Future of Work

How to make your office space more enticing for your team in 2023

Owl Labs Blog Author Avatar Icon
Katherine Boyarsky
25 January 2023

Learn about 7 key office improvements that will make your team love the workplace, no matter how they use it.

All over the world, companies continue to experiment with a wide range of workplace policies on in-office, remote, and hybrid work. Understandably, companies want to make use of the spaces they’ve invested in, but forcing employees back to work is simply not the way to keep employees engaged, happy, and on your team. We know that 66% of employees would start looking for a new job if the ability to work remotely was taken away, and 39% would quit on the spot.

When it comes down to it, the most productive office is the one that employees choose to go to — but how do you get employees to want to come back to the office?

Creating a flexible, hybrid workplace shows trust in your employees and allows them to take control of their own productivity and their work-life balance. Many employees are ready to come back to the office at least some of the time, whether it’s to connect with colleagues or find an environment with fewer distractions. 

But there’s more you can do. New office design concepts have emerged since the return to offices began, including rethinking the assigned desk and putting a greater emphasis on communal spaces. Building a combination of private, collaborative, and comfortable spaces helps employees feel like they can use the space for anything and that working from the office really is better than working from their living room.

Here are seven office environment improvement ideas that can help bring your employees back to the office.

What do today’s employees want out of their office space?

1. Modern workplace technology

Laggy calls, terrible audio feedback, double-booked rooms, and glitchy video make for uncomfortable, awkward, and unproductive meetings. The modern workplace requires new tech solutions that are built for hybrid collaboration. 96% of employees agree that good technology is a key employee benefit — and that extends beyond employees’ individual laptops. 

Here are three categories of technology worth investing in:

  • Updated computers, monitors, and equipment.

    We’re relying on tech equipment to keep workers connected, so that monitor from 8 years ago that only sometimes connects to the internet isn’t going to cut it.

  • Room reservation software.

    Don’t let employees waste time showing up to a meeting room only to find it occupied — especially if they came to the office specifically for this brainstorm.

  • Meeting technology

    • Meeting room technology should include, at a minimum:

      • Monitors

      • Plug-and-play video and audio conferencing

      • A one-touch meeting scheduler and meeting control center

      • Microphones and extensions for large rooms

    Make sure that all employees can be seen and heard on every call, no matter where they are, with collaborative and inclusive tech like the Meeting Owl 3

2. Comfortable areas to work + socialize

Since the vast majority of employees have gotten used to working from the comfort of their home office or even their couch, it’s important to figure out a workplace layout design that includes casual, comfortable areas. Since employees agree that the office is best for meeting and connecting with colleagues, coming to the office isn’t just about working anymore. 

Employees will want to hang out, chat, and connect, so creating spaces for them to do just that can help boost morale and entice people back to the office. Spaces like these also can be used for hosting social employee events, like after-work beer tastings or pizza nights.

Ensure these spaces have comfortable chairs, couches, and a variety of types of seats and tables — and that the temperature is comfortable. People won’t linger in these areas if they’re freezing or sweltering.

3. Collaborative work zones

Collaborative work isn’t always easy to do remotely, so many employees choose to come to the office for collaborative sessions like brainstorms and project kickoffs. 

Collaborative workspace design often involves giving up single-use spaces in favor of communal, multi-use spaces. Especially since many hybrid companies have chosen to switch to hoteling desks, there’s more room for collaborative workspaces. Those can include a combination of large and small tables, chairs, and benches, as well as whiteboards, screens, and charging ports.

A whiteboard even your remote team can see. Meet the Whiteboard Owl >>

The best office layout for collaboration will depend on the size and distribution of your space, the preferences of your employees, and the equipment, technology, and amenities you can provide.

4. Private spaces for personal + work use

Of course, every office will need spaces where people can take private meetings. Small rooms are great for this, but you can also invest in space-maximizing phone booths — they’re soundproof and the perfect place for employees to take unexpected calls or record podcasts. 

You can also designate a few private spaces as mediation or wind-down rooms for employees to use when they want to take a breather.

5. Workplace amenities that make employees feel at home

As mentioned above, after working from home, employees will be looking for a more laid-back environment in the office that makes them feel at ease. 

Providing exercise and wellness areas, plus showers, changing rooms, and storage lockers, are great amenities that let employees know you’re willing to invest in them as whole people — not just workers. 

Same goes for keeping a kitchen stocked with snacks and coffee and bringing in the occasional free meal from local businesses. If there aren’t a lot of great options for restaurants nearby, consider offering a food delivery stipend so employees can treat themselves every once in a while.

6. A culture of trust from senior management down

Beyond workplace design, making the office more enticing involves creating a culture of trust that’s free from micromanaging.

Employees need to know that when they come to the office, they’re free to balance their work time with taking breaks and connecting with their colleagues without feeling like time away from their desk is being counted.

7. Freedom to use workspaces how + when employees want

Effective workplace design only takes employees part of the way toward a flexible work environment. The most powerful thing that employers can do to entice employees to come back to the office is to let them choose when they want to be there and what to do when they’re in. 

Some employees will want to come to the office to lock themselves in a phone booth and get deep work done in a way that they can’t at home. Others will want to come to the office to spend time with the coworkers they missed during lockdowns. Whatever the case may be, trust that your employees will find the way of working that makes the most sense for them.

Build a great office, a supportive company culture, and hire employees who are great at what they do and enjoyable to work with, and employees will want to spend some of their time in your company’s space.

Learn more about how dedicated hybrid meeting technology can connect your employees, increase productivity, and ensure every employee’s ideas are taken into account — no matter where they’re calling from.