Office space in the enterprise

It’s interesting to note how different enterprises treat their staff in respect of the office space they provide.

I was at a large UK retailer for a meeting, yesterday.  Retailers are not renowned for overpaying their staff or providing luxurious facilities.  However there has to be an understanding that, if you want your staff to be the smiling face of your company you better treat them with respect.

From the outside the building looked like a massive tin shed with porthole sized windows.  From the inside the floor plan was huge and lacked natural light.  However, there was smart furniture, well laid out with sound deadening screens where required.  There was air conditioning.  IT facilities looked excellent on the face of it.  An abundance of meeting rooms was supplemented by clever (and cheap) refreshment areas.  I thought they had made every effort to make the best of a difficult environment.  The staff seemed mostly upbeat and good humoured as far as I could tell.

On the walk back to the car park I passed the adjacent building which, although identical in architecture, contained a different company, a gambling operation that has been around for donkey’s years.  Without even going into the building I could see the difference.  Windows and doors were wide open as staff struggled in the heat.  The people I saw moping in and out of the building looked bored.  There were no external recreation areas.  The reception was small and uninviting.

I am not sure if this is about the (internet driven) resurgence in parts of the retailing sector and a decline in old gambling formats causing affordability issues, or whether it’s a reflection of two differing management styles.  Either way, I know which company I would rather work for – it’s not just about wages.

One Response to “Office space in the enterprise”

  1. Ms. Q Says:

    Workspace DOES make a difference when it comes to productivity, employee mood and overall morale. I’ve been reading a ton of business books so I’m not sure if I got this right (I have already returned it to the library) but I think it was, “Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win” that mentioned how important the design and layout of the workspace was.

    In the book “Vital Friends” which stressed the importance of creating friendships at work (it’s good for business ACROSS THE BOARD increasing productivity, “subjective well being” and safety) the retail giant Best Buy is used as an example of how an innovative building design forced more people to connect (like a giant water cooler) and how employees felt this “energy”. This good energy is felt by customers, too.

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