It is undeniable that we spend a huge amount of time at work, so much so that it tends to become a home away from home (whether we like to admit it or not!). For this reason, many workers understandably place huge importance on the comfort and aesthetic of the workplace.
It is becoming widely accepted that if we don’t take steps to ensure the workplace is comfortable for employees, the consequences can be damaging. The design and layout of the workplace is now understood to have a direct impact on the levels of employee productivity, and it’s not surprising. After all, a dull grey office cluttered with piles of overdue paperwork on every desk is hardly inspiring.
Here are some changes that can be made - changes that will not only add a breath of fresh air to the office, but will make a significant improvement to the efficiency and output of the workforce.
(1) Personalize Your Workspace
Adding a personal touch to your desk is perhaps one of the smallest steps you can take toward making your workspace more comfortable; but it is definitely not the least. Brightening up your desk with photographs, flowers or even colourful desk accessories can make your desk more visually pleasing, and therefore more comfortable. This in itself can subconsciously make us work harder, as more positive surroundings can have a reflective impact on our attitudes, and thus our work output.
(2) Say Goodbye to Clutter
If your desk currently resembles a mountain of paperwork, folders, and stationary lying here, there and everywhere – this one’s for you. A tidy desk is a happy desk, so now is the time to have the dreaded clear out. Yes, you might get half way through and your desk looks even messier than when you started, but the end result will be worth it. Try to keep your desk exclusive to things you are currently working on, and organise the rest tidily in drawers or files. Keep your mind focused on what you must do now, rather than the project for tomorrow, next week, or next month. It can be easier said than done, but I try to have a weekly clear out of things I no longer need. At our office, we recently refurbished our work area to make things more efficient and more organised.
(3) Up to Date Technology
There isn’t anything quite as frustrating as a slow computer, a printer that keeps jamming, or Wi-Fi that takes forever to connect. Technical issues can not only add significantly to employees’ stress levels, but they can also take up quite a bit of time if you get stuck trying to sort them. Simple steps such as regular updates and checks can prevent these issues, and make a world of difference.
(4) Quiet Space
Sometimes the office can get a bit hectic. It can therefore be a good idea to dedicate a room to being purely for isolated work. A quiet space, where an employee can go if they just need somewhere to work in silence, or even take a phone call, will allow workers to remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of the general workspace if they feel like they really need to focus. An area such as this would allow employees to work away from their desk without interruption, on important tasks that require full concentration. As important as it is to have an open-spaced office which allows interaction between employees, it is also important to give employees the opportunity to work completely alone from time-to-time if needed.
(5) Break Areas
Many would agree that a break or relaxation area is of huge importance. This is an area in the workplace where employees can go to take their break, eat lunch, or even just take five minutes to be alone with their thoughts on a stressful day. Taking a break at your desk is better than not taking one at all; however, it is best to get up, stretch your legs, socialise with co-workers and fully separate your mind from your tasks of the day. This can prevent stress levels building by taking time away from your desk to refresh your mind and recoup before returning to your workload. At our Stafffinders office, we refurbished our top floor into a break area with couches and eating areas, giving our staff somewhere comfortable to completely break away from work.
These simple 5 steps are a good start toward making the office a more relaxed environment. A more relaxed office means a less stressful one, which is crucial in maintaining productivity levels. Making the office a bit more inviting can therefore be considered an investment; one which the business will undoubtedly benefit from.
For more on employee productivity, have a look at our article on the importance of a happy workforce.