A happy workplace is essential to employee productivity. Anyone who says that personal feelings must be entirely separate from work clearly hasn’t appreciated the positive impact that happiness and fulfillment can have on an employee’s performance. A six-month study by researchers from Oxford University, for one, found that happy workers were 13% more productive than their less happy colleagues.
Office workers are just humans: if something makes them feel “off” at the workplace, their discomfort will affect their disposition, focus, and drive to work. Office managers must, therefore, make it their priority to create a healthy environment that’s conducive for working.
Here are some of the best ways to do this:
1. Maximize natural lighting.
Offices that use as much natural light as possible can enjoy several benefits at once.
First, the illumination perks up employees and helps them get into work mode in the mornings. Many studies also reinforced the health benefits of sunlight, and as everyone knows, good health is key to having happy and productive employees.
Second, natural lighting helps keep electricity consumption at a minimum. Admins can then use the cost-savings from lighting utilities to employee-focused projects that will promote their well-being and productivity.
2. Keep the indoor temperature at comfortable levels.
The HVAC systems in your offices should be properly calibrated to comfortable temperatures. If it’s either too cold or warm, the employees’ focus could be diverted. They’ll also waste time looking for ways to fan or warm themselves up, depending on how cold or hot the office is.
Keep in mind that women are quicker to feel the cold than men. If the males in the office complain that the room is too warm, adjust the thermostat incrementally so that you’ll find out which temperature is agreeable to both sexes.
3. Ventilate windowless rooms.
Conference rooms, presentation rooms, and meeting nooks that are windowless should have some built-in ventilation system. Employees can spend hours at a time in these rooms, i.e., during monthly ManCom Meetings and Annual Strategic Planning. They should be well-ventilated: studies show that poor ventilation affects productivity and cognitive ability. Additionally, if the room is too stuffy or warm, the people inside could rush their work so that they can leave as quickly as possible.
If the year’s most important decisions are being made inside windowless rooms, it’s imperative that the conditions promote critical thinking and will not distract the organization’s decision-makers from the most important matters.
4. Bring in some plants.
Hands-down one of the best ways to liven up the environment in an office is to bring in some plants. Tall shrubs and ferns can make a sterile-looking office look more welcoming. Indoor plants are excellent at elevating the ambiance of an office: the green foliage is refreshing to the eyes, they help improve the indoor air quality, and they enhance the interior aesthetics.
A few tips regarding indoor plants:
- Use potted trees or indoor planters as room dividers instead of building walls or low dividers for offices with open-floor plans. Doing so will keep everyone’s view of the office.
- If the floor space is limited, hanging plants or smaller potted plants that can fit in shelves will do the trick.
- Choose low-maintenance plants like the spider plant, snake plant, devil’s ivy, Chinese money plant, asparagus fern, and rubber tree.
5. Keep the office clean and fresh-smelling.
Bad smells that linger can be huge distractions in offices. It can even be a hindrance to productivity for employees with a delicate sense of smell. Some people have sneezing fits when they encounter very strong smells, while others get dizzy or even nauseous.
Air fresheners would be very helpful, especially in large offices. Many employees like to bring food they prepared from home or order takeout and eat at the office when it’s crunch time at work. The smells of different kinds of food, as well as people’s different perfumes, can make the air feel and smell stale.
Need a quick solution? Invest in air purifiers and select a cool and clean air freshener scent that’s universally liked (e.g., lemon, fresh linen, peppermint).
6. Offer free fruits and coffee.
If the goal is to create a workplace that makes employees happy and energized to work, why not go all-out and provide sustenance as well?
Despite the many complaints about the fuss-free coffee that’s served free in offices, employees actually appreciate having that option anytime they need it. Offering free bananas, apples, oranges, and other simple snacks like biscuits is an extra mile on the part of office admins. The gesture won’t be lost on the employees, though, and it can go a long way to making them feel prioritized and valued by their employer.
It’s not expensive to create a good working environment. Sometimes all that’s necessary are small, thoughtful gestures that are employee-centric. These tips are great examples and an excellent start for transforming dull offices into comfortable and stimulating work areas.