21(116) 2015
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HR & Professional Training

An office which takes the company to the next level

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Training programmes are not the only factor that leads to the optimisation of efficiency within a company. The working environment is also of great significance. 

With proper office space arrangement, we can help our employees adjust to the new space, increase efficiency and enhance their integration with the rest of the staff.

Research conducted by Skanska and JLL entitled BPO and Shared Services Centres: Employees speak out on workplace. Office building attributes as a competitive advantage in the war for talent, shows that up to 90%1  of employees from the services sector claim that a comfortable working place has a positive influence on their efficiency. A thoroughly thought-out and conveniently arranged office can increase employees’ engagement in work. Short breaks during working hours are also important in order to get away from one’s tasks for a while and come back to them with fresh thoughts and renewed strength. Scientists assert that the highest efficiency can be achieved through working continually for 52 minutes and then allowing yourself 17 minutes of rest2.  Employers seem to recognise this dependence as well. Therefore, they are more often focused on modern offices that not only have the obvious benefits such as location and modern equipment, but also provide special areas for rest, recreation and employee integration. 

Informal conversations within an office form a crucial element of day-to-day work. Almost 80% of ideas are created away from the office desk through interaction among employees. This is confirmed by research conducted by Harvard Business Review, which says that random meetings within a company’s space increase business efficiency3.  Therefore, there are a growing number of supporters in favour of the ‘hot desk’ concept comprising unassigned working places as well as a division of office space between areas designed for specific tasks. An example of such an arranged space is Skanska’s office in the Atrium 1 office building in Warsaw. This office is designed in accordance with the popular Activity Based Workplace trend, comprising office space arranged based on the research of employee activity routes. This means that the office is divided between various areas enabling creative teamwork, work in focus, telephone conversations as well as business meetings. 

“For us, the arrangement of our office in accordance with the Activity Based Workplace concept was a very interesting experience. We had to become detached from our office desks and rooms at first, but we then began to notice how much space we were able to retrieve and give back to all of our employees”, says Arkadiusz Rudzki, leasing & asset director at Skanska Property Poland. 

Green = productive

Convenient space arrangement is not the only factor influencing employees’ efficiency. Sustainable solutions applied within offices also play an important role. 

“When talking about the benefits derived from applying sustainable solutions, most of us firstly think of environmental protection and the reduction in energy consumption. However, the biggest advantage of green buildings is their positive influence on employees as well as their comfort and work productivity. In the US, employee sick leave can cost companies up to $2,500 per employee per year. Green solutions help to significantly reduce the number of sick days and reduce the aforementioned costs by up to 40%,” says Katarzyna Zawodna, president, Skanska Property Poland.

Clean air and proper ventilation can increase employee efficiency by 8-11%. A temperature level of between 21 and 23oC as well as natural light are also of crucial importance. Access to natural daylight can reduce employee sick leave by three days a year and increase productivity to a level comparable to almost four additional days a month4

To fully enjoy the potential of modern, green office buildings, one must learn how to appropriately use the technologies offered by them.

“Systems will guarantee the building’s optimal work only up to a point. However, in cooperation with a user who is aware of the potential benefits, these systems can provide maximum occupancy comfort and cost reductions. That is why, from the start, we introduce representatives of companies interested in Skanska’s buildings to the world of green solutions. We offer numerous educational materials, explain the technical aspects as well as the influence of green offices on employees’ well-being. After signing a lease agreement, we conduct specific training, including less formal input such as games,” says Paweł Paśnikowski, sustainable development manager at Skanska Commercial Development Europe.

The office as a tactical advantage in the war for the employee

Green buildings can improve the company’s attractiveness in terms of obtaining and retaining employees. A modern and creatively arranged office is an important argument in the competitive “war for talent.” The labor market is witnessing the growing importance of the “millennial” generation who perceive comfort, modern technologies as well as green solutions as a lifestyle instead of a temporary trend. Therefore, comfort and an appropriate working environment are one of the five most important factors conditioning the generation’s selection of employers. This is proved by the BPO and Shared Services Centres: Employees speak out on workplace. Winning office buildings’ attributes in the war for talent report. For 65% of employees, attractive office space can be a factor encouraging their decision, while 81% of respondents would like to see their office desk prior to signing an agreement.

“Results of the research show that employers should focus more on selection and convenient office space arrangement. Young people are more demanding when it comes to their work space. They want to work in a creatively arranged space enabling them to feel comfortable and increase their efficiency. Such an approach not only results in improved employee wellbeing but also allows companies to influence the productivity of their teams,” says Mr Rudzki.

1 BPO and Shared Services Centres: Employees speak out on workplace, 2015, www.jll.pl
2 Draugiem Group (www.draugiemgroup.com), 2014
3 https://hbr.org/2014/10/workspaces-that-move-people
4 Office as efficient as outsourcing, 2014, www.skanska.pl

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