Every company has tools of the trade that equip employees to do their jobs, in the hope that they will do them well. Strategic decisions are made with the goal of developing employees and providing what they need to deliver the best products and services to customers or end users. Many employers are increasingly realizing the value of thoughtful workplace design as one of the tools they can provide to enhance the employee experience and make their workforce more productive, innovative, and successful. Workplace design can also play a role in employee retention, making it a worthwhile investment.

So, what are some ways employers can integrate thoughtful workplace design to improve employee satisfaction? Capital One recently released the findings of the Work Environment Survey, which asked 3,500 full-time professionals for their thoughts on the various design elements, amenities, and tools they most want to see in their workplaces. The findings help illustrate the impacts those things can have on employee productivity and performance.

One size does not fit all

Designing a great experience for employees starts with understanding the individual ways in which they work and the tools they need to be successful. Such insights help you adopt a workplace design strategy that facilitates productivity and innovation. Nearly three in four (73%) employees agree they have their best ideas when they have access to flexible workspace options, which highlights the role that movement and varied environments can have on performance as well as productivity. Nearly two-thirds (65%) also say they are more productive when they change physical locations throughout the workday.

Tech expectations

In today’s digital-driven world, providing the latest technology solutions may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a critical piece of the employee experience that can’t be overlooked. Most (95%) employees say they’re able to perform their jobs better when they have access to the technology they need and 82% agree it’s important for the next company they work for to be an early adopter of new technologies.

For today’s workforce, that means companies need to provide both on-site technology solutions as well as those that close the distance between employees working in various locations, enabling better work/life integration. After all, 61% of professionals expect flexible hours from their next employer and 54% expect the ability to work remotely. The tech solutions that employees want mirror the desire for greater flexibility in where and how they get their work done. Three in four (75%) employees agree that video meeting and conferencing abilities would improve their job performance and success at work and 74% say real-time collaboration tools (like chat applications).

The right tech fosters a seamless experience and accommodates the overwhelming desire for flexibility in scheduling, which can drive retention: 81% list that perk in their top two reasons to stay with a company.

Give me a break

Hospitality experiences are also driving workplace design. While integrating rest and relaxation spaces in an office setting may be unexpected, doing so can actually have a positive impact on productivity. Nearly all (89%) respondents agreed that they work better when they have spaces in the workplace to take breaks. Half (50%) also indicated that spaces for rest and relaxation are a design element they’d like to see in their own workplaces, up from 25% in the 2018 Work Environment Survey.

Designing to accommodate these preferences does not necessarily mean companies need to install nap pods. Companies can try designating multi-use spaces that allow for various types of rest or breaks throughout the day, including meditation, prayer or private space for new moms. When professionals feel their employer cares about them from a holistic perspective, and not just as a worker at a desk all day, it can drive stronger performance and increased productivity.

In today’s job market, talented employees have no shortage of employment options. Strategic workplace design is one of the tools companies can use to create an office environment that makes current and prospective employees excited to come to work each day-;and which empowers them to do their best, most innovative work.