Every office has a feel to it. Most cannot pinpoint exactly why or how a place feels a certain way, but we all can sense this unmistakeable quality.
There are probably several feelings you want in any office space. Professionalism is always one. Being inviting is another. And a final goal for every location is to feel comfortable.
These may seem like nebulous objectives, but they can truly have a great impact on how employees, clients and other guests think about your company. Ultimately, no matter how talented they are, your employees’ output will only be as good as they feel while they are working. And though nobody will usually say it out — or perhaps even realize it consciously — a client’s decision to do business with you can be affected by the way they feel in your office.
Fortunately, there are concrete strategies to improve any office environment. By paying close attention to the following four areas, you will be able to quickly maximize the comfort of your workplace.
In a typical office environment today, employees will be spending the bulk of their time in front of a computer. This means you should make sure they have comfortable, ergonomically designed chairs and desks.
While some companies will see office furniture as a place to cut costs — even getting $100 off a desk chair for 50 people can lower the bill by $5,000 — this is misguided. Instead, see this as an easy way to invest in employee satisfaction, not to mention the potential to reduce costly musculoskeletal injuries within the workforce.
This return on investment goes double for the chairs and desks you put in any meeting room. Most likely, this is where you will sit down with an outside team of potential clients, so you will want them to be in a location that is inviting and will make them more receptive to your pitch.
Nobody can feel comfortable if they don’t feel safe. This is why you must make this a priority through measures such as a monitored entry point, employee access system (preferably one using electronic key cards), modern security camera system and properly lit areas around the building. This is especially key if you have a parking lot. If a bulb ever blows or the fixture malfunctions, get this fixed immediately, and make sure employees know that there is a security camera in place with enough range to cover the grounds. It will provide peace of mind when people are coming in early or staying late — the very times when you want them to feel like the company has their back. And clients who arrive will have an expectation that modern, tech-based systems are in place.
Though the effect is subtle, just seeing that an entryway is protected properly will give off the vibe that this company knows how to operate systems and can sweat the details.
3. Break Room and Common Areas
People who put in an eight-hour work day need a place to unwind. Many workers today — probably too many — eat lunch at their desks these days, but most will want to have an inviting, comfortable place to relax during their meal.
There should also be at least one common area that isn’t intended for meetings. This should be somewhere, perhaps with a comfy couch and other padded seating options, that anyone can go at any time when the grind of being in the same place all the time starts to wear on them. Though they will still be doing work here on their laptop, tablet or even with printed documents, the change of scenery can do wonders for their state of mind. This will also be a great place for spouses or families who stop by on occasion to wait while the employee finishes up that last email before they leave.
This should go without saying, but your office needs to be clean or it will never feel professional. This means hiring a crew to dust all the surfaces, change all the wastebaskets, wipe down the kitchen area, and tidy up the break room daily. But it also requires professional carpet cleaning service to be deployed immediately if a cup of coffee or anything else is ever spilled.
You cannot let a stain linger. People will quickly start to think they work at a dump, and this mindset can impact how workers approach their job. And no clients are going to take you seriously if they see some unsightly mess on the ground — no matter how many times you apologize and tell them the accident only happened yesterday.
The workplace is a curious animal. It can be hard to detect exactly why one feels so pleasant while another gives off a bad aura. Above all, most people will feel much more positively about a place when its comfortable.
The good news is that you can cultivate this feeling of comfort by installing the right furniture, prioritizing safety, setting up inviting common areas and always keeping everything clean.
By focusing on these easy-to-address considerations, you will quickly be able to enhance your overall office environment. This alone won’t send profits soaring, but it will have a real effect on both productivity and how clients view your business.