The importance of office design

There’s a clear relationship between working environment and productivity, says Sarah Patten.

Just Recruitment’s Witham office has recently undergone a transformation. There is fresh paint, new carpets and fittings, designer furniture and a whole new vibe.

The result is a smart, shipshape workplace that befits the company’s brand, and the quality of its staff.

But the importance of a well-designed office space goes beyond simple appearances. It extends to employee satisfaction, productivity, and, ultimately, a better-performing business.

According to a report by the British Council for Offices and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, the design of a workplace can affect staff performance by as much as five per cent for individuals, and 11 per cent for teams.

The report cites the example of a British company that moved its call centre operation to new premises. Following the move, staff turnover reduced by 11 per cent, and call output more than doubled.

Another study found reduced absenteeism in workers who moved to a new office, compared to their colleagues who remained at existing company premises.

How, though, can a physical environment have such an impact on those who work within it?

Employee wellbeing

Health and comfort are key factors when it comes to staff motivation and productivity. Air quality, temperature, light, noise: all need to be carefully considered.

“Take air quality as an example,” says Just Recruitment Group Ltd director, Peter Foy. “We all know that fresh air is good for us. In an office environment, it renews oxygen and dilutes pollutants, and has been shown to improve productivity. Meanwhile, poor ventilation can be detrimental to employee health, with attendant business consequences.”

When it comes to lighting, it seems that daylight is best. Citing a neuroscientific study, The World Green Building Council points out that staff without windows nearby suffered from reduced sleep quality and efficiency, and more physical and vitality problems.

Noise, too, plays an important role. “Too much of it can be a distraction, while too little can prove isolating,” comments Mr Foy. “And both can have a negative impact on productivity.”

If you’d like improved staff performance without the expense of a refit, consider investing in a few plants. According to recent research by a group of academics, landscaping an office with plants can increase productivity by as much as 15 per cent. The research concluded that office greenery increases employees’ workplace engagement by making them “more physically, cognitively and emotionally involved in their work.”

Office layout

As the World Green Building Council (WGBC) highlights, the way an office is configured has a profound impact on concentration, collaboration, confidentiality and creativity. It can enable or limit productivity, and make a noticeable difference to employee wellbeing.

“Workplace density poses a dilemma,” opines Mr Foy. “On the one hand, employers will want to use their office space as efficiently as possible – and that means maximising the number of staff within it. On the other hand, increased employee density generates more noise and reduces personal space – both of which can result in lower productivity.”

One solution, as the WGBC points out, is to implement flexible working practices. Not only does this free up desk space, but it also gives staff control of their workload, and engenders trust and loyalty.

Staff facilities, such as breakout areas, gyms and kitchens, also play an important role when it comes to employee wellbeing. Social spaces give workers the chance to interact on a personal and professional level – encouraging them to share of ideas, and building community.

The WGBC highlights the benefits of “active design” features that encourage employees to move around an office building, or support a healthy lifestyle. Examples include appealing stairways that simply beg to be climbed, or the provision of showers and bicycle racks.

Brand consistency

When it comes to communicating brand values, the workplace plays a significant role.

“If the design of an office is consistent with a company’s values and beliefs, it will reinforce these in the minds of its employees – encouraging them to believe in, and engage with, the brand,” Mr Foy remarks. “This, in turn, can increase job satisfaction and productivity.”

Take Google’s offices as an example: they include features such as slides, “meeting eggs”, bowling alleys and even mini golf courses. In the words of Google, its workspaces are designed to encourage interaction “within and across teams,” and to “spark conversation about work as well as play.” All of this reinforces the company’s open culture, commitment to its staff, and the importance it places on creativity.

So there you have it: the design of an office can make a significant difference to a business’s success. If you’re looking to increase productivity, take a leaf out of Just Recruitment’s book, and have an office spruce-up. It could make a world of difference to how your people perform.

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2018

Jobs currently available

Featured job
Management Accountant
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £30,000 - £38,000
Location: Haverhill
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906965
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group have a superb opportunity for an experienced Management Accountant to join our client on a fulltime, permanent basis working near to Haverhill.

Reporting directly to the CEO of this fast growing successful company. The business is currently growing at 20% per annum and is at a pivotal moment in its development. New premises have been purchased and new sales and accounting systems are due to be installed in the coming 6 months. This role will be part of the senior management team and involved in key decision making for the business going forward.

Responsibilities include:

  • Responsible for the whole of the accounts department and production of the monthly management report and KPIs.
  • Managing the accounts assistant who has primary responsibility for the purchase ledger.
  • Managing UK and overseas payments, controlling deposits and advance payments.
  • Cash management including weekly forecasting of cash and credit control.
  • Running all aspects of payroll.
  • Management of Royal London pension scheme.
  • Responsibility of all company insurances and utility suppliers.
  • Working with the Operations Manager, analysing profit and cost variances to budget.
  • Implementation of new accounting system, which will free up purchase ledger clerk to take some of the more administrative elements of this role.
  • Job and departmental profit analysis.
  • Monthly VAT returns and Bank reconciliations.
  • Ad-hoc tasks necessary for the for Senior Managers and Directors.
  • Management of personnel files.
  • Administration and other duties relevant to the role.

The ideal candidate will possess the following skills:

  • Experience working in a fast moving busy office environment.
  • Ability to work to deadlines, quickly and accurately under pressure.
  • Ability to prioritise.
  • Discretion required due to nature of the role.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Confident in using Microsoft Excel.
  • Flexible and adaptable.
  • ACA/ACCA/CIMA Qualifications are desirable but not essential.

