Can workplace design strengthen employee engagement?

Over the last five years, workplace trends have had to adjust dramatically to reflect the changes in mass office culture. Offices are now offering flexible working, and aspiring to offer a collaborative working environment for their employees.

Business giants Google, LinkedIn and Apple are carving out the next generation of office design, merging work and play. With these expectation set, it’s becoming difficult for employers to match staff expectations.

In this article we delve into the question; can workplace design truly enhance employee engagement? Or is it simply just the path businesses must follow in order to retain existing employees and attract new and exciting talent?

According to a report published by Gallup in January 2016, only 13% of worldwide employees working for an organisation felt they were engaged in the workplace. Why is this percentage so small? Employers need to understand that it isn’t just down to staff welfare, this greatly impacts the bottom line of their business. Painting the walls a bright colour and creating co-working stations that help employees thrive isn’t just inconsequential aesthetic changes. It’s all about investing in your business and your employees. If your employees are happy, this has a knock-on impact of positivity throughout the business. This filters down to the customers, helping you strengthen your customer relationships.

Another piece published by the market research company Gallup found that the links between employee engagement and business growth were strong. Whilst it’s great that many companies are now measuring employee engagement and implementing changes if the company doesn’t know why their employees are feeling disengaged, the changes they do make could completely miss the mark.

Gallup’s chief scientist of employee engagement and wellbeing, Jim Harter, PhD says ‘Measurement is one thing, what you measure is another. You can measure a lot of things that have nothing to do with performance and that don’t help a company implement a system that allows managers to create change.’

So how do you make sure you’re measuring the right things?

Conducting anonymous employee surveys can help you monitor company morale on an ongoing basis. This task helps you collect valuable insight into internal processes that could need re-evaluating in order to help your business run significantly smoother.

So, what are the most common office design changes that positively affect employee engagement?

Not always living by the one desk routine

When your employees have a fixed desk, this can inhibit creativity and productivity. Offering the chance to move around and work alongside different employees means new ideas and a fresh way of thinking.

More collision zones

You can’t force everyone in your workplace to talk to each other. But creating areas where they have to bump into each other can help instigate a conversation they wouldn’t have otherwise had. Cross team communication plays an important part of today’s modern office culture.  Working collaboratively with other teams helps your office culture thrive and grow.

Make sure the design reflects your core values

Having your surroundings reinforce your company’s core values can help staff feel part of something bigger than their own job function. Feeling like you’re part of the wider team and that you’re contributing to the company’s success is a great feeling for all employees to have. Try and harness these values and broadcast them for everyone to see.


If you’re after some office inspiration, get in touch to discuss how we can help you begin your transformation on 01932 379 427 or send an email to info@mbfurniture.co.uk