Employee engagement – it’s a simple phrase that’s anything but simple to define. It seems like every day there’s a new article identifying “the most important element” for engaging employees and creating a great workplace culture. But the truth is, there isn’t any single thing that drives engagement; it’s the sum of many things – big and small – that make up the employee experience and impact engagement. And as my colleague pointed out recently, when it comes to the employee experience, companies have a choice: they can leave the experience to chance, or they can design an experience that gives employees a chance to flourish.

One important aspect of the employee experience is the environment in which employees work. Many studies show a connection between work environment, employee well-being and productivity – but it doesn’t take a formal research study to know that employees who enjoy their work environment are happier and more engaged. However, this goes beyond office perks like ping pong tables and snack machines; from increasing natural light and daylight views, to incorporating elements that encourage movement during the day, more and more companies are designing their office spaces to truly enhance employee well-being.

A growing trend impacting office design these days is the desire to work somewhere other than your desk during the day. Thanks to advances in technology, gone are the days of having to be chained to your desk from 9-5; with laptops, cell phones and Wi-Fi, the whole building – and beyond – can be considered part of an employee’s workspace. Adding a change of scenery into your day forces you to move around, re-energizes you for the tasks at hand, and can foster collaboration with peers who are also using those shared spaces.

Adding a change of scenery into your day forces you to move around, re-energizes you for the tasks at hand, and can foster collaboration with peers who are also using those shared spaces.Click To Tweet

To facilitate this work style preference and its positive impact on employee well-being and productivity, companies should consider the following elements.

Offer a variety of spaces

Be sure to include a mix of open and closed spaces, with some suited for individual work and others for small group work. Examples include huddle rooms, focus rooms, work booths and casual seating areas. Equally important, make sure the furniture is right for each space – nothing ruins a great workspace faster than tables that are too high or too low, or chairs that are awkward or uncomfortable.

Provide the right tools

Employees need to have the right technology and other resources that allow them to work from these spaces. Consider having desk phones that automatically forward calls to cell phones, as well as an instant messenger app, so that employees can reach each other no matter their location. And within each space, make sure there are plenty of outlets for employees to plug in their computer or cell phone charger, appropriate lighting, and of course, reliable Wi-Fi.

 Get leadership support

Making sure that your company’s leaders embrace this work preference is vital to creating a culture that supports it. If an employee doesn’t think their manager approves of them working from somewhere other than their desk, they probably won’t do it. Managers need to lead by example and encourage their employees to take advantage of the different spaces and the benefits that come from working in them.

While your work environment is just one piece of the employee experience, it’s certainly a big one. Companies should consider whether they’re providing a workspace that employees want to come to every day – one that inspires them to do their best work and helps keep them energized and engaged.

For more insights on communication and brand strategy, industry trends and more, subscribe today to the Weekly Buzz here.