 

Read more
Featured job
Service Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £30,000 to £35,000 Per Annum
Location: National
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906655
About the role

This position is based nationally and reports to the Field Service Manager.

Responsibilities

  • Attending customer sites across the UK and Ireland as required by the business.
  • Delivering routine preventative maintenance and repair work as scheduled by the service coordinator.
  • Attending product breakdown calls, providing technical assistance to customers and supporting service refurbishment activities.
  • Working efficiently and safely, always within the companies Health & Safety guidelines.
  • Delivering high standards of customer service and maintaining a commercial outlook towards the business.
  • Occasional visits to our parent company in Denmark or attending other manufacturing sites for the purpose of training or support.
  • Active input into the strategic activities of the business when required.

Qualification 

  • Full clean driving licence
  • Knowledge of ventilation systems
  • Knowledge of refrigeration systems
  • Knowledge of control systems
  • Health and Safety, including but not limited to, a strong understanding of making and working within risk assessments and method statements.

Skills

  • Electrical
  • Braising
  • Fault finding

Experience

  • Service and preventative maintenance on HVAC products at a national level

Personal attributes

  • Honest
  • Diligent
  • Flexible
  • Supportive Team player
  • Work effectively and safely alone.

Hours

Monday to Friday 08:30 – 17:00 with a 60-minute unpaid lunch break. However, will be expected to work such additional hours as are necessary for the proper performance of your duties.

Reward Package

  • Competitive Salary (based on experience/qualifications)
  • Bonus scheme (Profit related)
  • 25 days holiday per annum (up to 5 days used for Christmas shutdown) increasing with length of service, up to a maximum of 30 days per year
  • Company sick pay (after 13 weeks service and increases with length of service)
  • Pension Scheme
  • Auto-enrolment 3% employee contribution and 2% employer
  • Group Personal Pension Scheme (once qualified) 3% employee contribution and 3% employer increasing with length of service
  • Life Assurance (2 x basic salary)
  • Private Medical Insurance (once qualified)
  • Childcare Voucher Scheme
  • Employee Assistance Programme

Other benefits

  • Monthly flexi-Fridays (staff can leave at 2pm, having made the time up that week)
  • Medical appointments paid up to one hour (excluding opticians)
Read more
New job
Truss Designer
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £30k-£32k
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907456
About the role

Just Recruitment is currently recruiting on behalf of an independent Builder and Timber Merchants based on the Suffolk/Essex border.

They supply to retail, sole traders, commercial trade and small contractors right up to national house builders and developers.

They are looking for a Truss Designer to join the team.

The role will involve working with architects and engineers as well as creating layouts for roofs. The candidate will be working with 3D drawings and using systems such as Wolf Enterprise and Rivet.

The successful candidate will:

  • Have experience in a similar role
  • Experience in using Wolf/Rivet systems
  • Be detail conscious, with the ability to ensure work is always completed accurately and on time
  • Able to liaise with customers and provide knowledgeable service both in the office and on-site
  • Have a clean driving licence
  • Be highly customer focussed
  • Be highly organised

Benefits:

  • Competitive salary subject to experience
  • Contributory Stakeholder Pension Scheme
  • 25 days holiday plus bank holidays
  • 40 hours per week, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm
Read more
New job
I-Beam Designer
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: £35,000 - £40,000
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907449
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group is currently recruiting for an I-Beam Designer to join an independent Builder and Timber Merchants in Colchester. 

Monday to Friday 8.00am to 5.00pm 

25 days holiday rising with continuous service 

The company has its own manufacturing facility producing Truss, Eco-Joists and I-Beams. They also stock and supply a wide range of heavy as well as light side building materials, timber, sheet materials, landscaping products, joinery and doors. 

The in-house designers will produce EU5 approved Truss and I-Beam solutions for almost all types of construction. 

The vacancy is for an existing Designer/Estimator to design and price I-Beams. 

The successful candidate will have relevant construction design and estimating experience and will need: 

  • A Clean Driving License 
  • The ability to ensure work is always completely accurate and within time constraints. 
  • To be highly customer focused – have good communications skills, with both customers and colleagues. 
  • To liaise with customers and provide a knowledgeable service both in the office and on-site visits. 
  • Attend customer and site meetings as required. 
Read more
New job
Group Financial Controller
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £50,000 - £58,000
Location: Earls Colne
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907432
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group is currently recruiting for a Group Financial Controller within the property sector. 

The role will involve day-to-day finances, the controllership function and any ad hoc projects that may arise – contributing significantly to the commercial management and strategic direction of the company. 

Responsibilities:

  • Running the daily accounting processes, delivering weekly, monthly and board financial reporting, according to applicable accounting standards and to internal and external reporting deadlines. 
  • Overseeing accurate, efficient and timely transactional processes.
  • Preparing and reviewing bank reconciliations, loan schedules, inter-company recharges etc. 
  • Monitoring and forecasting company cash flows. 
  • Debtor and creditor reporting and management. 
  • Review of payroll, VAT and corporation tax returns processed by external accountants. 
  • Commission and expense claim review. 
  • Review and transmission of BACS files. 

Requirements:

  • A degree qualified ACA or ACCA accountant with a commercial and analytical approach.
  • The ideal candidate will have had previous experience in a commercial finance controller role, as well as managing staff members. 
  • Experience in budgeting, forecasting and reporting. 
  • Intermediate to advanced applications software expertise (Excel, Xero plus others). 
  • Meticulous attention to detail and accuracy in work product. 
  • Ability to meet and establish deadlines. 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with all levels of staff and a team player. 
  • Flexible, energetic and highly motivated with the ability to thrive in a fast paced, high growth environment. 
Read more