As an entrepreneur, making your employees feel happy and content should be one of the top priorities on your list. This can lead to an increase in productivity which, in turn, makes your business continually grow and further progress.
This, of course, is not an easy task since reports show us that workers across the globe feel less and less satisfied with their daily jobs. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make this trend disappear – at least in your company.
Try to set the bar high from the get-go and the rest will simply follow once you’ve proven you can keep your employees satisfied in the long run. This will also attract potential investors, shareholders, venture capitalists and people from other companies will also want to get a taste of those good office vibes. Once people start talking about how enjoyable and gratifying working at your company is, you’ll know you’re on the right track. But before this happens, here’s how to make your office more attractive and appealing.
Forget about the cubicles
The era of cramped spaces where many people worked closely next to each other (well, at least they tried to get some work done) is hopefully gone. You can’t possibly expect people to be productive in these almost inhuman conditions. It’s no surprise that the levels of concentration are extremely low in cluttered, overcrowded spaces.
People can’t focus on the tasks at hand if they’re constantly hearing their colleagues talking on the phone or to each other, phones ringing, computers beeping, etc. This actually leads to a decrease in efficiency since employees can’t concentrate properly. Such working conditions are maybe tolerable if the work doesn’t require deeper focus. But for the rest, it’s an absolute nightmare.
Is an open-office layout a good idea?
The latest trend in office setup today is probably an open-office layout, which clearly has its advantages over default cubicle design. These airy spaces look cool and can make your employees feel unconstrained and untrammeled: it can give them a sense of not being deprived of freedom of action or expression. This can most certainly lead to an increase in productivity levels.
On the other hand, there’s also a downside to an open-office design. The common denominator of the cubicle and open-space design is the potential lack of focus and deep concentration. Just like in the cluttered, cubicle office, employees working in an open-layout design can suffer from a lack of concentration. Since everything is out there in the open, there’s no substantial difference compared to Henry Miller’s vision of padded walls dominating the office space.
Although the sense of freedom that an open-office layout can promote, boosting creativity in employees, it’s still far away from the perfect design. Many companies are struggling to realise this and their workers are kind of lost in the transition since they don’t want to go back to the 1960s style of working in cubicles. But they also don’t see much improvement in regards to an increase in productivity levels.
Mix it up
Given all of the above, your best bet would probably be to try and mix things up a bit. It only makes sense to incorporate various styles and take what’s best from each and every one of these.
The most important thing about the subject of keeping employees satisfied and productive is to listen to their needs. Each person is different, so you simply have to accommodate office space to their individual preferences.
Since we’re all so different from each other, it would be in your best interest to make the space appealing and comfortable to all. And it’s not just that we’re different from each other – we also prefer different things in different moments. That’s why you’d ideally want to incorporate various office layouts. There should be an open space where people can talk freely to each other and exchange ideas, casually read or talk on the phone. At the same time, there should also be a space where they can concentrate and have some personal quiet time with no interruptions.
Break rooms are essential
Speaking of mixing things up, there absolutely needs to be a break room. And we’re not talking about a couple of square feet where you can barely squeeze a chair and table in. If you want productive staff, it’s crucial to give them time and space where they can relax and unwind for a bit. You know what all work and no play does to Jack.
Make sure break rooms are always equipped with fresh fruit, coffee machines and other soft drinks. This way, workers will stay hydrated, motivated, energised and productive throughout the entire day. It’s extremely important to let them chat and bond here: this creates good chemistry between colleagues and keeps them content and satisfied for a longer period of time.
That’s why break rooms need to have a sufficient amount of space where everyone can come in and have some leisure time and casual conversation over a tea or coffee. As a company leader or manager, you should aim for a friendly ’home away from home’ atmosphere. These good vibes will work in everyone’s favour.
Let there be light
Another great way to keep people pleased and complacent is to provide them with enough light. Natural light is best. It’s no secret that people tend to perform better if they’re spending time in illuminated areas. They’ll definitely feel happier and more motivated while spending their days, weeks, months and years in a place that is bright or brightly coloured rather than somewhere dark and crepuscular.
In case you simply can’t provide natural light, opt for different ways to illuminate the space. For instance, you can paint the walls in bright colours and add lamps or bulbs that simulate natural light. Work with what you’ve got and give it your best shot – people will recognise and appreciate it.
A good option to consider for refurbishing your office would be to add as much green colour as you can. This can be particularly beneficial since the colour green has proven to be great for stress-relieving, increased focus and better overall productivity levels.
There are a few ways you can achieve this. First would involve putting plants and flowers around the office. This gives employees a feeling that they’re outside in nature, thus further helping them to stay relaxed and concentrated.
If, for some reason, you can’t bring in too many plants and flowers, buy furniture that matches some hues and shades of green. You can also paint the walls in some lighter shades of green to try to replicate more natural surroundings.
Follow design trends and experiment
Whatever you do, ask around before making any big moves. For example, you want your furniture to have round edges and circular design elements since this can reportedly help to boost creativity and productivity. These types of studies and research should be taken seriously even though you can’t really do everything by the book.
It’s pertinent to have an avant-garde mindset because this will help you become a better company leader or a manager in general, not just in regards to the way you set up the office space. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things – this can only lead to the path of being a pioneer or trailblazer in your field.
The bottom line: pay attention to detail
This isn't just how you choose your interior design, but the way you deal with people and treat them. As previously mentioned, you should spend a lot of time actually listening and learning about your employees, their needs and desires. This way your job will get a lot easier over time – knowing what people who you work with want or need is crucial for creating that much sought-out homely atmosphere.
If you make sure they’re happy, they’ll certainly find the way to do their part. They’ll probably be more serious about the job and won’t feel like it’s hard labour and drudgery. Give them enough room where to relax and unwind and you’ll most certainly see the results in regards to increased productivity levels.