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  • Writer's pictureBrian Trimble

The importance of Workspace Design in Attracting and Retaining Employees

When we think of attracting and retaining employees, the first factors that usually come to mind are salary, benefits, and perhaps, the company's prestige.

But there's another factor that many people tend to overlook: workspace design.

The design of the workspace goes a long way in helping to attract and retain employees. It doesn't just affect the mood of everyone who's working; it also keeps their mental and physical states in tip-top shape!

This is a reason why companies like Google and Instagram are consistently ranked as some of the best workplaces aesthetically. They don't just copy the typical office design we've all grown used to. Instead, they spice things up by using unique and quirky workspace designs that make working more fun.

Let's look at why workspace design is important in employee attraction and retention.

1. Workspace design is a reflection of your company's culture and values.

When new employees first step into the office, they won’t understand everything about the company yet. It will take some time for the atmosphere to sink in, and one of the biggest factors that influence their impression of their new company is your design.

From the colors to the layout to the lighting, every aspect of your workspace design is a sneak peek into what it's like to work with you.

When you post pictures of your office's layout to the public, and the design already communicates the atmosphere and company culture, it's a great way to attract new talent.

Now, you don't always have to make it look "fun" like Google, especially when your company values don't align with quirky designs. But taking the effort to make your design align with your company's mission can go a long way into making your office stand out.

2. Workspace design affects working mood.

Dull, gray designs with repetitive cubicles feel like a factory. The moment that employees step in to go to work every morning, it creates a sense of dread that just makes them want to look forward to the end of their shift.

Plenty of research has shown that workspace design plays a big part in keeping employees relaxed, motivated, and happy.

Think back to the last time you were in a hospital, with its sterile white walls and hard edges. It doesn't evoke happiness, right? But that kind of design is purposeful in a medical setting, for reasons such as making it easy to see if things shouldn't be there.

But the office isn't a hospital, and it's always a good thing to design your workspace around moods that can boost productivity for your office.

Your choice of lighting, furniture layout, and even plant placement are all quite influential when it comes to setting the mood for your workspace. Research also says that green colors are relaxing, which is why people like putting up plants in their homes.

3. Design involves amenities, too.

We've talked about layout and lighting so much, and you might think that nothing else matters when it comes to workspace design. But you'll also want to consider the amenities you offer compared to your competitors.

A coffee machine might have been impressive enough in decades past, but that's become pretty standard nowadays. You're going to need to scale up your free offerings relative to the size of your business.

For some, it can be as simple as a communal pantry. But bigger businesses scale it up by offering a full café for their employees. You don't have to break the bank by offering more than you can afford, but it's a fact that the amenities in a company are also one of their competition points.

4. Workspace design involves acoustics.

Have you ever tried so hard to focus on something, but you just couldn't because it was too loud? Maybe it was the constant footsteps of people shuffling back and forth, or maybe the idle chatter around the office was getting to your head too much.

That's what bad acoustics can do, and it's one of the most overlooked aspects of the workspace because it isn't obvious until it becomes too much. When designing a workspace, it's just as important to focus on the details.

Failing to account for acoustics is bad design, leading to stress and poor productivity. For this, you'll want to strike a nice balance that makes the office not too quiet but not too loud.

You don't want a loud office for obvious reasons, but an office that's too quiet can be just as bad as well. After you've invested in soundproofing for the workspace, you can maybe look into putting in some ambient sounds or music to get your desired workspace atmosphere.

5. Visible investments in workspace design make employees feel valued.

When employees walk into the office, they want to walk into a space that makes them feel like they're in a place that recognizes their needs.

Workspace design can't just be employer-centric; making employees feel valued through workspace design like putting in collaboration and break rooms is a great way to boost employee happiness.

Surveys have been conducted among professionals, where many of them said that good workspace design affects their decision to accept an offer from that company. It also plays a factor in choosing to stay in that company (if they're already hired) or make them want to change jobs.


All in all, workspace design is a key component of HR strategy that gives you a competitive edge. Metrics aren't all that matter nowadays; a good company values its employees as much as it values its clients and its profits.

Younger generations are placing more and more value in how workplaces make them feel, not just how much they can make by working for a company. By choosing to invest in workspace design, you send a message to your employees, your clients, and the general public about the quality of your company.

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