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How Important is Office Location to Employees?

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Having the right location for your office can attract or dissuade talented employees.

Businesses have many things to consider as they search for office locations. Cost, size, business amenities, and convenience for clients and customers are usually at the top of the list. But another primary concern has to do with employees. Simply put, the location of a business could have an impact on who ultimately works at the company. If the location is excellent, the company can more competitively compete for top talent. If it’s terrible, they may lose some of their best workers to businesses with better offices.

Employees are the pulse of any business. So finding a location that satisfies the needs of your workforce should be a top consideration. So, if you’re a business searching for a new Ann Arbor office space, here are some of the primary things to look for when it comes to providing an attractive location to your employees.

How far is their commute?

Long commutes are the bane of modern business life. The number of minutes employees spend commuting to and from work has been one of the driving forces behind the movement for remote office locations or work-from-home benefits. Long commutes not only eat into an employee’s free time, they mean getting up earlier in the morning, losing quality time with their families (especially those with young children), and added stress from stop-and-go rush hour traffic or crowded public transit.

Because of this, a smaller town that’s within easy reach of a larger business center can be ideal for companies trying to attract talented workers. A small city means less time spent getting from one end of town to the other, and the smaller population means shorter traffic jams.

What is the cost of living?

Many employees are attracted to large cities by the large salaries. Unfortunately, many soon find that their dollar doesn’t stretch as far as when they’re living in a big city. In some cases, the salary isn’t enough to cover all the bills, and they end up leaving for locations where their wages stretch farther.

This is great for employees, but it’s good for businesses also. You don’t have to compete with the salaries offered in large metropolises if you live in a more affordable location. And many qualified employees are happy to take a cut in overall wages if it means living somewhere where they can afford to buy a home.

Is there availability for housing Ann Arbor nearby?

Speaking of buying a house, how is the Ann Arbor housing situation? Even small towns can have housing shortages, and a lack of options can make it difficult for new employees to move to the area.

Obviously, the housing market rises and falls, so a shortage today may drive a burst in development that will lead to more options tomorrow. If you’re considering moving to a new area, don’t just look at the current housing options. Look at what’s being built in the area, and whether those developments might change the situation for the future.

What about families?

Employees don’t come alone. They bring with them spouses and children, and their career choices will be based in part on how it affects their families. Of course, you can’t guarantee employment for an employee’s spouse, but an economically sound area will offer more employment opportunities in general than one that is struggling.

Schools and after-school programs are also a top draw for workers. A city with a strong school district and excellent programs for arts, athletics, and STEM programs will be a bonus for employees with children. Researching an area for family-friendliness is therefore a good idea. Even if your office is mostly young and without children today, that situation is likely to change in a few years, and it’s worthwhile to think ahead.

Are there good cultural opportunities?

Finally, most employees are interested in what an office location has to offer besides business amenities. It’s great for corporations if they have easy access to conference halls, airports, and office supply stores, but the people who work there will be interested in what they can do after hours and over weekends.

A city with a lively restaurant and music scene, or one with a strong sporting culture, can make a place far more attractive to employees. While more cultural attractions usually mean higher living costs as well, most are ready to make that trade up to a certain point. As ever, the perfect office is often a balancing act between too large and too small, too busy and not busy enough. You may have to be selective to find a place that’s just right.

Office location is important because it affects employee job satisfaction and work/life balance.

Of all the considerations businesses have to make when setting up a new office location, the attractiveness of that location for employees may be one of the easiest factors to overlook. And yet, doing so can cost businesses significantly in lost productivity, lowered job satisfaction, and loss of talented employees.

Workers who arrive tired at work from a long commute, who are financially stressed by the cost of living, who struggle to find housing or good schools for their families, or who simply aren’t engaged by the options they have in their free time are more likely to leave to find work elsewhere. When they do, businesses are left with the costs of hiring and retraining new employees—many of whom may go the same route as their predecessors.