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Nice Office = Happy Employees?

I like our office. It’s open plan, has beautiful views and has a slightly quirky interior. I’ve worked here for 6 years, I manage the office and I’m part of the ‘office design’ team.

Now I know our humble office in Leith, doesn’t compare with the likes of the Google, Facebook, Skyscanner and Innocent Drinks offices but we like it. The aim of the office design team is to create an attractive, comfortable environment for me and my colleagues to work.  Our projects have included creating a relaxed chill-out area with games consoles; painting the pillars in vibrant colours; filling the office with plants; providing free breakfasts and healthy snacks.

I am a strong believer that the physical environment of a workplace greatly affects the positivity within the company.  Great energy can be created by an attractive, comfortable physical environment.  This energy ultimately enhances productivity and success, doesn’t it?

Are these quirky perks actually important for employees?  Table football, hammocks and wacky office designs may look good in pictures, but do they necessarily make employees any happier or productive?

The company that are arguably leading the way with such perks is Google where all food is free, pets are allowed, giant slides, gyms and massage centers are onsite and sleeping pods are constructed allowing employees to take a much needed break.  They have created a space where all the physical needs of their employees have been catered for, keeping them physically and mentally healthy.  It’s common knowledge that Google is rated the top company for job satisfaction so they are doing something right. They deliberately design workplace satisfaction.

The results from our own employee survey revealed that most staff feel it important that their office should be an inspiring and pleasant environment to be in.   Considering we spend, on average, a quarter of our week there, it’s hardly surprising.  In fact, I regularly receive welcome suggestions from my colleagues on how to improve our surroundings.

So, our office design team will continue in our quest!  Although it’s highly unlikely that we’ll replace our stairs with a giant slide or install a rock climbing wall, our next project is to invest in walking desks.

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