5 things to think about when designing your office - maximising employee engagement

Interion’s good friend Alan Hancock is the Principal of Space at Work in Vancouver, Canada. He has recently written this brief article, which we think is highly relevant and useful here in the UK.

Employee experience exists at the intersection of the Cultural, Technological and Physical environments A great employee experience is assured when these environments work together.


Take the time to understand what makes your company unique. Develop some guiding principles and ensure that both your workspace and culture are supportive of them. If new ideas generated by collaboration are critical to your company's success, then build in spaces where staff can take time out to meet and engage with each other in casual settings and make sure this type of behaviour is not only permitted but encouraged.


Thanks to digital technology and mobile communications, fewer and fewer people need to undertake the daily commute into the office. Many of us no longer need to be at our desks to get work done because work can happen anywhere. Don't worry though, the office isn't going to disappear because enlightened companies are turning their workplaces into destinations where staff can come together to get the kind of face time that FaceTime™ can't replace. Offices are becoming places where staff come to focus, collaborate, learn, and celebrate. The most successful workplaces will be designed to maximize employee experience by providing 'fit for purpose' environments to carry out these activities more successfully.

3              PROVIDE CHOICE

There's recently been a lot of negative press about the open office and the truth is that the majority of people don't need to be in a collaborative environment all day long. Most need time to conduct focused work and certain personality types need more still. The secret is to build a workplace that provides a variety of places, spaces, and postures that employees can move to throughout their day and that best support the work mode that they’re in at any given time. When combined with supportive technology and culture, this type of agile workplace has been proven to enhance employee engagement.


Sustainability has become a given when it comes to the built environment. The LEED™ standard and public demand has prompted manufacturers to provide products that have recycled content and are largely recyclable at end of life.

Energy conservation measures have been written into the building regulations, while property developers are focusing on locations accessible by public transport, or providing eco-friendly options such as electric vehicle charging stations and bike storage/changing facilities.

The next logical step is for employers to promote employee sustainability. In Canada, this can be achieved through WELL™ certification which explores the connection between the buildings we occupy, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants. WELL™ Certified spaces can help create a work environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of its occupants and therefore promotes employee engagement.

In the UK, more employers are making an immediate impact by specifying ‘sit/stand’ desks that encourage movement and posture changes.

5              BE INCLUSIVE

Our workplaces are becoming more diverse and if you want to attract the best talent then you need a workplace that allows them to be their best. Traditional offices often appear to have been designed for extroverts but clearly many of us don't thrive in those kinds of environments and do our best work away from the hustle and bustle of the open plan. Why not create quiet spaces that are conducive to focus and concentration so that everyone can find a space that works for them? These same spaces could double as nap rooms or even quiet contemplation/prayer rooms allowing staff to address their spiritual needs during working hours.

Interion can help you to design and implement effective office space that enhances employee wellbeing and engagement. Contact us for more information.

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