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New office design boosting employee morale

Publication: Live 5 WCSC Published: November 20, 2013 Full Article

By Meaghan Wallace

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A local financial company has moved into a renovated warehouse, equipped with features designed to keep their 53 employees happy, healthy and focused. It’s a growing trend for companies and studies show it’s making a big impact on productivity and morale. Solutions Integrated Business, a five-year-old financial company, is just getting settled into their new building at Meeting St. and Brigade St. in Charleston.

The 10,400 sq. ft. space is not your typical office. SIB provides a 24-hour gym and all employees get a free, healthy lunch prepared by a chef every work day. Pets are also welcome and even have their own fenced space next to the building.

“The dogs are great, it helps everyone relieve stress and who doesn’t like dogs,” said Dan Schneider, CEO of SIB. Schneider says that providing lunch and a place for his employees to bring their pets, cuts down on time taken out of the workday and also eliminates stress. But, these features are also benefiting the company. A survey done by the American Society of Interior Designs finds that people who liked their workplaces were 31 percent more likely to be satisfied with their job. Studies find that people also work better in well designed spaces. SIB’s transparent conference rooms and natural lighting make for a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. It’s not going unnoticed by the staff.

“It is fantastic,” said Christian Johnson, business developer at SIB. “The old one we were packed in like sardines. So it is really fun to have a lot more open space.”

When the weather permits, SIB holds their meetings outside, in a shaded patio area. “People can be a little more relaxed when they’re outside,” said Schneider. “It’s not as tense as a conference room.” SIB’s new warehouse is part of a bigger development plan called Half North Mile. They’re bringing in approximately fives more businesses with the same concept.

“We just want to make it as comfortable as possible when they’re here,” said Schneider.

Schneider’s happy employees could take him a long way. A study by the Center for Health Design suggests that a good layout benefits a company by six percent of an employee’s salary.

“If we’re happy and we’re doing a better job, then everyone is going to make money. So, it’s a good deal,” said Johnson.

Schneider says that when an employee reaches the milestone of five years with SIB, they receive a $50,000 bonus check. Copies of the ones given are covering one wall.