People want to feel engaged, valued and energized everyday, and thoughtfully designed work environments have a large role to play, research shows. High- performing and engaged employees are more likely than other workers to say that flexible work environments make companies stand out, according to a recent survey by Aon.
“Employee experience is the holy grail,” says Phil Kirschner, the senior workplace strategy director at WeWork, whose in-house team of designers, architects, workplace strategists and community managers design, build and operate office spaces based on proprietary research and data. “Design definitely matters, but a holistic community and activation strategy is also required to make people feel good about being at work.”
Businesses would be wise to adapt: Employees satisfied with their workplaces are more engaged, supportive of coworkers and less likely to quit, according to a recent study by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association and the International Interior Design Association.
While many large companies recognize the impact of smart office design, few have the resources to overhaul their spaces. “Companies of all shapes and sizes want the agility of a startup: to be around other cool companies, drive collaboration and deliver a great employee experience,” says Dave Fano, the chief growth officer at WeWork. “But they’re beholden to things like decades-long leases and limitations on desk size and floor plans.
“Real estate is not operating at the speed of business,” Fano adds, “and that flexibility is a big part of what WeWork is enabling.”