Relocating Offices? Mindful Choices to Support Employee Wellbeing

One of the biggest trends of 2021-2022?  Workplace relocation!

It’s hardly surprising.  Work-at-home mandates and workers’ long-simmering desires for more flexible or remote work have resulted in cities filled with echoing office chambers.  Additionally, some companies are fleeing expensive and high-tax cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and New York for smaller metro areas like Atlanta, Phoenix, Seattle, and Austin.  Tax incentives in states like Texas tempted over 150 companies to move in 2021, many from California.  Lower tax rates, cost of living, safer neighborhoods, and higher quality of life were top corporate and employee considerations.   

Moving is undoubtedly expensive, but the benefits are considerable.  According to data, with 80% of workers expecting to work from home at least three times a week, most companies can save on office space, equipment, and utilities.  In addition, hub-and-spoke models are replacing sizeable corporate office buildings, where companies have an opportunity to redesign healthier, more balanced workplace experiences for their employees.   

Moving forward, organizations have a lot of healing to do from the pandemic, technology learning curves, and higher workloads.  That is why downsizing or relocation is a perfect opportunity to redesign a workspace for the future with your employees’ physical and mental health in mind.  Here are just a few ideas to help you mindfully and thoughtfully add features and ambiance to a new space:

Design for imagination, focus, and productivity.  Ideally, bosses and remote employees can regularly connect in person.  And for many on a hybrid schedule, time in the office is a treat!  That is because working together fosters creativity, ideation, and relationship.  One remote healthcare executive, whose kids, pets, and spouse often interrupted her workflow, shared how she now looks forward to Mondays and Fridays in the office.  “I typically use my office time to reconnect with the team, redirect projects, and get some focused work done.”  Therefore, a redesigned workspace should allow for collaboration as well as concentration.  A mix of communal and co-working spaces and a quiet zone for individual work offers flexibility and privacy.   

Pay particular attention to lighting, noise, and comfort.  If possible, install motion-sensor lights in bathrooms and storage areas to save energy.  Cool-toned lighting in communal work areas energizes, while warmer bulbs in lounges and lunchrooms can help employees unwind and relax.  Of course, if available, natural light is always the healthiest choice.  Be sure to supply anti-glare screen protectors if your space requires them.  

In an open floor plan, reduce noise by clustering office machines in a single room with acoustic windows or doors.  Locate break rooms away from quiet zones.  Surround your quiet zone with office dividers, acoustic ceiling tiles, and acoustic office furniture, which can be an attractive option for privacy and focus.  

Finally, create an environment as close to ‘home’ as possible.  Top employee amenities are food availability, beverage service, a relaxation lounge to relax and recharge, and clean restrooms with a shower for those who bike commute.  In addition, consider greenery to improve air quality and visual relaxation.  An outdoor lawn or garden space is a bonus.  Investments like these are a morale booster and an invitation to spend more time in the office.

Health and Safety.  Security and sanitation are top concerns, especially for inner-city workers.  Help employees feel more secure in the office by installing updated air flow systems, open workspaces rather than densely-packed cubes or closed-in offices, a clean work environment, and safer and more sanitary contactless building access technology.  

Putting it all together, a fresh start in a new location is the exact time to make design choices that will help with recruitment, increase morale, and invite those working remotely to visit the office more frequently.  In addition, people looking forward to gathering in a space designed for comfort, collaboration, focus, and safety are more likely to be engaged and less resistant to coming in when needed.  So look for a forward-looking realtor or office planner who can help design a pleasing layout and relaxing ambiance with the perfect lighting, carpet, paint color, and furniture.  

Moving forward, organizations have a lot of healing to do from the pandemic, technology learning curves, and higher workloads.  So, if you are planning to move or downsize, why not take this opportunity to redesign a workspace for the future with your employees’ physical and mental health in mind?

If you are planning to relocate your business and need help filling new permanent or temporary staffing positions, Partnership Employment can help.  We have offices and partners in Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX, Stamford, CT, and the greater Boston metro area ready to assist.  Our employment professionals are experts at helping companies nationwide fill talent requirements after a relocation.  With decades of staffing industry experience, we will help you find only the best candidates, so you can hit the ground running.   Contact us today!