The physical workplace is the space we can see, walk by, smell and touch. It’s the objects present, the art that hangs on the walls, the office floor, the people we work with and any physical perks we may get like catered meals in the cafeteria, a lounge area that the personnel can utilize to unwind a bit or the on-site gym. Before reading on take a minute to think about your office or physical workplace and how it makes you feel when you are there. Do you get energize or do you feel as if you are arriving into a doctor’s office?

Why should companies invest in creating physical workplaces that workers want to show up to? The answer seems like it must be pure common sense. First of all, personnel well-being is intensely correlated to worker performance and productivity and even a small change in the conditions can have a strong impact. One of the most important factors of well-being is indeed the physical workplace.  Staffs who enjoy the environments they are a part of are more often engaged, happy, productive and even healthy. There are several reports and studies that explore the relationship between the physical workplace and company performance metrics, productivity, and what the workers actually value. So what should companies be doing and considering?

There are many things for potential candidates to look for in the midst of job hunting. Salary, managerial structure and benefits are the obvious ones. But what about the workspace itself? How often do you go in for an interview and overlook what’s staring you directly in the eye?

Research has shown that the office environment has a measurable and dramatic impact on personnel satisfaction, efficiency and productivity. The 2016 Gensler Workplace Survey actually found that certain aspects of the physical workplace drive not only efficiency and productivity but innovation as well.

If you want to get a leg up on competitors, what should you be thinking about when assessing your workplace environment for ways to boost personnel performance?

Privacy is important

Open-offices have been all the rage for many years now. In the beginning the thought behind them was that they would remove that annoying feeling of separation between managers and workers and encourage a dynamic and collaborative work atmosphere.

While those advantages can surely arise from implementing an open office, the inexorable reality is that they generate a lack of privacy. This lack of personal private space not only interrupts workers’ focus, but can also make the staff feel like they are continuously being monitored by their managers.

Safety is essential

Safety doesn’t add up much motivation or efficiency by itself, but when it’s not there it can take away a lot. When it comes to investing in workspace safety, the negative impact on productivity is a fundamental concern. The fact is that a safe office is often a more productive, efficient and profitable one. Simple but key things, which by the way are also mandatory, like having a first aids kit, fire extinguisher or even running a fire risk assessment can go a long way. Safety and productivity go together in the office and safety can actually help your bottom line.

Focus on several ways of working

There are four key areas that must be available for workers, which are areas to collaborate, learn, focus and socialize. This is not about an open office or a cubicle, it’s more about giving staffs several modes of working. The most progressive companies and enterprises don’t have a single floor plan, they have several. LinkedIn, Airbnb, and many other companies have this kind of environments. The key is to stay away from having one single floor plan, and instead integrating and incorporating various floor plans.

Look at how employees work

Some companies use sensors on employee desks to reveal data about how often they are used. Over time many companies realised that workers do not really work so much at their desks, but instead they move around, find quiet areas, meet at the conference room and work from other areas besides their desk. As a result many companies totally redesigned their premises and facilities to accommodate this reality. Of course it’s not necessary to install sensors on all the desks at your business, you can simply ask workers what they value and care about most and make investments in those areas.

Treat physical space as if it were software

With software we iterate, upgrade, make changes and evolve. The physical space should be thought of in a similar way. At Airbnb they are constantly testing new office layouts, structuration and environments and your company should definitely be doing the same thing.

Author Bio: “Iñigo is a London-based digital copywriter passionate about the new technologies and the online universe. He spends his time writing about the topics he loves, travelling as much as he can and playing sports