Feeling de-motivated and uninspired at work? Don’t blame it all on your boss. Researchers believe that our office environment have as much impact to our productivity as our work relationships.
Those uncomfortable seats, dull lighting, and annoying work music that are supposed to make you feel better can actually affect your overall productivity levels in the workplace.
If not given a solution, an office environment that drains productivity CAN turn daily tasks into nightmare, sour coworker relationship, and eventually hurt the company’s bottom line. As a business owner, how can you start improving the workplace to help increase your people’s productivity?
Improving the Physical Work Space
Sitting all day in a tightly packed and uncomfortable workspace can create discomfort, agitation, and irritability among workers. Dull lightning and LED lights on the other hand, can cause damage to the eye and reduce an employee’s focus.
Similarly, if the office temperatures are not properly regulated, employees may divert their attention to trying to stay warm or cool down instead of doing work.
Here’s how to create beautifully designed, well-lit offices that are comfortable and spacious:
- Invest in ergonomically-designed office furniture that will help provide comfort and support. Adjust the computer screens so that the monitors are below or at eye-level. Opt for an adjustable chair that you can tweak according to your preference. Try standing desks that can help improve blood circulation and reduce harmful effects of sitting all day.
- Use more natural lights. Open windows or doors during the day to let sunlight in. Sunlight exposure can help improve the quality of sleep, uplift mood, and boost concentration among workers. Plus, the use of natural light reduces energy needed to run your office. Improving the workplace by letting in more light is always a bright idea.
- Improve air quality. Poor air quality can affect concentration and employee’s energy levels. At work, make sure that someone is responsible for checking the air conditioning throughout the day. You can also install plants to filter and purify the air. Here are types of indoor plants that are great for office settings.
- Add relaxing room scents. Scents can affect our moods powerfully. For example, lavender is known to help people relax. Whereas citrus scents can wake you up and improve your mood.
Improving the Workplace by Minimizing Distractions
Working in an office with all sorts of people and technology can be very distracting. Fax machines, telephones, and unexpected pop-ins from the boss or colleagues are all it takes to divert one’s focus and drain productive time.
Here’s how you can help reduce noise and create a workspace for focus and privacy:
- Offer/Recommend Noise Cancellation Headphones – Noise is one of the biggest challenges in many open offices. While workers can’t sometimes escape overly talkative colleagues, you can certainly help by giving them tools that will help them concentrate. Aside from noise cancellation headphones, you can also create desk partitions for privacy, or designate quiet spaces within the office.
- Reduce open-office settings. A survey found that more that nearly 90 percent of workers worldwide were not satisfied by their work settings. This is because of lack of privacy. Since the open-office trend began, modern office workers are collaborating more than they need to. Don’t let your employees share the same space and distract each other. Sometimes, improving the workplace means NO to open-office spaces.
- Offer employees more options to choose where they work. Let them know that they aren’t tied to their desks. That they can work wherever they think they‘ll be less distracted within the office. Allow “work from home options” once or twice a week.
- Use productivity tools for your team. Leverage the power of technology and use tools that help get work done faster. For better communication, you can use collaborating tools like Trello, EverNote or Google Keep. Here are some of the top productivity tools I recommend to bloggers like me.
Setting Realistic Expectations for Workers
You hire employees based on their skill; therefore, it’s only right that you let them handle work according to their skills. When employees are forced to do jobs that are beyond their abilities, or without proper training, they may feel overwhelmed and reduce productivity.
Employees in this position are not going to take as much initiative as those who have direction and the opportunity to work their way up.
Here’s how to set realistic expectations for workers:
- Be specific. Give employees specific roles in the company. Giving them their own area of responsibility will encourage initiative and give them motivation to get recognized. This will also create a sense of loyalty towards the company.
- Discourage workplace gossip. If you want a company with strong drive for success, you have to start building your team’s spirit. Begin by improving the workplace where everyone feels included and appreciated. Discourage gossip and office rumors. Teach your employees to treat everyone with respect. Here are books to help you improve your professional relationships.
- Discourage a strict doctors’ note policy. Believe it or not, this is a big one. By demanding a doctor’s note in order for an employee to be allowed a sick day, you could greatly affect overall productivity and moral. Not all employees can afford to go to the doctor for every bout of the cold or flu. This would result in employees coming to work sick, not only being unproductive, but possibly spreading their cold or flu as well.
Improving the Workplace Is an Investment
Think of creating a healthy and happy work environment as one of the biggest investments for the future of your company. More than a cool-looking office space, your office should make employees feel safe and productive.