Ingrid Bartlett

Amenities to attract and retain employees

Inger Bartlett, President, Bartlett & Associates
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What amenities are companies integrating into the design of their facilities to attract and retain employees?

A workplace must respond directly to the trend of employees putting in longer hours. New employees want to know where they can go for a break or a little downtime to recharge.

When working with a client, it is important to know how they work with their people to determine which amenities are most appropriate for the culture. Usually, clients are at least looking for a cafe and Wi-Fi.

In ad agencies, where staff tend to be mobile and flexible, amenities are especially key.

Edelman PR in Toronto has an outdoor rooftop patio with a faux “leaf” wall that is set against the backdrop of the firm’s downtown neighbourhood. People naturally gravitate there in warmer weather. Meanwhile, the firm’s Global Cafe is a natural gathering spot indoors, with current magazines, white chairs and light wood features. Thursday at 4 p.m. is “Foursies,” when everyone meets in the Global Cafe for a social break.

The DraftFCB agency, also in Toronto, has the Market Square adjacent to its main boardroom. Large pivoting doors open to the cafe space and bar area, which are well-lit by natural light thanks to generous windows. The Market Square has emerged as the principal gathering spot for staff.

Health and wellness amenities are another popular workplace extra. Diet and exercise programs, personal trainers, massages, yoga, and healthy lunches are a win-win for both employer and employee.

Real estate developer and builder Aspen Ridge in Concord is incorporating a gym into their new space so employees can exercise during their lunch breaks.

Tech firms have taken amenities to a whole new level, with candy shops, beer taps, slides connecting multi-floor offices, dry cleaning, valet parking, car washes and ping pong tables.

Companies that want to remain relevant to their employees are smart to consider the amenities that will be important to their human capital, since this is what helps create a culture where people want to work together as a team.

Inger Bartlett is the president of Bartlett & Associates. The company’s portfolio includes Vale Inco, George Weston and Saatchi & Saatchi. They can be reached at 416-926-8247.

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