What makes a good office environment?
An essential part of any organisation, creating and maintaining your company culture can bring massive benefits to your business. And when it comes to the front-facing world of recruitment, crafting a quality office environment comes with a wealth of advantages for employer and staff alike.
So, what exactly makes a great office environment and what are some simple changes you can make to improve your space today?
What makes up an office environment?
A combination of inherent and man-made factors, your office environment is the sum total of what working at your company is like. This can create an environment that is supportive, clean, efficient, and enjoyable. Or it can be stressful, inefficient, or even intimidating. And the longer you go without taking the time to consider how your business is internally (and externally perceived) the longer you go without taking the opportunity to improve…or allow things to get even worse.
Some of these factors include-
Your Geographic Location: This can be unavoidable, but the office can be in a bustling urban centre, scenic area, or in a cramped back alley with little daylight – with other elements like transport and ease of access coming into play. Is it easy for clients to access or is it a trial to secure suitable candidates with ease?
Your Infrastructure: This includes your office setup. Are the systems and equipment up to date and easy to use or are your programs and software outdated or unintuitive? Does this allow for the cloud-based sharing of project data or do employees have to go the extra mile to retrieve recruitment information?
Your Training and Support System: How do you onboard new clients or staff and how streamlined is the process? Do you have an established system that is clear and easily deployed? Or are people left to fend for themselves and sift through outdated recruitment information or learn bad habits that are impossible to break?
Your Work: Are employees – and clients – rewarded for engaging with your company? Are the roles you are recruiting for readily defined and are clients easy to work with? Are employees properly motivated or are they just an afterthought?
Your Perks: Is there anything that sets your company out from other recruitment businesses in the same field? Is there a certain quality of service that clients enjoy, and how are staff intrinsically and extrinsically rewarded for their time?
And much more, with many businesses enjoying a reputation that precedes them, solid word of mouth, or a setup that is genuinely enjoyable for employees to be part of.
What can I do?
While it may be difficult to know where to start when it comes to improving your office environment, there are a number of simple actions you can carry out that can bring significant improvements to your setup.
Embedding Communication: One of the biggest challenges facing the world of recruitment is capturing candidate information and relating it to key members of staff. Paper notes and word of mouth is lost and, while the shortest pencil is longer than the most accurate memory, implementing a digital communications pipeline can ensure no information is lost. Setting up a dedicated Slack channel or telecoms system can help minimise interruptions and allow individuals and teams to communicate with ease.
Changing your Office Plan: Undertaking ‘intelligent’ workspace design can help improve productivity and ensure that your footage is maximised without resulting in crowding and cramping. This can help create a throughflow for your space, create dedicated areas for interviews and conference calls and give each location in your office a specific utility without being prescriptive. This can breathe new life into an old office and ensure that clients and customers are impressed from the moment they step into your reception.
Implementing Technical Solutions: Taking a detailed look at your office infrastructure can add a number of benefits. This can include the provision of fit-for-purpose laptops and smart devices to help unify comms and optimise your team’s work. Looking at cloud-based solutions can also allow you to quickly create a client database and cut back on the errors and guesswork that can come as part and parcel of a long-running business. Reviewing bespoke solutions can also allow you to deploy a new tailored platform that suits your need, retrofit new functionality to old systems, or be deployed as you see fit.
Sound and Light: One of the biggest quick wins for a space is maximising exposure to light during the day and dampening excessive noise to prevent distraction or annoyance. Remodelling your space with larger windows or suitable low-blue lighting can help make working or interviewing in your office more effective. And deploying artistic baffle can help quiet conference rooms or prevent cubicle chat from being too noisy.
Flexible Work Practice: Adding and following through on key perks can massively improve employee morale and add to your office environment. This can range from buying into a cycle-to-work scheme, offering a company pension scheme, or allowing flexitime or adding the option to work from home. Granting greater agency can help improve your employee’s perception of the business and have that enthusiasm filter through to the clients they work with.