As one of the biggest overheads for SMEs after salaries, office rental should be viewed as a critical financial consideration for most businesses. However, rather than being viewed simply as a sunk cost, finding the right office space can not only minimise expenditure, but actually boost productivity. Traditionally, the ability to attract talent, innovate services and extend market reach are viewed as critical to business growth, but one, often underestimated factor is the office.
Below, Nikki Fuchs, co-founder of Office Space in Town outlines the reasons that choosing the right office space can be a growth enabler and is an often under-appreciated factor in business expansion.
People work more productively in an office
While many believe that working out of the office is preferred by employees, a recent survey by our office design partners, Peldon Rose, revealed that 59 per cent of UK workers are most productive in the office, compared to at home (30 per cent ) and in a café (five per cent). Additionally, it revealed that 80 per cent of employees believe the office is important for staff retention. Office space can have a big impact how productive your employees are on a day-to-day basis, so it is imperative that the space provides them with the resources they need to complete their work in a way that suits them.
Office environments that encourage wellbeing boost productivity
Numerous studies have confirmed that happier employees produce better quality work and have a better relationship with their colleagues and their peers. A Peldon Rose survey found that 80 per cent feel work friendships boost their productivity. A Gallup poll supports this by showing that 70 per cent of employees reach their full potential when feeling engaged and the Peldon Rose survey further bolsters this point revealing that 68 per cent of employees agree that their office environment has a positive effective on productivity. Having an office space that helps create a confident and self-motivated workforce is a key asset in enhancing growth.
Offices that provide the tools employees need to thrive enhances their performance
Recent studies have demonstrated that embracing technology can significantly increase workers’ productivity. According to the Peldon Rose survey 80 per cent of employees value technology and what is more a survey by Dale Office Interiors shows that a significant minority of workers said that better technology would actually improve their productivity in the workplace. Interestingly, tech news portal Tech Dissected reported that office workforce productivity levels have increased by 84 per cent over the last 40 years thanks to advancements in technology and predict that productivity levels will increase a further 22 per cent by 2020.
Social and lifestyle facilities make a difference
Businesses offering carefully designed, high quality office space for employees with a rage of facilities that extend beyond traditional office accommodation, including salons, cafes and bedrooms, are best placed to maximise productivity and help to energise underperforming staff. In fact, the Peldon Rose survey revealed that 66 per cent of employees would spend longer in the office if extra facilities were provided and a further 17 per cent said that they would spend two hours extra per day.
Offices that accommodate all generations are key
Soon five generations will be working together in the office for the first time in history. This however poses problems as different generations have different priorities. For example, Peldon Rose finds that whilst 42 per cent of employees under 25s believe communal areas in the workplace are valuable only 24 per cent of over 55 employees agree. In addition, 76 per cent of the under 25 workers believe social events and wellbeing packages are necessary for supporting their wellbeing at work, compared with the 55+ age group consider social events (56 per cent) and wellbeing packages (39 per cent) as insignificant benefits. To avoid tension and ensure employees are working at optimum productivity levels offices need to cater for all generations.
Flexibility of space can pay dividends
In today’s unpredictable economic environment businesses should look for space that can scale up or down according to their needs. The flexibility to expand – or indeed – contract – quickly and easily without incurring unrecoverable moving costs, or the need to pay huge costs for renovation, furniture and equipment – should be a key consideration when looking for office space.
Flexible or serviced office spaces provide ready-furnished, high quality equipment and facilities, as well as access to communal spaces and pay-per-use facilities such as conference and meeting rooms, meaning that business can present in a highly professional setting without paying for superfluous square footage or unnecessary fixed cost.
Flexibility of lease is a rising demand
In today’s unpredictable climate many businesses aren’t willing to commit to long term leases, which would typically be five years or more for conventional office space, compared to the rolling flexibility of a serviced office lease. The demand for greater flexibility in office leases is also highlighted by the long-term downward trend even for conventional leases, which have fallen from an average of 6.9 to 6.2 years in the last two years.
Overall, while businesses often seek to change strategy or direction to boost growth, trim workforces or stall investment to save costs and improve profitability, the simple answer to at least some of their productivity problems is recalibrating their offices to maximise performance…