The workplace: looks matter

Most people spend more time in the office than they do at home. Yet, it’s only recently the importance of an attractive workplace has taken off. This can largely be attributed to Millennials and Gen Z entering the workplace with different priorities in mind.

Google is often considered the benchmark for a cool working environment. You don't have to search the internet too hard to catch a glimpse of their offices kitted with secret gardens, slides and quirky work pods. Even corporate businesses are following suit to attract candidates by creating appealing work environments – giving employees everything they need to do their job, and more.

The workplace has witnessed great change. The once closed off, traditional cubicle layout is a rarity in businesses today. Instead, an open-plan layout has been widely adopted with more communal areas to encourage collaboration and less ‘corner offices’. Many companies now encourage ‘hot desking’ – this is when employees don’t have assigned desks but move around to different desks each day. This breaks any clichés, encourages cross-team communication and fuels creativity.

For prospective employees, the workplace might be their first impression of the business and could sway candidates in favour of choosing one company over another. This is especially true for our next generation, whose view of the working world is shaped by films such as The Social Network.

Our recent research supported this. We found that 71 per cent of people believe that their work environment is more important in relation to attraction and retention of employees than a benefits package. In other words, people are in favour of sleeping pods and snooker tables over health insurance and a pension.

New generations bring change. Benefits packages were created decades ago and could be considered by many to be out of step with modern demands. In fact, 41 per cent of employees are unhappy with their current one. But what candidates value more than benefits packages is flexible, creative and exciting work environments. Sure, everyone wants to work for Google, but if you can deliver on the stimulating aspect you’re already three-quarters of the way there.

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