WRITTEN BY STEWART TURNER
Stewart Turner works within the Helvar HR team where we focus on bringing our mission and values to life through our people. Stewart has been working in HR for 18 years within multiple industries and holds an MBA from the Anglia Ruskin University as well as professional memberships with the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
When thinking about how office space impacts the wellbeing of our people and how the space supports productivity, I immediately think about how it is fit for purpose. As we continue to spend large amounts of our time within the office, how the office space makes us feel can have a direct link to our mood and energy, which can then have a knock-on effect on our wellbeing and productivity.
As well as this, we must remember that the impact of the office space also comes way before people join an organisation. The first impressions of the space can be a determining factor when new talents are looking for their next challenge. So, what could you focus on?
Making a great first impression
As people go through the recruitment process, they will look for consistency and alignment between what’s being said, sold to them, and what they can see. For most, the first exposure to the office space will be during the recruitment process. With this in mind, does your office space reflect your organisation?
Investing in your office space can be seen in many ways to impact first impressions. This can be through sustainable and appropriate lighting that can be seen immediately as you enter the space or by creating a functional space that reflects the organisation’s values. For example, you may value teamwork and collaboration; however, do you have dedicated space that accommodates these? Ultimately, new talent will be asking themselves, «Is this a space I could work in?».
Focus on wellbeing
At Helvar, the wellbeing of our people is always high on our agenda. We take our people’s mental and physical health seriously and are WELL accredited. We understand that office space can impact morale and mood, and we want our people to feel happy within the workplace.
Our offices support wellbeing, offering various options of where and how our people can work. We have a selection of meeting and study rooms enabling our people to focus, collaborate, or have a moment to themselves. We also provide sit and stand options at desks and in collaboration spaces for those who want to be more physically active. Social space is also vital within our office where our people can relax and forget about work and recharge their batteries.
Creating a space that supports productivity
When the COVID pandemic hit, we shifted to focus on home working. As people gradually return to the office, it is clear that a hybrid way of working is more accepted and will likely become the norm for a high percentage of organisations. With the change in how we work, we must ask ourselves how office spaces support different working methods that will continue to support productivity.
At least for Helvar, the purpose of the office has shifted slightly. Previously the office was seen as just a place to work, and now it is seen as a purposeful collaboration space for people to work in ways that support their individual needs, and at the same time, provides a place for impactful unstructured collaboration. A place where “people from different functions and departments collaborate, they can solve complex problems and generate innovative new ideas. Such collaboration is usually triggered by chance encounters” – Designing the Hybrid Office (hbr.org).