The physical workspace is something we can all see, touch, and taste. It’s the office floor plan, choice of radio station, pictures on the wall, the demographics we work with and any of the physical perks we might receive such as, gym-access, or quiet places that employees can use to unwind or work.
So why should employers invest in creating physical spaces that employees want to show up to? Office employees spend a lot of their time in the same company and surroundings, where the physical environment can influence positivity and directly influence work performance and productivity.
In the workplace, it is assumed that employees who are happy with their working environment are more likely to produce a higher standard of work. Most importantly, employees who enjoy and like the environments they are a part of will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy. So, what should employers be doing and thinking about?
Introducing those little extras
‘Work perks’ were once a nice to have, whereas now, they are now extremely important in keeping employees happy and engaged within the company. Things like childcare vouchers and cycle to work schemes are more traditional benefits, however, employers can always get a little more creative when keeping the employees happy.
Think creatively and explore unique benefits that will enhance the workplace. For example, on-site gym access, or contributing towards gym membership is a great way to encourage your staff to be active and allows them to blow off steam in the process! Hosting internal events are great ways to keep staff engaged. Events and activities give employees something to look forward to and make the standard working day that little bit more exciting. They also give them something to aim for and look forward to at the end of the working day.
Paying attention to work-life balance
A flexible work schedule is fundamental to a good work-life balance. Being able to come and leave the office when it suits their lifestyle can give employees the feeling of self-control, which subsequently makes them feel more relaxed and happy within the working environment.
Employers should be aware of both team morale and individual self-esteem and emotions. They should show that the company cares about all their employees’ well-being by providing support and taking actions to reduce stress levels and make the workplace seem more inviting and relaxing.
Focus on multiple ways of working
Although mindfulness and productivity don’t traditionally go hand in hand, encouraging staff to find multiple ways of working can help with stress and boredom. Taking as little as 10 minutes a day away from your desk can improve work quality and decision-making ability, whilst ensuring stress levels are kept to a minimum.
Giving employees a more open and free environment allows them to feel more in control of their working space and that can often lead to higher work rates and more creative thinking. Employers should try to incorporate various thinking and working spaces such as cubicles, a collaborative innovation hub, a co-working cafe, conference rooms, smaller meetings rooms, and areas for presentations.
Mike Cronin, Project Manager of Tombola believes that collaborative spaces and an open-plan space will encourage even more creativity from the team:
“We have a workforce of talented and charismatic people and we wanted to utilise our new building to further support their abilities and needs. We also hope that the team feel proud to work in the building – we’ve sourced bricks from Denmark to make the external aesthetic sympathetic to the historic area but with a modern twist with glass from the US.”
Remember not everyone is the same
Celebrating employee’s unique talents and successes, both inside and outside of work, will help boost confidence levels and overall staff morale. Find out what works best for individuals and try to incorporate this in everyday office life.
Although the office may not be everyone’s favourite place, employers must strive for a more positive and friendly environment. A tense and negative office atmosphere can have negative implications on the people in it, including a lack of patience with customers and other staff members.