Driving engagement at work? Try opening the window
Multi-skilled workforce; exciting business frontiers; enviable employee hospitality programs... And a host of other feel-good factors to add to your organization’s credibility.
Think you have the perfect mix to attract new talent and engage the existing one, right?
Well, not quite.
A recent study shows that 37% of the engaged employees are either looking for jobs or are open to new avenues. And so are 56% of not engaged employees and 73% of actively disengaged employees. And the data is sourced from some of the top-rated companies in the world.
Clearly, high level of employee engagement is not dependent on just one factor. But in fact, it’s a composition of many. While a well-defined employee engagement strategy helps in increasing performance, a conducive and well-designed physical workplace environment is just as vital. In some cases, the latter is more pivotal in aiding employee satisfaction and organizational success.
Truth hidden in plain sight?
Elaborate studies over the past decade have clearly indicated that one’s workplace environment is directly correlated to their cognitive, emotional and physical well-being.
Our sense of self is connected to our sense of space, the way we feel, behave and interact, which invariably becomes an extension to our progress in the workplace and subsequent performance in the organization.
To put things in perspective, let’s take a small example. A worker’s self-belief can greatly be affected by the volume of desk space available to them. A reduction in the surface area of the desk may reduce their flexibility at work. This can also be perceived by them as worsening of their work conditions and consequently the value attached to them by their organization. While the impact of such tangible changes on an organization’s performance can be difficult to measure, its impact on employee’s satisfaction is considerably easier to evaluate. That’s why design strategies come into play.
This is just one aspect of physical workplace environment. There are more specific factors like lighting and temperature that can have a major influence on employees’ engagement with respect to their working comfort, ability to see outside, experience Nature in some form or receive natural light.
Workspace design interventions
In most of the scenarios, the answer lies within the organization itself. Thoughtful changes in the physical working area contributing to attributes such as privacy, the flow of light and air, comfort, acoustics, and layout can connect directly to performance drivers viz. employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty. Talk about getting ROI through interior design processes!
Despite sounding achievable, this can be a tough nut to crack. Fortunately, design solutions exclusively based on human behavior and the science behind it are available to make the process more seamless and spot on.
These proprietary techniques based on organizational psychology and underpinned by design modulations offer a greater degree of compatibility between employees and their workspaces. Consider the following recommendations that form a piece out of their entire gamut of offerings.
In the absence of visual stimulation during the day, workers’ alertness can take a toll. Access to daylight, window views to outdoors, change in lighting levels, use of highlights and slight visual complexity can help overcome this.
The right mix of temperature, airflow, and humidity along with adjustable furniture foster move-up-and-move-about approach in workers, thus aiding their overall health & well-being.
Engagement sans Borders
Spaces created to help people connect with others one-on-one and eye-to-eye, and not just through technological devices. Low height partition, linear seating arrangement, and open floor plans fit the bill.
It is wise to consider that there’s a significant positive relationship between the operational physical dimensions of work and measures of employees’ performance. And hence in pursuit of corporate glory, it’s essential to have engaged employees who feel and connect physically, cognitively and emotionally to work roles and the work environment.
So the next time you plan to do a refresher session with your employees, maybe you should start with opening the windows first.