As most entrepreneurs come to find out, you really need good help these days and good help is hard to find.
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One of the tricks to help you retain quality employees is providing a quality workplace environment. When you are building out your next office space, or negotiating the lease on it, you will want to pay close attention to some of these amenities and see if you can get them included in your new space without breaking the bank.
1. Reserved employee parking. It sounds old-fashioned, but there are still tons of employees who crave a reserved parking spot. No hunting, no parking in the dark corner of the lot in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes only a few reserved spaces can be negotiated with the Landlord. In that case, make earning a reserved parking stall a big deal as you reward employees for good performance.
2. Indirect lighting. This may sound stupid, but it will actually make a huge difference. Most of the older office spaces have your basic florescent lighting that shoots straight down on your employees. The new thing is to have lighting that is hanging from the ceiling on lines and then shoots back up toward the ceiling. The result is an indirect light that is much softer and more appealing. Employees appreciate this, especially if they're logging 8-10 hours behind a desk doing paper work each day.
3. Fewer offices along exterior walls. One of the best ways to create a nice working environment is to use as much natural light as possible. The old style of office space had private offices along all of the exterior walls, providing nice windows for senior management. Unfortunately, doing that limits the natural light that gets in to the interior of the space for the cubicles and interior offices of your rank and file employees. Try to create a floorplan that minimizes the number of exterior offices. At a minimum leave open sections where the light from outside can stream across a few layers of cubicles. The natural light will make the space feel much nicer.
4. Lunch / Break Room with TV. This one is obvious, but it's surprising how often it is left out. It's nice to have a break room with a fridge, freezer, sink, and some seating areas for employees. It creates a good space for employees to build camaraderie as they check the latest headlines on CNN during their lunch hour. Many offices leave this out, especially if their space is located near good food services but I think that's a mistake.
5. Shower / Locker rooms. If your building doesn't have a shower/locker room facility already provided, you may wish to consider adding it in your space. If your space has it's own bathrooms, a shower room with lockers can be simply added on through expansion. Although this is a relatively expensive renovation, it can pay huge dividends. Now more than ever, employees are interested in a quality lifestyle. There are a lot of employees who would love to bike to work, or perhaps take a run on their lunch hour. A shower facility makes that possible. Just make sure you don't discriminate, even a company with a heavy male to female ratio should build equal showering facilities.