Is Office Design Your Leverage for Recruiting and Retaining Talent?

A brief look at the new shortage of technical talent in the oil and gas industry and how thoughtful office design can set your company apart.

Oil and Gas, Meet the Internet of Things.

Our world has become so incredibly connected that no industry is unaffected by the way information is now shared. As the internet of things (IoT) expands its role in gathering, storing, and sharing data the oil and gas industry is beginning to take advantage of the cloud and its software solutions to gain an advantage, or even to just stay competitive. This has opened a new field of opportunities for software engineers, data analysts, and other support positions, and at the moment, this new field has a big gaping hole.

There is a growing demand for talent that possesses the knowledge and experience for working with IoT devices and how it relates to the industry. Analysts need to be able to examine the data and analyze in real time so that the information produced is beneficial and immediately actionable. This requires that candidates be familiar with the oil and gas industry, and therein lies the talent gap.

The rules of supply and demand make it simple to predict what’s next. Oil and gas companies will have to compete over the best available talent, and it’s not as simple as dollar signs anymore.

Oil and Gas, Meet Modern Office Design.

Many employers are discovering a comfortable, welcoming and inspiring workplace is as important as the offer of a big salary and excellent benefits. The culture of a prospective company can have more influence over new talent than the size of a paycheck, and your company has a culture regardless of whether or not its design was intentional.

Workspace design is a key influence in shaping culture, and when attention is given to the variety of work styles, it is also a key influence over productivity, health, and overall wellbeing.

Designing for generations.

Chances are, there is a respectable amount of age diversity in your talent pool. Baby Boomers all the way to Gen-Z, each with different work styles and needs, but all skilled in their field.

Baby Boomers and Generation X are disciplined and hold a greater amount of value for personal privacy, while Millennials and Generation Z value collaboration and mental/physical well-being. Of course, if you were to ask an employee from any given generation if they’d prefer to work in an environment that prioritizes health, the answer will be a decisive yes! An appropriate approach to well-being fosters an environment that will meet the needs of varying employees across the generation spectrum.

A blended workforce has many benefits but also a few challenges when considering office design. Because of their on-demand, fast-paced mindset, the younger generations prioritize variety, autonomy, and freedom of movement in their workspace, while Baby Boomers are typically more comfortable with routine and familiarity. This becomes evident if one were to examine the evolution of office design. In the (relatively) recent past, office layouts primarily consisted of executive perimeter offices surrounding bland, productivity-sucking stretches of repetitive cubicle workstations. Limited views and flexibility, poor acoustics, and an inherent lack of comfortable meeting spaces labeled these as “cubiclevilles.”

Stand up to the cubicle!

Now, the walls have come down. Driven by the change in work styles, the advent of mobile technology, and the growing population of Millennials in the workplace, today’s office spaces are changing. Perimeter offices have disappeared, floor plans have opened up, and inviting breakout areas with cafés are replacing the cold, rigid, closed-in layouts of the past.

Now, while open areas with shared workspaces have their appeal, it’s a trend that clearly favors one work-style over another. For many workers, including those of older generations, the open concept office can be more of a distraction that hampers productivity. To design a workplace that is genuinely cross-generational, it should have a mixture of quiet, dedicated workspaces, spaces to collaborate, café-style workspaces and many meeting rooms. This is a blended approach that can address the needs of workers who desire consistency, peace, and quiet, and others who prefer variety, social collaboration, and background noise.

Reassessing business needs can also help expose previously unseen areas of concern, such as health issues workers may suffer when dealing with poor ergonomics and excessive sitting. Utilizing sit-stand workstations is one of the simplest ways a business can introduce a non-disruptive activity to the workday and still address the well-being issue head-on. Multiple studies have found the benefits of sit-stand desks extend across the generations, unlike other office wellness programs. There have been cases where older generations have been resistant to wellness programs, though this age group has represented the early adopters of sit-stand workstations via pilot programs to help manage their health concerns. For younger generations, sit-stand desks offer a way to proactively manage health and work life in the long term.

Beyond design

Design is obviously not the only aspect to consider for recruiting the next generation of talent, but it should be regularly evaluated to ensure it supports engagement, wellness, and productivity equally. A functional design that promotes an employees’ well-being doesn’t need to be complicated, but it’s undeniably a responsibility for an employer to care for employees.

Efficient and effective work happens when employees are healthy and happy. More than ever, employees now want to join companies that offer a variety of solutions when it comes to their comfort, productivity, and well-being.

A broad range of generations and working styles in a business is a good thing. The challenge of recruiting and maintaining in-demand talent comes in trying to accommodate their varying needs and optimal work settings. The cost of employee turnover can be, in some cases 6-9 months salary. For a position making $80k a year, that’s as much as sixty thousand dollars.

Attracting and keeping talent with effective workplace strategies is essential to create a healthy and productive environment that can be sustained for years to come. Designing a healthy environment and a dynamic workspace that reflects the diversity of your workforce, as well as the similarities, is what sets you apart. We can help find a cost-effective solution that hits all the buttons for employee satisfaction. Let’s get started!





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