steelcase Work Tents, providing privacy and shelter in the office – in an unexpected and delightful way.

“When welcoming back employees, spaces need to reflect that things will be different. The Work Tent collection creates physical boundaries to assist with a sense of safety,” says President Liz Elliott.

While collaboration and socialization are the main reasons employees say they want to return to the office, they will still need spaces where they can work solo, whether for focused work or a video call. Many employees coming back to the workplace find it hard to concentrate in the open office and may retreat to the comforts of their home office. Employers will need to provide these types of spaces in the office, to offer employees choice and control over how they work, depending on the task needed to be done.

The Heritage Team loves office pods like the Loop Phone Booth as an easy solution in the open office. Pods can provide employees with a space to do their work, take a quick call, and block out the rest of the noise from the office. In a hybrid working environment, this is essential (we all know that video calls aren’t going away any time soon!) The Loop Phone Booth is easy to install, with minimal disruption to an office space. And bonus – it’s Canadian made!

two phone booths in a hallway providing employees with a focus area

What’s Next for the Office?

The office isn’t going away. But it is evolving into something different. To remain a destination for employees, it must provide an ecosystem of spaces that work together to support their needs and provide something they aren’t getting from working from home. Spaces designed for focus, socialization and collaboration allow for people to access the place they need to get their jobs done. Purposeful work deserves a meaningful place that brings together design, materiality, and performance to create informal, authentic, and inspiring spaces. And employees with a sense of purpose and meaning are far more likely to be satisfied with the work they do.

 Our team of workplace experts can ensure you’re ready for whatever the future of work has in store.  Contact us today!

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