Utilising your office space to ensure your employees are happy and content is an absolute must these days. According to recent studies, the British workforce works the longest hours in Europe with up to 70 hours per week.
An employee who spends this amount of time in the office needs to have surroundings that not only provide tranquility, but also promote productivity and inspire and motivate. This is why more and more employers are recognising the need for a workplace environment that moves away from the traditional concepts and layouts, and seeks to achieve a much more innovative office space design.
There’s no place like home!
If your employees spend more time in the office than they do at home, then why not bring a touch of the home environment to the office!
Even adding simple things like plants and flowers to the office can increase happiness and productivity (see our post on Little Green Miracles: Office Plant Superheroes). Also providing natural sunlight has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and motivation.
Underestimating the positivity that an attractive and bright office space can have on your employees could mean the difference between a successful business, and an extremely successful business.
Creative office space = creative thinking!
A new and extremely successful concept that has recently emerged is the introduction of a ‘creative room’. Gone are the days of attempting to think up the next big idea at your drab old boring desk, and in are the new business lounges that promote free and creative thinking.
Some of the best business strategies are often thought up over lunch or a coffee break, and employers are starting to realise that you cannot force or expect great ideas to be created at a desk. Interaction is key, as well as the right office space environment.
Inspiration is an absolute must when it comes to creativity, and by providing your employees a place where they can gather for a meeting, but feel like they are having a relaxing chat is the key to truly getting the best out of an employee.
Give your employees a break!
Did you know that only around 20% of office workers take their full lunch hour break? This may seem like good news for business owners, as they are getting more work from their employees – and for free! However, the long term effects on productivity as well as creativity, worker morale and motivation can be very damaging.
Managers must take responsibility for ensuring their team take an adequate amount of breaks, and the lunch hour in the middle of the day is one of the most important. Especially if the day doesn’t finish until late into the evening!
An employee who takes their full lunch hour is much more likely to remain at a high productive level for the whole day, in comparison with an employee who often cuts their lunch break in half to rush back to their desk.
There could easily be another 5-7 hours left of the office day if an employee is going to be burning the midnight oil, so it’s important to keep the workforce happy and motivated throughout the whole day by ensuring they get away from their desk and take a break.
Office parties and team bonding
Finally, don’t underestimate the effect that a social gathering has on your workforce. Office parties once a month, or even organised team building events have been proven to create better team work and communication when Monday comes back around.
You will often find that a busy office provides a difficult atmosphere for employees to get to know each other, and to interact effectively. A well organised night out for your employees allows the chance for some social barriers to be broken down, and gives everyone a chance to engage in conversation.
Large offices will greatly benefit from a regular social gathering of its workforce, as most people may not have even spoken to each other before. Departments also get a chance to interact, and ultimately bond much better when they are back in the office.
Many companies struggle with the ‘us and them’ issue surrounding different departments, and often this can be solved by just getting them to interact outside of work. A busy office environment is never going to allow people to talk to each other about their favourite movie, or the holiday they have booked for this year in sunny Spain. But a trip to the local pub will!