Many companies are being met with resistance as they try to bring their employees back into the office full time, with a movement of staff resigning if they don’t get the flexibility they are wanting. To make the transition smoother for both the employer and employees, ensuring being in the office is an enjoyable experience is paramount.

A new study we commissioned, surveying over 1,000 Australian workers, found that 37% of people stated their office design has changed since the pandemic. The leading ways they have been changed are a more open plan design (44%), larger office space (35%) and more collaborative areas (28%).

Delving further into the research, 39% of workers who had an office redesign said it made the office more enjoyable and productive, and respondents stated they particularly enjoyed the change from closed panned to open planned because it’s more collaborative and inclusive.

Interestingly the percentage of employees who preferred open plan rose per level of employment, with only 41% of entry level opting for this design as their preference compared to intermediate level staff (51%), middle management (58%), senior management (68%) and C-Level executives (76%).

Of those who didn’t have any office design changes, 40% state that they wish this is something their company would do.

Having an office that brings out the best in the team is paramount to a company’s success. This research highlights that many workers want different things in order to maximise their productivity and engagement, so it’s crucial to ensure you cater to all types of employees when doing an office redesign.

It seems of the businesses who have not updated their office design since the pandemic that cost is a main factor, but it’s important to understand that these modifications don’t need to be an overly significant investment and there are small tweaks that can make a huge different to staff morale.

To help inspire companies who want to redesign their office but don’t know where to start, here are some tips:

  • Begin with focusing on changes that suit the majority of employees: 68% of workers state they want a more ergonomic setup, so refreshing the office with workstations, desks and chairs, and collaborative setups that incorporate ergonomic design will help to drive efficiency and productivity.
  • Speak to your team about what types of environments would benefit them: Some industries benefit more from quiet rooms, others from adding more open areas, and others from rooms specifically to collaborate. Find out what your employees are looking for, and start there.
  • Partner with an expert to ensure you get the maximum return” While it will cost more up front, working with a specialist in this area will pay off tenfold in the long term. Not only will they be able to use their market expertise to deliver specialist solutions for every room in your office, they will also be able to ensure the products used are backed by long commercial warranties.

Creating a cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing working environment where your staff can be productive and do great work will lead to better engagement while employees are in the office and help with staff retention.

Belinda Lyone is co-CEO of COS.