10+ Ways to Improve Your Office’s Work Environment
The world works much different than it did a few years ago. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many options for making employment more flexible.
Whether your employees are remote or in the office five days a week, fostering a positive environment is critical. In fact, statistics show that happy employees are 12% more productive than the average worker.
Everyone reaps the benefits of a great work environment, and the good news is, it’s possible to create regardless of the format. The key lies in creating a human-centric workplace where people's needs and expectations are put at the center. Here are tips for every employment setup.
The In-Office Experience
Relaxation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about work, but it should be. It’s important for workers to feel comfortable in the workplace, especially when it comes to highly creative employees. These are ideas you can adopt right away.
Establish Social Zones
Most people are naturally social creatures, even in the workplace. After all, many employees spend more time with their co-workers than they do with their own family members. It helps to create special areas to foster camaraderie and connection.
Perhaps your office has a deck or patio where you can place tables and chairs for people to enjoy lunch together. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. A pingpong table in the break room? Corn hole in a low-traffic hallway? Nothing is off limits.
Just be sure to keep socialization in an area that won’t disturb other workers when they’re busy.
Provide a Variety of Workspace Options
Give your employees the choice between a cubicle or an open format. You may even want to consider standing desks for those who prefer to stretch their legs while completing their tasks.
Employees love to customize their personal workspace, so encourage them to decorate their desk in a way that helps them express their personality. From family photos to artwork and mementos, it will help them feel more at home at the office.
Plus, the decor could serve as a great conversation starter among teammates.
Embrace Natural Lighting
There’s nothing like vitamin D when it comes to boosting positivity and employee well-being. If you have the option, rely on windows for natural sunlight and fresh air, when weather permits. This is one of the best ways to avoid an office that feels dark or depressing.
If you don’t have the luxury of adding windows to your space, lighting technology has luckily come a long way. Invest in overhead lights or even desk lamps that use bulbs designed to mimic natural daylight.
Declutter to Promote Focus
The minimalist movement is all about a tidy and stress-free way of living. Less clutter naturally leads to more productivity because there's less to clean up. What’s more, people can think more clearly when you remove distractions.
Storage is key to cleaning and removing clutter. Provide plenty of file cabinets, drawers, and other spaces to store personal and work-related items.
If you want to take it a step further, look for cord organizers and charging stations to ensure a clean aesthetic.
Create Special Moments
Certain occasions can bring people together. It can be as simple as bringing a cake to celebrate someone’s birthday or allowing employees to bring their pets to work. This allows everyone to get to know each other better and provides something to look forward to.
The Remote Model
Many teams have transitioned to a fully remote model of work. Although this often presents challenges, many employees love the flexibility, as well as the comfort of working from home. Here are ways to embrace the work-from-home model and make it better.
Provide Opportunities to Connect
If your team works from home, but you all live in the same city that's friendly to remote workers, try to plan events that provide time for everyone to connect. Whether it’s a happy hour or a team-building community service event, it can be helpful to get everyone together a few times a year. Besides helping newcomers put faces to names, it will also help your team feel more cohesive while collaborating.
One of the primary reasons people love remote work is because it provides flexibility. Busy parents can take their kids to school before logging on for the day. Avid runners can spend their lunch breaks jogging around the neighborhood. Many employees seek remote work to avoid losing minutes, or even hours, to a commute.
Embrace this with your employees, and be respectful of nontraditional work hours and lifestyles. Employees think diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is important, and it helps strengthen the team as whole.
Encourage your teammates to act as mentors to each other, even outside of work. In other words, have co-workers help each other through major life events.
Whether they're searching for their perfect first home with a stellar office area or they're listing their home on the market so they can have more space, offer advice and recommendations when you can. This can help foster better connections and create a mutually beneficial personal and professional environment.
Focus on Communication
The effectiveness of remote work depends upon great communication skills. Your team should find various ways to stay in touch.
For many companies, direct messaging apps are handy for facilitating quick questions or making small talk. This helps everyone maintain a clean and concise email inbox that isn’t bogged down with endless emails. Plus, it improves response time for brief reminders.
Offer Praise and Encouragement
When you’re working with people in person, it’s easy to pop into their office or cubicle and say thanks or give credit where it’s due. Unfortunately, this can fall by the wayside with remote work.
Don’t forget to go out of your way to show appreciation for your colleagues. A simple thank you note can go a long way when someone has taken the time to help you. This promotes a healthy and positive work environment.
Promote Mental Health
A significant proportion of workers (81%) experience fears and phobias that adversely impact their work performance. Common fears include concerns regarding job security, managing workloads, and fear of failure. The negative consequences of such conditions include increased absenteeism, reduced engagement, and withdrawal from group settings. These outcomes are not conducive to a healthy work environment. But employers can help prevent such outcomes by promoting mental health among their employees. This can involve providing access to mental health resources such as employee assistance programs, counseling services, or mental health workshops. Creating a positive work culture that encourages work-life balance, recognizes and rewards employee contributions, and promotes open communication and collaboration is also one of the fundaments of well-being. Furthermore, identifying and addressing workplace stressors impacting employee mental health is a valuable approach. By implementing such measures, employers can promote a mentally healthy work environment and facilitate optimal work performance.