Developing Your Career

Tour the Office Before Accepting a Job Offer

By Greg Simpson on January 14, 2013

Given the tremendous impact our work environment has on our productivity, well-being and job satisfaction, it shouldn’t be disregarded when considering a job offer.  It’s routine for candidates to be interviewed in a conference room or hiring manager’s office.  As a result, they often accept a job offer without ever seeing the work space they’ll be occupying at least eight hours a day, five days a week.

When is the appropriate time to ask to tour the office and see the work space? Asking HR during a screening interview is premature. Wait until the end of the interview with the hiring manager to ask, “What is the design of the office space? Would I be working in a cubicle, an office, or an open seating area?” If you’re not offered a tour, ask to see the space once the offer of employment has been extended.

What will you learn from a brief visit to the work space? Even a cursory tour will reveal a lot about the corporate culture, priorities and what it’ll be like to work there every day.

  • Is it so noisy with conversations or so cluttered that you’ll have difficulty concentrating?
  • Does the layout reveal the corporate hierarchy? Do you see low- or high-walled cubicles? An open seating design with no walls or glass walls?  Does anyone work in offices?
  • Does the company provide quality, ergonomically-designed furniture? Is there natural lighting?
  • Is the company using the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment?
  • Do the work spaces seem devoid of personality or are there signs of individuality such as photos, art, plants, etc.?
  • Are the walls freshly painted and the carpet in good shape or does the office look like it’s seen better days?
  • Are there lots of testy office notes related to office or kitchen protocol? This could signify more than the usual amount of workplace conflict.

The physical appearance, equipment and atmosphere of a work space are worth considering when evaluating an employer. You want a work environment that is a source of motivation, not a source of stress.

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