Businesses across every sector face the same issue when it comes to their staff. They want to attract the best people but they also want to make sure that, once they’ve found them, they keep them in the business.

The company culture will obviously contribute to this a great deal but it’s also worth considering how modern office design can not only make people want to work for the business but also not want to leave.

Illustration of people being drawn to a magnet in an office building

It’s tempting to think that a few unusual or creative elements in the office will be enough to make the working environment interesting and engaging.

While a ball pool and hammock works well for the likes of S3 advertising, it’s not right for every business. And even they needed practical solutions for private meetings and spaces where staff could get on with their day-to-day work.

S3 Advertising's new office

One size does not fit all and every organisation will be different. However, here are three approaches to modern office design that you can mix and match to create a workspace that should help to attract and retain the best people.

The Agile Workplace

Illustration of people climbing a mountain to reach an office chair

Today, adaptability in the workplace is hugely important.

This is being reflected in policies that allow staff to work remotely and a movement towards a culture that recognises the different generations that now share the workplace.

But it can be seen most clearly in the need for businesses to create a physical environment where staff can pick and choose how and where they work.

There might have been a time when a social space was a nice addition to an office but today, employees expect an area where they can relax and socialise.

The open office debate rages on, with a recent study from Harvard Business School questioning the idea that they promote interaction.

By now, businesses recognise that a layout without private areas for discrete meetings doesn’t benefit anyone.

2 women talking in a private meeting booth

An agile, versatile workplace design offers a different room for every task. Some might need a standing desk for an energetic meeting. Others a break-out space with whiteboard walls for an interactive presentation. While someone else might need a quiet room for a private meeting.

Features of an Agile Workplace:

  • A workspace split up into zones for differing needs
  • Sound-proof privacy pods
  • Social break-out spaces
  • IT systems to support remote working with access to business servers

Some of our Agile Workplaces:

The standing desk at Datapipe’s offices and the “cwtch” privacy pod in the Paramount ShowOffice.

The Wellbeing Workplace

Illustration of people gathered around a giant coffee cup

The mental and physical wellbeing of their employees is a key issue for companies.

Incorporating wellbeing practices into an office design can help to keep them happy and motivated.

The World Green Building Council report on Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices found clear evidence that modern office design can have a positive effect on productivity and staff morale.

First of all, it’s important to gain an understanding of what your staff want and need from their working environment.

Having conducted a staff survey, your office design company can start to incorporate elements that specifically benefit the people that work there.

Breakout area at KPMG South Coast offices

It’s worth remembering that both physical and mental wellbeing can be addressed. As well as encouraging more movement in the workplace, the design of the space can also encourage contemplation and relaxation.

The concept of resimercial design combines the principles of residential and commercial interior design in an attempt to create an environment that allows people to be productive but in an environment that reminds them of home.

CBRE and the University of Twente conducted a comprehensive study into wellness and the office in the Netherlands. It found that those sitting in window seats slept for 46 minutes longer than their colleagues and that plants in the office increased productivity by 10%.

Green Retreats showroom cafe and breakout area

These statistics back up many of the claims made in favour of biophilic design, a modern office design concept that connects the interior space with the outside world through the use of plants, sunlight and natural materials like wood and stone.

Features of a Wellbeing Workplace:

  • Ergonomic seating
  • Homely design elements like sofas and armchairs
  • On-site gym
  • A mixture of social and private spaces
  • Natural and biophilic elements
  • Plenty of natural light

Some of our Wellbeing Workplaces:

The living wall at Life Sciences Hub Wales, bringing the outside in at Green Retreats’ showroom, and the homely meeting rooms at KPMG’s offices on the South Coast.

The Shareable Workplace

Illustration of people taking a selfie with a giant mobile phone

We don’t just mean “Shareable” in the social sense, although we’ll get to that in a moment.

This is more about the sense of pride that people have when they work in an office that they can’t wait to show off to people.

Again, an understanding of the individuals and the company culture will feed into this. A new office fit-out project is the perfect opportunity to put the heart and soul of the business onto the walls of the office.

This might include pictures of the company’s people, products or customers. It might be more abstract and reflect the brand identity of the business through colours and shapes.

The modern office design of Beatus Cartons Innovations Centre in Porth, South Wales

The point is to create an engaging environment. But for some image-conscious digital brands, this also means making their office more “Instagrammable”.

As featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article, some businesses are designing their offices with playful art that employees and clients can photograph and post on social media.

The idea is to liven up their image and promote the brand to young job seekers.

In fact, Architects are now being asked to “create Instagram moments” in their architectural briefs!

Airbnb has been replicating some of their listings in the meeting rooms of their offices across the world.

Adobe created interactive installations, including an “upside-down room” in their San Jose HQ specifically to encourage people to pose in front of them and take a selfie. The international Buzzfeed offices even go so far as showing you the point on the floor where you’ll get the best selfie!

Dichroic Glass at ONS Data Science Campus

By making the working day a bit more fun, companies can encourage employees to come in rather than telecommute.

Features of a Shareable Workplace:

  • Prominent examples of artwork
  • Bold features like sculptures or living walls
  • Digital wallpaper and bespoke backdrops

Some of our Shareable Workplaces:

The dichroic glass at the ONS offices, the bright colours of Beatus Cartons’ Innovation Centre, and the bold branding on the walls of the ITV Birmingham newsroom.


It’s crucial that organisations see the creation of an attractive, effective and engaging modern office environment as an investment.

Businesses are not only investing in a space that makes an impressive first impression, they are also investing in the retention of the people they value and attracting the best staff for their continued success.

If you’d like to find out how the team at Paramount can design an office that attracts and retains the best people in your sector, get in touch today.