How Your Workplace Sets the Tone for Employees

When it comes to finding or updating office space, your decision should take into account much more than just carpeting and desks. Not only is employee productivity dramatically influenced by environmental factors like lighting, temperature, and location between departments, but your real estate is also where your organization’s values and principles are physically realized. For employees, it’s a home away from home–creating synergy between the organization and its people.  

Whether you’re looking for a new space to lease or are ready to extend the term of your existing lease, it’s important that you consider some of the following factors to set the right tone for your employees.  

Layout

Across your real estate portfolio, how does the utilization and efficiency of that space impact operations? Not only does the layout of the space affect your employees’ productivity, but it can also affect your bottom line–every surplus square foot creates unnecessary expense.

Here are a few questions to consider when it comes to layout: 

  • Are the right teams located close to one another? Often efficiencies can be gained by placing related teams nearby, departmental adjacencies can create significant workforce leverage.
  • During a health crisis, like COVID-19, is your office space flexible enough to accommodate physical distancing? Consider appropriately sized meeting spaces and other recommended protocols. Take a look at this pandemic-friendly office space that’s doing just that.
  • Does the location’s architecture and environment align with each teams’ preferences? Think: Your IT team and salespeople have very different daily tasks and environmental needs. Make sure that your layout enhances, rather than hinders, their responsibilities.

>>Read how a county government realigned the layout of its real estate portfolio to support its operational performance.

Lighting   

Poor lighting, especially for those that work in front of computers all day, can lead to eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and a lack of focus. Depending on the user, the type of lighting desired will vary. For example, for office users, it might be best to look for office spaces that have lighting that is bright and cool. While for a tenant that does computer-generated imagery for example might need a space with dimmer, more moody lighting to help them see various colors better.

Tip: If you pay utilities, this is also a great opportunity to save energy and money by switching to cool and efficient LED light bulbs.  

Comfortable Temperature 

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found in a study that the ideal temperature to increase productivity in the workplace is 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Studies have also shown that employees working in a cold environment make more mistakes and are less productive than those in a warmer environment.

What does this mean for your real estate? Consider keeping your offices warm, and confirm that you have control over your space’s thermostat and zones for larger spaces. 

Space for Breakout Sessions  

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate conference space has become more important than ever before. When looking for new real estate or while optimizing your existing portfolio, consider the need for breakout rooms.

Here are a few benefits to breakout rooms:

  • Allow employees to move from their desks if they need a quieter space.
  • Allow for group collaboration and meetings without disturbing others in the office. 
  • Provide a private space for employees to make calls without disrupting others.

Inspiring Colors   

Paint colors might not be something that immediately comes to mind when searching for the right office space, but studies show that the color of walls actually does affect productivity.

  • Low-wavelength colors like blue and green improve efficiency and focus.
  • Medium-wavelength colors like yellow increase a sense of happiness and creativity. 
  • High-wavelength colors like red increase heart rate and boost energy. 
  • Bland colors like gray, beige, and white could induce feelings of sadness and depression. 

If the office space you have your sights set on doesn’t have the right color palette, discuss whether or not painting the space is allowed within your lease agreement. 

Added Amenities  

As you reopen office locations and invite employees back to work, what will entice your team to return to the office full-time? While needs may have to be met on a case-by-case basis, office amenities are sure to take a spot on your employees’ back-to-work checklists.

Here are a few amenities to consider when optimizing your real estate portfolio.

  • On-site or nearby off-site food options.
  • On-site fitness center or nearby off-site fitness facility partnerships.
  • Ample natural lighting.
  • Bicycle storage space.

>>Read how a marketing agency bolstered its ability to provide solutions to clients and recruit top talent by relocating to an expansive space, complete with top-notch amenities.

Right Location  

The location of your leased and owned assets in your real estate portfolio has a direct impact on how efficiently and effectively your business runs. When optimizing your real estate portfolio, it’s important that your assets best connect you to important geographic points in relation to your business, including labor markets, suppliers and vendors, transportation hubs, distributors, and customer markets.  

Ask yourself these questions when choosing the right location: 

  • Do your customers and clients come to your location, or do you go to them? 
  • Do you need easy access to highways, parking, and public transit? 
  • In what area(s) of the market do your employees and your ideal customers live? 
  • Is there a lot of distracting noise pollution? 
  • Is there free or accessible parking
  • Is the office located within a positive and vibrant community? Read how the NRP Group moved its office location to take advantage of an urban work-live-play environment. 

What About Remote Employees and Fully Remote Companies?  

In 2019, less than 15% of workers were remote full-time. That number jumped to around 40% during the 2020 pandemic, and according to a Garner survey of company leaders, 82% plan to permit remote work at least some of the time for employees after the pandemic. As a company leader, you have one of two options: entice employees to return to work full-time or adjust your real estate portfolio to accommodate, to some extent, remote workers. Every decision, even for companies that emphasize remote work, needs to consider the cultural, human capital, operational, and branding consequences of that decision.

View these environmental factors as an investment, not a cost, when searching for an office space for your company. The right combination of workplace factors could yield an exponential increase in your employees’ productivity and overall satisfaction with their jobs.  

Discover How Your Real Estate Portfolio Impacts Business 

Your physical space is where your organization’s values and principles come to life. Learn how your real estate can positively impact target buyers, as well as help you attract and retain top talent when you download our Corporate Real Estate Portfolio Strategy guide

Corporate Real Estate Strategy: Your Business' Competitive Advantage

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