Nokia Office

I wonder how many businesses will be considering changing or refreshing their offices this year?

I’d like to make the case for companies to look seriously at whether their workspaces are as good as they could be. I know this is not an easy sell. Changing work environments takes time and money. It doesn’t obviously boost the bottom line, so it’s no wonder that many choose not to focus on this area. But consider the benefits.

It is a couple of years now since we went through the process of refreshing our workspace here at Brother UK, but we are now reaping the benefits. Among other changes, we increased the space given over to hot-desking as more of our people often work remotely now compared with, say, a decade ago.

We revamped our meeting spaces, creating more informal areas and ‘quiet rooms’ for people who need time away from the buzz of the main office. The layout of our office changed as we sought to help people work more closely together, while rethinking and relaxing our dress code has contributed positively to the ‘feel’ of the environment.

None of these were groundbreaking or expensive changes to make. They just took some time to think through. Importantly, though, they have helped us to create a better working environment. This is one aspect of the proposition which we think makes Brother UK a great place to work, something underlined the Investors in People Gold status we were awarded early last year.

I always try to remember what’s driving these changes to our workspaces and those implemented by other businesses. It is not just the shifting expectations of existing employees, but also those of new generations, too. For example, the evidence is that millennials expect to be working in vibrant, inspiring offices. Call it the Google and Facebook effect.

I know of plenty of brilliant workspaces in Manchester, too. Many are in the tech sector, but they exist in other industries as well. Invariably, these businesses are among those which manage to attract – and retain – the very best people.

So do consider what you could do to transform your work environment in 2016.

By Louise Marshall, infrastructure and shared services director, Brother UK