Where you work is just as important as the type of job you do. No matter how much anyone loves their job, put them in a poorly designed space and it won’t be long before the work rate and enthusiasm ebbs away.
We’ve put together the ultimate guide for office improvements that will boost productivity in the workplace, and put a smile on your employees’ faces. Get your working environment and staff development strategies in order and you will reap the benefits.
1. Review the environment: time for an office makeover
There are numerous studies showing that the working environment has a direct impact on productivity. Carry out a review of your office environment, or get an office interior expert to help you. Speak to a commercial blinds supplier to see if changing blinds will prevent glare and/or let more light in. Consider upgrading office furniture. There is a lot of research out there regarding productivity and ergonomic chairs. For a start, ergonomic workstations greatly reduce injury-related absences. Even a coat of paint can uplift your office space and make it feel brighter. And, even the colour you choose can impact positively on productivity. Don’t forget to bring in some plants. Plants can increase productivity by as much as 15 per cent.
2. Create a break-out space and a room for meditation
People can’t work solidly without a break. Having a place where employees can go for a break, chat with colleagues and enjoy a hot drink and a snack is vital for productivity. Short breaks will help your employees stay focused when they are working. According to Muse, the most productive 10 per cent of employees worked for 52 minutes at a time, with work punctuated by 17-minute breaks.
Utilise some breaks for short mediations. Headspace offers bite-sized meditations with hundreds of different themes. Providing a quiet room with a library and access to meditations will help to reduce stress in the workplace. Meditation receives a stream of positive press, and apparently the best place to successfully set up a meditation practice is at work!
3. Focus on company culture
Company culture is what really brings teams together. Staff days out, the occasional lunch brought in, and a few impromptu Friday evening drinks, as well as dress down days and team building activities, will have a positive impact on your employees. Not everyone will join in with everything, but keep the invitations open and vary the occasions and activities to capture a wider range of interests.
Google are renowned for their company culture, with staff referred to as ‘being googley.’ It’s all about creating a culture of ‘we’re all in this together.’ A strong company culture makes people want to work for you. But, perhaps take heed from the movie “The Circle” where employees are expected to embrace social networking, blurring the lines between private and public life to a totalitarian degree.
Even small changes like providing a fruit bowl can have a positive effect on employee behaviour. It’s also a great way to encourage healthy eating, which ultimately helps to ward off acute illnesses such as colds.
4. Empower your staff
Getting the balance right between managing from the top down and developing leadership skills in your employees further down the ladder isn’t always as easy as it appears on paper. Many managers are afraid to empower staff beneath them for fear they will unleash a potential threat to their own position. The fact is, a great manager encourages staff development to get the absolute best out of every team member, and in many cases has people beneath them performing tasks that they themselves aren’t quite as good at. Get over your fears and empower your staff.
Ask your employees to feedback to you what would make their working day easier. You don’t have to implement every suggestion, but you may get a feel for what is important. Improve communication at work with an all-encompassing HR system.
5. Keep up with tech
It may seem obvious, but keeping your software, hardware and everything tech related up to date will help your employees to be more efficient. Up-to-date computers, a faster internet connection, tablets for occasional working from home, extra monitors, and call conference technology all come together to ensure your office runs as efficiently as possible. When systems and technology are outdated and slow, employees get frustrated and can’t work at their optimum.
While you are updating your tech, it’s also worth refining work processes so your employees don’t feel they are ticking boxes that don’t need to be ticked.
There’s a surprising amount you can do to keep staff happy and the profits up.