One of the key components to keeping a happy workforce is cultivating a workspace that is both functional and friendly. The right workspace not only aids in productivity, it can encourage creative thinking, innovation and job satisfaction.
One of the key components to keeping a happy workforce is cultivating a workspace that is both functional and friendly. The right workspace not only aids in productivity, it can encourage creative thinking, innovation and job satisfaction. How does a company put together the kind of workplace that makes your employees feel welcome and happy?
Make it Clean
A dirty workplace is an unpleasant workplace. It’s difficult to feel comfortable when you’re tempted to constantly use anti-bacterial hand wash. If it’s been a while since someone cleaned, it’s probably time for a good, intensive, office spring cleaning. Every surface should be dusted and cleaned, every bathroom and kitchen space should be scrubbed. Attack the clutter; if no one is using it and no one needs it, get rid of it or put it in storage. Digitize documents to provide easy access and lessen file clutter.
Make it Comfortable
Grey cubicle walls and fluorescent lights can feel oppressive. Open windows, knock down the partitions. Bring in the color! Different colors have different effects on us, psychologically, so pick your colors carefully. Introduce comfortable yet ergonomic furniture to the workspace. Adopt some live plants, and toss up decorations that bring in the feel of what your office is all about. If your business is deeply rooted in the community, get some local art and photography for your walls. Travel companies can use photographs from their favorite destinations. Avoid generic art, like the kind you find in a budget motel. Put a little thought in curating your decorations. If you’re stuck for ideas, don’t hesitate to use your workforce to kick in ideas or contribute. A community project can bring the office together.
Make it Accessible
Different people will always have different needs, so make your workplace accessible for all. Moms returning from maternity leave need a private, stress-free place to pump. For employees with mobility issues, make sure they have ease of access to the office. Ramps, braille on fixtures in the bathroom or kitchens, accessible door handles; give employees flexibility to work in a way that best suits them. It can be big or small, like working from home or allowing headphones in the office. Employees with chronic or invisible illnesses can often work better with more flexibility. Oftentimes employees with chronic illnesses can feel like a burden in a traditional work environment; when they’re allowed to work around their illness, they can thrive.
Make it Animal Friendly
It might seem like an opportunity to play instead of work, but animals in the office can be a great source of morale and stress relief. They can encourage bonding and teamwork, and can also help refresh employees who work creatively with short, fun breaks. Animals in the office can also be good for employees with anxiety or stressful jobs — petting an animal can lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular reactivity.
Make it Fun
Employees who feel appreciated often work harder and are more engaged. A little bit of fun in the office is essential to that level of appreciation, which is why every office hosts a holiday party or birthday parties. Let your office fun go beyond that. Make it personalized to your team. Events that address common interests (you can never go wrong with food) or contests that give everyone a fair shot and offer a truly good incentive will go a long way.
The important thing to remember in all of this is to make it more than a token gesture, more than lip service. If you put effort into genuinely improving your employee’s surroundings, the effort will show and the effect should be noticeable. And if you’re having trouble connecting, put your employees to work! Poll them to find out what changes would be most appreciated, and do what you’re able. If you genuinely try, your efforts will pay out.