Is your office old and busted?

You’re honest enough with yourself (and your personal sense of taste) to know when to admit that your company’s workspace has seen better days, right?

Unfortunately, your office might offend more than good taste. It could well be turning off the hip, talented — and, yes, mostly young — employees your organization is going to need to survive in the years and decades to come.

“An engaging, modern office is a great way to attract and retain quality employees,” says Scott Vollero, an international entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience in the talent attraction and retention business. “In a competitive labor market, companies with compelling workspaces tend to come out on top.”

And it’s not just prospective employees. Vendors, clients, investors, contractors: anyone who walks through your office’s front doors is in a position to judge it. Here’s a not-so-rhetorical question: Would you invest a six-figure sum with a CEO whose color palette is old enough to remember the 8-track years, or sign a multi-year contract with a board that thinks cubicles are the wave of the future?

Mmmmhm. So, if you’re serious about bringing your office into the (second decade of the) 21st century, do these four things now.

  1. Open Up the Floor Plan

It’s all the rage in private homes these days. Why not office space?

As a matter of fact, the white-collar open floor plan probably predates its residential counterpart. (One-room frontier cabins don’t count.) If your office is still built around individual cubes with floor-to-ceiling walls, or relegates large chunks of the workforce to cubicle bullpens, set a new goal: a renovation that allows you to chuck a baseball halfway across your office without hitting a wall. (Don’t actually try that.)

Office

  1. Max Out Collaborative Space

Open floor plans encourage creativity and cross-pollination. Collaborative space practically enforces these things. Install team-friendly bars (with plenty of outlets), huddle rooms, and multi-purpose media/conference rooms throughout your space — and make it clear to your employees that they can and should use these spaces as they please.

  1. Add a Wet Bar

Gimmick? Maybe. But a very, very effective glue for groups that could use more cohesion.

And no, that nightmare scenario won’t come to pass. Peer pressure is a powerful moderator, after all. No one wants to be the first caught knocking back beers in the kitchenette at 10 a.m. You’ll be surprised how well-behaved your employees stay until happy hour. Then the team-building can begin.

  1. Make Light

Your ability to let natural light into your office may depend on factors out of your control: your suite’s location in a larger building, the presence of load-bearing walls, proximity to other structures. Within those constraints, go for it: add a skylight, bust out floor-to-ceiling windows, spring for an internal atrium. Whatever it takes to get the Vitamin D flowing.

A Sexy New Office Won’t Solve All Your Problems

Just as you long ago learned not to judge a book by its cover, savvy jobseekers and potential clients are smart enough not to judge your company by its workspace. If you really want to move the needle on how your organization is perceived, and then turn that needle into gold, you need to invest in every facet of your company: product, workplace policies, leadership style, logistics and so much more. Slapping a fresh coat of new hotness (as the kids say) on a tired old frame just doesn’t cut it anymore.