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Listening to employees is key

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The most important thing when it comes to employee wellbeing in shared office spaces is to listen to what they want.

That is according to Google’s director of global design Christopher Coleman. And by listening to its employees, the IT company has found that the thing they desire most is diversity, Bloomberg reports.

As there are so many different ways to work within an office – individually, in a team – as well as a huge cross-section of diverse employers, it is important to try to cater to everyone.

The way that Google goes about doing this is by tailoring its office spaces to the different kinds of workers they employ – from introverts to extroverts and everyone in between.

Their aim is to create as many different spaces as possible by diversifying size, scale, light and mood. And while to the untrained eye it may all seem haphazard, the company’s interior design team has in fact conducted comprehensive surveys to glean what employees would like.

Most importantly, though, the company listens.

“We have information from Googlers on what works and what doesn’t, we do post-occupancy surveys, we ask questions, and we listen very closely. When we design a space, we usually offer a few solutions people can react to,” Mr Coleman said.

Examples of the kind of workspaces found at Google include micro-kitchens that double up as libraries and even games rooms. And another thing that Google takes very seriously is employee health and that’s why it set up sit-stand desks, which are extensively used by staff members.

While redesigning office spaces to rival Google’s may not be an option for most companies, there are a number of things that could easily be adopted within many.

For example, good lighting is important and can make a big difference to employee mood and productivity. In addition, a shared space – be it a kitchen or seating area – will allow staff members to come together and share ideas in an informal manner.