Guest Blog | Office Design and Employee Retention

By Alastair Brown | CTO | BrightHR

First impressions do matter. No matter what industry you’re in, you want your office to create an inspiring first impression for potential new employees. As unlikely as it sounds, the design of your office can have a greater impact on the job satisfaction of your existing employees. It also plays a part in improving employee and staff retention. Employees are becoming less loyal to their employers which is making organisations focus more on the perks they offer.

laptop and monitor on desk

Findings from employee engagement survey

  • Employee engagement has a positive correlation with workplace satisfaction.
  • Engaged employees have more control over their experiences at work.
  • Fixed technology exceeds mobile 2.1.
  • Traditional work styles persist.
  • Cultural content influences engagement levels.

Organisations can improve their ability to attract and retain their best employees. They need to create a workspace with rich services and amenities. This allows employees to be more productive and happier about the time that they spend at work.

Birdseye view of office with fairy lights

Effective office design tips

Natural light – There’s no question that a bright and well-lit office sounds more appealing than a dimly lit space. To this effect, you should take advantage of natural lighting around the office. Natural light can save on energy costs and also provide long-term health benefits for your employees.

In terms of design, you should consider something that can maximise the natural light coming into the office. An open concept office design allows natural light to flow as far into the office as possible.

Workspace – An Open plan office has its benefits, it helps employees engage and collaborate more easily. It also prevents inter-office segregation as it puts everyone on the same level. Saying that, you could also argue that individual work spaces have their benefits too. A designated workspace allows employees to develop a sense of belonging. It also helps having a space of their own, both physically and psychologically.

You should consider creating spaces that accommodate visitors, mobile workers and guests. Although employees are your main concern, your office should welcome everyone. It's important to consider the population of people coming in and out of your offices and take steps to ease their comfort and mobility through your building.

Social Spaces – Provide a relaxed environment for your employees to connect with colleagues. When designed effectively, social spaces should be able to bring the same vibe and feeling of a café or coffee shop. It also needs to be able to offer the same relevant support needed to carry out tasks effectively.

Furniture – Furnishings are an important aspect of your office design. Not only do they need to be appealing to attract, they also need to be practical and comfortable to retain. Consider informal furniture for social spaces, something that encourages group conversations. For the workspaces, you should consider something that supports good posture. Sitting for long durations can have long-term health implications, so this should be taken into consideration.

Industrial office


Entertainment – There are countless ways to keep your employees entertained in the workplace. No modern office is complete without some form of entertainment. Some businesses are wise to this fact and have invested in video games, pool tables, board games and more. Depending on your industry, you can create an entertainment space that your staff will feel comfortable in.

Noise – Noise is one of the main causes of disruption and complaints in the workplace. This can be an issue, particularly in open plan offices, with fewer walls or barriers to block sounds people can easily get distracted would contribute to reduce productivity in the office. There are now a wide range of acoustic solutions available, to meet varying budgetary and aesthetic requirements, which can help you to overcome this issue.