Out of the many recent workplace trends, one seems to be the most misunderstood.
Having an open office is that trend.
When people think of having an open office, the first thing that comes to mind is one huge room, bean bag chairs, and standing desks. This trend goes further than desks, chairs, and floor plans though. As a company in today’s economy, this is critical to understand.
Workers Want Transparency
Let’s get right to it.
Workers in today’s economy want more transparency.
Transparency provides a lot of benefits for employers and employees. Many leading industry websites such as Forbes and Entrepreneur have discussed the benefits of transparency in the workplace.
For example, Forbes states that transparency is great because it leads to easier problem solving and team building. Entrepreneur reports that transparency leads to workers who better align with the company’s goals and their role in achieving those goals as well as engagement within the company.
People want to know the truth about what the company is facing so that they can have a role in solving issues happening in the business as well as taking the company to the next level. If you have a genuinely open and transparent office, your workers can take on more responsibility in helping you solve issues that have popped up around the office.
Millennials Want More Than An Open Floor Plan
“I’ve seen over and over again that when employees feel like their ideas are heard and appreciated, their overall work satisfaction and their work quality improves. These are not the drones of yesteryear — workers care about client satisfaction and about the health of the business they work for, and it’s vastly improved when workers feel truly connected to their company,”
said Nicole Smartt, VP and co-owner of Star Staffing.
Nicole’s thoughts are echoed by many in the industry. In a recent report published by Gallup, they talk at length about millennials in the workplace.
One of the most important parts of this piece was a section that stated that millennials are not looking for the traditional markers of job satisfaction like ping pong tables in the office and free lunch and coffee that one might think they are.
At their core, millennials want something more from their work. They want to feel connected to their job, they want appreciation for their hard work, and they want opportunities for personal development.
The bells and whistles of an excellent office are cool, but don’t let that be your office’s sole positive trait. When all the free swag from your office is taken away, will your organization still be a great place to thrive and work? That is the question that you must ask yourself if you want to succeed and capture the millennial workforce.
How To Make A Truly Open Office
Now that we understand what an open office means let’s chat about how you can create one in your office today.
Create Open Lines of Communication and Act on Feedback
If we take a look at the Gallup report once again, we see that communication is so important for millennial workers.
One of the biggest things that you can do as a business owner is create an open line of communication with your employees. Requests don’t have to go straight to the CEO every time but create a clear line of command, and alert people of how their situation is being handled.
People want to see change. It’s about more than just having a suggestion box in the lobby. If workers don’t feel like their ideas are being heard, the line of communication will falter.
So, when you receive feedback, you should consider it all, and as a company, you should find a way to implement that feedback if it is something many employees want.
Use technology to manage your employee’s feedback.
Hold Weekly Meetings With Your Employees
As an employer, you can also hold weekly meetings with your employees as this works to keep workers of all ages engaged with your company. When millennial workers get weekly meetings with their bosses, they tend to be more engaged than if they did not get that weekly meeting (44% versus 20% engaged.) These regular meetings also impact their performance. If having meetings and giving feedback to your employees makes them better workers, why wouldn’t you take the time to meet with them more often?
These meetings can be beneficial for you to let your employee know what is happening in the company, how you can use their skills to grow the business, and provide the mentorship that many people seek in the workplace.
You don’t want your company to be seen as just a place to get a paycheck. To have a genuinely open office, you need to take time out of your day to make your employees feel like they are more than just a worker, but an important part of your company’s future.
Nicole Smartt adds,
“The most staggering results have come from opening the floor to employees. The people who are actually using the systems that are in place are the best people to show you where productivity is being lost, and where systems aren’t working or could work better. Listen to them. They know. And the best part of this is, the more you listen, the better feedback and productivity you’ll see.”
If you take one thing from this article, let it be this: your office needs to be more than just a building with an open flow. A beautiful office is a perk, but it’s not the end all be all. A spacious office can only save your company so much if people don’t like working there otherwise.
Instead: invest in your employees, invest in their futures, and invest in their ideas. Show them that you care about their opinions and that you care about making the office a better place for them. That will create the truly open office that your employees want from you.