It’s no secret that Americans are incurable workaholics. According to recent data from Gallup and CNN Money, an average worker in the U.S clocks in over 47 hours per week. Broken down, that statistic comes to nearly six out of every seven days spent at work. These statistics skew even further in tech-centric hubs in the Silicon Valley, where time spent on the job can extend beyond 80 hours every week. Should we be working less? Maybe – but solutions for America’s culture of over-work will take years, if not decades, to implement. In the meantime, companies have to turn their focus to their hardworking employees and make sure that their corporate offices have the tools and comfort employees need to thrive during high-pressure work weeks. A supportive corporate office needs more than four walls and some desks; real thought always needs to be put into choosing, customizing, and running a corporate location. Here, I lay out some pointers.
The open-plan versus cubicle-based office space debate is a spirited one. Some wholeheartedly believe that cubicles restrict creativity, make a monotonous environment, and limit positive interactions between co-workers. Others think that open-plan offices contribute to office chaos, prompt distraction, and limit productivity. In the end, the structure of an office contributes to company needs and culture. Is the work the business conducts collaborative, or independent? Does the company have a creative atmosphere that could benefit from the organic interactions an open floor plan creates? Or does the business call for a more cordoned-off structure that allows workers to focus on their individual workloads? Don’t let trends determine your structure – consider your company’s needs before settling on a space!
Every business should be outfitted with up-to-date technology. A fax machine and copier just won’t cut it anymore; today’s offices should be equipped with speedy WiFi, data sharing technology, and video conferencing equipment at the very least. Having these tools on-site will do wonders to attract and aid millennial workers used to working with such devices. However, some care must be taken to support older employees who may not grasp the machines as intuitively as the younger workers. Lastly, make sure to work within your budget and needs. While the cost and bother of a 3D printer might seem well-worth it to a thriving architecture firm, it probably won’t be nearly as helpful to a tax consulting company. Limit technology purchases to the necessities!
Every office needs the basics: enough light, clean air, climate control, etc. However, the sum of a corporate environment goes far beyond a worker’s minimum needs. Think: how awful would working in an undecorated, windowless, and bare cubicle be? Depressing spaces lead to disengaged employees and high turnover – so decorate your office! Make sure that your employees have access to natural sunlight, and maintain a tasteful but professional decor in the space itself.
Employees have lives outside of work. Regardless of the role they play in the company, every worker needs to park, find food, and – sometimes – locate child care in the vicinity. Office parks are typically best-equipped to meet employees’ personal needs; however, not every company can afford the cost of buying space in a trendy office park. This said, companies should make a plan for parking and other amenities before welcoming employees into the space.