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Employee engagement is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. Several studies have shown that an engaged workforce leads to higher productivity, increases customer satisfaction, and improves retention.
Of course, there isn’t a simple formula for boosting engagement at your organization, and there are many elements that play into it, including hiring, organizational design, and leadership. One of such key elements is the design of the physical workspace where employees spend a large portion of their lives.
A well-thought out office space isn’t simply functional or beautiful. Workspace design can also help employees feel truly connect to their work, their company and each other. So what does an engaging workspace look like?

1. Open but not too open

Once-popular open-plan spaces are gradually falling out of favor, because employees found the set up too distracting. A lack of privacy encouraged lots of communication and interaction among employees, but made it difficult for them to focus and be engaged with their work. Open plan offices are certainly more efficient when it comes to use of space, but keep in mind that everyone thinks and processes information differently. Thus, offices still the need for smaller private spaces as well.

2. Branded

The design of your HQ is a perfect channel for internal brand activation which also positively impacts employee engagement.
LUNAR took this to heart when relocating to their new studio in San Francisco’s Potrero neighborhood and with the help of Shubin+Donaldson created a space that reflected the brand and values of their company.

LUNAR San Francisco

LUNAR San Francisco

3. Beautiful

A colorful and creative workspace isn’t just a pleasant to environment. It also promotes creativity among employees, boosts mood and inspires a sense of pride. Fine art is receiving a lot of corporate attention these days through investment in high-profile works and artist-in-residencies programs. This doesn’t mean having to splurge on art to create a delightful space. Breather, known for their cozy, and well-curated workspace has applied the same aesthetic to their HQ in Montreal, creating a vibrant and airy office.

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Mural in Breather’s Montreal HQ


4. Co-created

A great way to bring employees together is to involve them in the design of their workspace early on. Being a part of the process will not only ensure that the resulting space addresses the needs of the people who will be using it (oh hello, design thinking) but will also create buy-in from all the participants and help them feel more invested in each other, the space, and the company.

5. Flexible

One of the best things about an amazing work environment turns out to be the flexibility to be absent from it from time to time. Studies on flexible work arrangements have shown that employees with high access to flexibility are three times more likely to be highly satisfied with their jobs.

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