ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

November 1999

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Boeing Flies High

Fostering Creativity: An Early Start

Are We There Yet?

If It Ain't Pretty - I'm Outta Here

Flying Above Mediocrity

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by Peter Block


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If It Ain't Pretty-I'm Outta Here
New Study Finds That Design Of Workspace Impacts Employee Retention and Recruitment

A cramped office, out of date equipment and lack of comfort might just be causing some companies to lose valuable employees. A recent study by the American Society of Interior Designers found that it takes more than just money or job "challenge" to give companies an edge in their recruiting and retention efforts.

The physical workspace was one of the top three reasons employees cited as a decision to accept or leave a job. Compensation was listed by 62 percent of the employees, while benefits and work-place essentially tied for second, being listed 22 percent of the time.
"I'm not surprised by the impact of the physical workplace shown in this research," says Doug Bullock, president of Bullock Associates Design Consultants, Toronto, Canada. "We helped a global consulting firm office attract and retain new hires. We supported a major corporate culture change by creating a physical environment that says 'this is a progressive, fun place to work.'" The physical workplace also ranked in the top three determining factors that serve as contributors to job satisfaction. Employees who were pleased with their physical work-place were 31 percent more likely to say they were satisfied with their jobs. "Office design clearly impacts daily activities and that's why workspaces are increasingly being designed to focus on particular tasks rather than individual needs," says B.J. Miller, president of Vision Design Group, Johnson City, Tenn.

Boomers Talk: Xers Walk
Baby Boomers (age 35-54) tend to be activists about the workspace because they know they will spend a lot of time there. As a result they complain more readily. Generation Xers (age 18-34), by contrast, won't complain about an unsatisfactory workspace. They are more likely to leave a job than try to correct the situation.

"Learning that Generation Xers may leave a job due in part to dissatisfaction with the physical workplace rather than complain about it to anybody should be a wake-up call to companies that they need to be proactive," says Bullock. "It's important to survey employees on a regular basis to find out what they like and don't like about their jobs, including the physical workspace." "It is also important for companies to keep in mind what current and future employees look for in the physical environment," added Miller.

"Generation Xers often want to work at forward-looking companies in open environments that show they are up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Baby Boomers are more likely to want private offices and quiet working conditions."

November '99 News for a Change | Email Editor
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