In the U.S., the average cost of hiring a new employee is around $4,000.
With hiring costs rising, it’s vital that your organization is just as focused on retaining employees as it is hiring them. Salaries and working hours are important factors for improving employee retention, but so is having a comfortable working environment.
Today I’m looking at five things to consider when creating a comfortable, positive working environment which encourages employees to stick around.
An open office is perfect for strengthening working relationships and encouraging collaboration, but it’s important to provide opportunities for private working when needed. Combining closed working spaces (such as a cluster of closed offices or meeting rooms around your open office space) will provide employees with choices of where and how they work.
Giving employees control over their working environment means they can change their environment to suit their needs, which is vital for continued employee wellness. An office breakout space provides further flexibility.
Learn more: How to Improve Office Breakout Spaces.
2) Comfortable Workspaces
Your choice of office furniture has a big impact on your employees’ health and wellness, which affects levels of absenteeism and in turn, employee retention.
Ergonomic seating and height-adjustable desks mean that employees can arrange their workspace to suit their personal requirements, minimizing discomfort such as back pain, which can be caused by poor posture and an inappropriate desk setup.
For further flexibility, you may want to consider providing sit-to-stand workstations, which allow employees to change their posture throughout the day to improve comfort, and are shown to improve employee focus and productivity.
Temperature plays a major role in an employee’s overall comfort at work.
With no walls to trap heat, you may find that your open office space feels cooler compared with a closed office divided into cubicles. No doubt your employees will be very grateful come the summer, but in winter you might want to consider setting the HVAC a couple of degrees warmer than you would otherwise, to compensate.
Additionally, choosing flooring with good thermal properties – for example, carpet tiles rather than hard flooring – will help to create a more comfortable office environment.
High levels of noise can contribute to increased stress levels and decreased productivity among employees. As noise is detrimental to both performance and wellness, it’s essential to design your workplace to reduce noise levels.
With no walls to block airborne sound (like conversations), or to absorb structure-borne noise (like foot traffic), your choice of flooring can have a surprising impact on noise levels in an open office environment.
Cushion-backed tiles are particularly effective at absorbing structure-borne noise generated by chairs and foot traffic. Open-cell cushion-backed carpet has been shown to absorb over three times more noise than hard surface flooring.
As a general rule, you want to light a space based on the task being performed.
Your main office space will need to be lit brightly with cooler color temperatures to keep employees alert and engaged. You may choose to light your breakout space or communal areas differently, with warmer color temperatures and lower lighting levels to help employees to relax and recharge when they’re away from their desks.
Wherever possible, you should also try and get natural light into your office space, as studies have shown that exposure to natural light positively impacts health and wellness.