Each year, executives tackle the grueling chore of assessing their annual budgets. They link financial investments to business results, balance pressure from stakeholders with the true needs of their department heads, and forecast future needs by considering internal and external trends.
Inevitably, budget cuts and restrictions must be made to account for high-priority investments, and this is typically when organizations pull funds away from workspace updates. The physical office environment often gets viewed as a “nice-to-have” element rather than a necessity — but this is a costly mistake.
Many executives fail to realize the direct impact their organization’s workspace has on its bottom line. Here’s why you can't afford NOT to update your workspace in 2017.
Time is Money
There’s a fine line between interacting with co-workers and feeling distracted by them. And distractions are the archenemy of productivity. In a study by Basex, employees claimed that as many as three to five hours of their work day is lost to interruptions. And distractions and interruptions at work cost the US economy roughly $588 billion a year.
And remember that organizations currently support four generations of employees, each preferring vastly different characteristics of their work environments. Unless specific workspace adjustments are made, it’s highly likely your office design isn’t supporting all members of your workforce, which costs your organization handsomely in lost productivity.
One way to cater to all workspace preferences is to segment the office into workspace “zones” that align with different styles of working. The four most important zones to create include:
- Focus areas for quiet concentration
- Collaborate areas for brainstorming and problem solving
- Learning areas for lectures or team meetings
- Socialization areas for casual breaks
Employee Acquisition & Retention is Expensive
Your organization’s workspace doesn’t just affect current employees; it’s also instrumental in attracting top talent. According to one source, 78 percent of millennials say workplace environments affect their decisions to stay at a job, and 47 percent of Gen-Xers would leave their current position for one accompanied by a more innovative work environment.
Research published by Zane Benefits also indicates that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs them about six to nine months worth of that individual’s salary in recruiting and training expenses alone. Other studies estimate the cost at about 20 percent of an employee’s annual salary (for mid-range positions) and as much as 213 percent of an employee’s annual salary for executive positions.
Office Environments Affect Employee Health
According to CareerBuilder, nearly half of America has gained weight at their current job. The Washington Post went into explicit detail about the chain of life-threatening problems that accompany sitting in an office chair for eight hours a day, including weight gain, organ damage, foggy brain, neck, shoulder and back strain, muscle degeneration and other serious issues.
In 2015, productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost U.S. employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee.
Ergonomic furniture and sit-to-stand workstations will provide employees with better physical support and encourage them to stand up and move around periodically throughout the day, which experts insist is critical to improving overall health.
Opting for designated workspace ‘zones’ instead of open floorplans will also prevent the spread of germs. Employees who feel their environmental needs are met at work may also experience less stress, which accounts for nearly 1 million sick days each year.
Happy, healthy employees are 12 percent more productive, take 10 times fewer sick days and help their organizations outperform competitors by 20 percent. Companies that accommodate and invest in their employees also experience high levels of satisfaction and grow faster than companies that don’t.
When you look at the facts, it’s clear — you actually can’t afford to allow your office environment to lapse in quality. An innovative workspace is the foundation for your success and a driving force behind growing your business budget.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.