How Office Design Affects Employee Recruitment

April 09, 2019

Office layout with a modern design
Ben Eubanks

Attracting and recruiting the right employee population has a variety of facets, but have you ever considered the relationship between office design and recruitment? The reality is that we spend about one-third of our working lives in the office, which means there is great potential for correlation between having an inspiring, uplifting office space and a company's ability to recruit and hire the right people.

New research points out that office design doesn't just affect recruitment, it can even cause candidates to reject an offer if the space is particularly uninspiring. This underscores the importance of creating a space that helps to encourage energy and creativity in the workforce.

Research Shows Candidates Don't Want Uninspiring Offices

Of the candidates that have been offered jobs at companies with uninspiring office designs, 43 percent rejected the offer because of the office environment, according to data collected by Saracen Interiors. Imagine, for a moment, that your office design is less than ideal. You don't offer modern workspaces or flexible spaces for workers. Every time you make offers to talented individuals, only 60 percent of them will accept. This is a painful scenario for employers.

In a challenging economy with tight labor markets, employers are looking for every possible edge to help them attract and keep the best people. While office design and recruitment aren't often discussed in the same sentence, it's clear that how offices are developed has a clear impact on recruiting performance.

Years ago, I was the primary recruiter for a firm with two locations. One space was open with collaborative areas, inspiring art and other features. The other location was dark, dated and lacked any sort of character. While I can't say for sure that our results were exactly split 60-40 as the research shows, I do know that it was much easier to recruit for the location with a more modern, inspiring environment.

    Covering the Ergonomics Angle

    Creating inspiring spaces isn't just about throwing together something flashy that may actually hamper office performance. Good design and workplace efficiency don't have to be mutually exclusive categories, and the ultimate impact of design decisions often reaches farther than simply look and feel. For instance, plants and furniture layout can affect a positive employee experience, helping individual employees to perform at their best. Providing employees with standing or bike desks can positively impact creativity, performance and fitness, key measurements of employee well-being.

    The important thing to remember is that every decision about office design, layout and other related concepts does not happen in a vacuum. People want to be inspired by their workplace. Gallup research shows that engaged employees — those that are highly satisfied at work — are actually more creative than their unengaged peers.

    By paying close attention to office space design, employers can create a workplace that attracts and engages talented workers, enabling them to perform at their best.

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