Little changes can go a long way when it comes to creating a positive work environment.
A typical weekday, in a typical office: small, separated cubicles, closed-door offices, people staring at their computer screens, phones buzzing and copiers whirring, and the occasional support staffer delivering mail. Does this work environment sound familiar?
This scene is infused with a pervasive problem: individuals hard at work, with little or no interaction between them. There is no sign of teamwork and no encouragement to turn the workplace into a positive team environment. Most workspaces are missing the team component as well as the little environmental qualities that encourage teamwork.
THE WORK ENVIRONMENT: MORE THAN FURNISHINGS
Your physical work environment consists of the way desks are arranged, computers are lined up, and chairs are positioned. But a workspace is comprised of more than equipment. The people on staff, as well as their daily interactions and energy, also contribute to the overall environment in your workspace.
If your office provides maximum privacy but inhibits communication – as in traditional work settings – your staff are likely to retreat to their personal spaces with minimum interaction. Open offices, on the other hand, encourage conversation and the sharing of ideas. Shared workstations, sufficient team meeting spaces, and common areas lead to positively charged relationships and collaboration. Additionally, creating a positive environment with incentives and personal touches can boost morale and increase productivity.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT
So, what’s the easiest way to make your staff more efficient, increase your employee-retention rate, and promote teamwork? Transform your work environment into a place where people enjoy working as well as collaborating.
We’ve done the research, and here are six practical ways you can promote productive, positive working conditions in your company:
STOCK THE BREAKROOM LIKE A STARBUCKS
If you don’t know where to start, take a quick survey of what kind of coffee, tea, and snacks your team prefers. Make sure you have plenty of caffeinated beverages to keep enthusiasm high, and good-quality water to keep your hard workers well-hydrated. For even healthier energy-drink alternatives, Time magazine recommends trying beverages like yerba mate, kombucha, and coconut water.
Maintaining simple things like a tea kettle, an instant-cappuccino machine and a fridge stocked with healthy snacks makes a huge difference to your team. Hold “free-lunch Friday” once a month to keep team spirits up and encourage team luncheons.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING AND FIXED SHIFTS
Even though you may be on a tight schedule to finish a project, try to rotate holiday time between your employees. Your team will work better if everyone takes it in shifts to enjoy a well-deserved break.
Also, consider rotating the workload to avoid burn-out. According to an Officeworks survey, 70 percent of Australian workers feel that flexible working conditions would improve their overall work-life balance. They crave versatile start and finish times, split-shift options, job sharing, and the chance to work from home. Allow team members the freedom to cover shifts for each other to build positive work relationships.
Enforce regular ending times on all shifts. The Economic Policy Institute found that irregular shift times have consequences such as increasing work-family conflicts and higher work-related stress. Nothing is harder for workers with families than not knowing what time they’ll be home. If employees don’t have fixed ending times for their shifts, they may begin to resent management and deliver poor performances.
ROTATE TASKS, AVOID MISTAKES
Rotating tasks between your employees can cut down on mistakes. By splitting up monotonous work, you’re ensuring that repetition and laziness don’t kick in. Additionally, repetitive work can lead to chronic repetitive-strain injuries so rotating general tasks can save you the trouble of being short-staffed.
COMFORT AND CLIMATE CONTROL
In the name of keeping expenses low, managers tend to ignore the need for proper ventilation and temperature control in the workspace. Be warned: your whole workforce will suffer. Without adequate climate control, mood and productivity can be affected.
There are lots of economically sound options that provide efficient air flow and air filtering at reduced costs. Investigate alternatives that protect the health and happiness of your staff. One easy solution is the proper placement of high-volume, low-speed fans, or “HVLS” fans.
THINK OUTSIDE THE CUBICLE
Sources such as HRNews have reported that you can drastically improve the productivity of your employees when you add little touches of comfort to your working environment. Allow more natural sunlight into your office and add live plants. Exposure to natural light is critical to balance the brain’s circadian rhythms and plants naturally filter the air.
Additionally, a comfortable corner where employees can read or play board games boosts the morale of your whole team. Supply a well-stocked bookshelf adds and create a small, cozy atmosphere where your staff can take a moment to themselves.
Another way to think outside the cubicle is to become pet-friendly! The Telegraph explored why implementing a designated time for staff to bring their dogs reduced stress and promoted well-being.
REDESIGN THE FLOOR PLAN
If you don’t have designated zones for quiet work or collaboration, it’s time to redesign your space.
Consider these innovative ideas from Escreo. Each one can increase your team’s productivity:
- Every office should have quiet zones where people can get away from hearing their colleagues’ calls, meditate, or just close their eyes to relieve eyestrain headaches.
- Paint the walls of your activity-based collaboration room with whiteboard paint for additional brainstorming space.
- Take up less storage space with color-coded, vertical desk file sorters. They give you quicker access to files.
- Use adjustable furniture that promotes good posture and lets workers adapt their environment to suit their needs. This is great for accommodating more clients at meetings, hosting workshops, or working alone.
ENHANCEMENTS FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
By enhancing your working environment in these small ways, boosting morale and keeping your best employees becomes much easier. Contact us at Unique Team Building when you’re ready to plan a company retreat that explores the space beyond office boundaries. We take team building to new heights!