3 KEY FACTORS OF FLEXIBLE OFFICE DESIGN THAT UPHOLD EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT

A recent study found that the tendency of job-hoping in employees of millennial generation was three times higher than that of the preceding generation. Job hopping is accountable for 20% of total annual salary cost.

Employees commit to a company when the following conditions are satisfied:
–     They have a common goal with the organization: the common goal will engage employees and remain as a common target for individuals and collective to achieve together. Belief in the common goal and desire to achieve it motivate employees’ commitment to their work and attachment to the company.
–     They feel connected to the organization: When employees feel themselves appropriate and connected to the company, their loyalty will escalate.
–     They feel connected to their work: employees’ attitude affects their commitment to the company, therefore a good attitude at work implies a more genuine engagement. Once deeply engaged in a job they hardly think about quitting.

So what affects the employee’s commitment to work? How to retain employees? An answer for this is to invest in workspace, improve and enhance the work experience of employees. This requires the office design to satisfy three important demands of most employees: flexibility, comfort and control.

FLEXIBILITY – Office design towards flexibility

A 2017 survey of Deloitte pointed out 69% of millennial employees had flexible work schedules, particularly 64% of them worked in many other spaces outside the office. This is assumed a future trend since Upwork’s 2018 study implied a flexible working model would increase by 168% over the next decade.

As such, flexible office design is the solution to catch up with the future human resources. Workspaces should be built to focus on work experience and community connections – between employees and employees, between employees and the company.

When it comes to flexible office design, Agile workspace model should be all the rage. It is orientated to create open spaces, invest in interactive and auxiliary areas like dining room and lounge. The selection of flexible, multifunctional furniture is also one among factors that favors spatial flexibility.

Bayer office is a typical open office. The office is designed with two parts: working space and areas for relaxation and interaction. New spaces beside traditional workspaces help enhance work experience. A contemporary office design features abundant living spaces, ranging from dining room, large meeting room, work stations, brainstorming spaces, to small meeting room. Such wide diversity empowers employees to find their work-life balance. Lounge and recreational areas are alternating with work stations to stimulate employees’ communion and connection, at the same time improve the work performance.

Bayer's office design
Bayer office is a typical open office – Central Point
 Common space at Bayer office
Common space at Bayer office – Central Point
Modern spaces in Bayer office
Bayer office has many contemporary spaces for enhanced work experience

COMFORT – Office design as a source of comfort

An employee spends 8 hours at work everyday. Any feeling of work pressure or boredom will decline productivity and incite job quitting.

Stress reduction & office health assurance are two factors that further ensure comfort in workspace.

For a better source of comfort at work, office design should adds green zones alternating with workstations. Ergonomic office design deeply concerns health protection and work efficiency for employees by selecting supportive furniture. The office layout should encourage movement and make available auxiliary spaces such as dining room and gym. An exemplary comfort-oriented office is 3M office in Mapple Tree in District 7, where various co-work spaces are alternating with fixed workstations to stimulate employees’ movement during work, hence a greater dynamism and promoted connection. 3M office is also praised for its diverse auxiliary spaces including dining room, gym and lounge. 

An auxiliary space at 3M company
An auxiliary space at 3M office – Mapple Tree
Auxiliary spaces favor work-life balance
Auxiliary spaces favor work-life balance for 3M employees – Mapple Tree
Diverse workspaces
Diverse workspaces at 3M office – Mapple Tree

CONTROL – Lighting, temperature and acoustic controls

Natural light is a key driver in productivity improvement. Natural light keeps employees awake during work and allows better circulation and metabolism. Yeah 1 office is designed with co-workspaces and large meeting rooms arranged near the windows to draw on natural light. Yeah 1 meeting room and workstations are also set up to utmost tap the pool of sunlight, glass walls ensuring the easy exposure and luxury of natural light during work time.

Temperature affects the mood and work efficiency of staff members. An even spatial dispersion of heat should be ensured. The temperature should be moderate and satisfactory to all employees in the company.

Acoustic control should be paid attention so as not to cause distraction at work. Noise allocation is designed and calculated for every common area, private area, soundproofing room, etc. A variety of spaces is provided so that no employee are impacted.

Keppel Land office is designed with well-split areas to bring about a high diversity of layout (including private and common spaces) and proper acoustic control. The dining room and brainstorming area of ​​Keppel Land are arranged side by side and separated by movable partitions. These two rooms can be flexibly split or merged into a large meeting room. The two rooms are isolated from the workstations for noise control, so those collective activities will not affect the other employees.

Reception area
Reception area of ​​Keppel Land office – Saigon Center
Splitting of areas in Keppel Land
Splitting of areas in Keppel Land office – Saigon Center
space with acoustic control
Space is properly allocated in Keppel Land office for acoustic control – Saigon Center

Flexibility, comfort and control of light, sound and heat are of big concerns when it comes to office design. A staff-centered comforting and convenient office going hand in hand with good personnel policies will help talent retention.