Creating a great workspace isn’t a simple endeavor. It has to be both practical and to inspire productivity but also domestic in order for the staff to feel accepted and comfortable. So, it would mean that every action you do regarding creating a great workspace has to be purposeful and well-thought.
Planning a perfect workplace that will bring success to your business and comfort to your employees takes time and effort. The following guide will help you to find the perfect balance between comfort and practicality in a workplace.
Focusing on comfort and productivity
In order for a business to be successful, you first need to provide your employees with a workplace that will encourage productivity and inspiration. It needs to be a place where they can find peace and solitude when they need it but also have fun and decompress when they feel overwhelmed. Last but not least, ergonomics should be visible in your choice of furnishings to keep your staff healthy.
1. Office design
The more time your employees spend at work, the more office design will be of value for them. It’s important that the office design reflects work-life balance and that it makes your employees want to be there, even if it’s longer than they have expected. In other words, well-thought workplace design will make the employees feel at ease, relaxed and appreciated. Consequently, it will lead to improved productivity and effectiveness.
The first step is to decide whether you will have an open-space workplace or you will provide your employees with privacy in their own offices. As much as open-space workplaces are praised, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for your particular team or line of work. You need to identify what will work best for your employees. Maybe the best option would be to have an office design that will provide both types of work – collaborative and independent one. This would mean that your employees would have comfy break-out zones where they can hang out or exchange ideas at informal meetings. Besides that, they will also have space where they can focus on their own, without any disturbance. So, they would be able to choose what type of work they need at a specific moment.
The next step is to provide sufficient lighting, both the artificial one and natural light. Just don’t go overboard with unnatural bulbs that give away fluorescent light. People don’t enjoy dark places. The more natural light in the office, the better. Together with natural light come plants. Greenery is necessary for a closed space because it makes people feel like they’re outside. Plants have a soothing effect on people but also incite creativity and reduce stress.
2. Services and facilities
A great workplace also has additional facilities that serve as an extension. They exist to make the employees feel more at home and to relieve stress faster. So, if you have a large office space, leave some of the space for some social activity like fitness, wellness or even board games. Maybe you want to take it up a notch and provide your staff with a concierge or even on-site community manager. This will improve the work-life balance you should aspire to. It will make the employees feel appreciated and happy to go to work each day.
3. Quiet, private areas
As told before, every employee needs to have the opportunity to isolate themselves if they need to focus on a job or deal with some emotions privately. In case you have an open-plan office, there will definitely be a lot of noise and distractions. Even though it makes employees easy to collaborate, everybody sometimes feels they will be more productive in some peace and quiet. Maybe that private space will be a plain office pod just to create a certain level of privacy. The better option would be to designate a quiet room where an employee can focus on work without any disturbances from others.
4. Encourage good posture though ergonomics furnishings
Don’t be thrifty when it comes to ergonomic chairs, desks, and other office furniture. You can’t expect from your employees to be productive for 8 hours or more if they have to sit in uncomfortable chairs and experience back or hand pain. If the type of work allows it, you can even consider adding standing desks. It has been proven that employees who use a standing desk are 45% more productive than those who sit at regular desks. Also, its effect on health is significant. When an employee uses a standing desk during the work hours, it means they will be standing in an upright position but also moving more. This leads to less back pain that’s caused by the majority of chairs. You can take action against a sedentary way of life and help your employees lead a healthier life. Every standing desk should also have an accompanying mat to provide a stable and comfortable ground for the employee. Many companies like Mat Shop offer a wide choice of mats, so it’s up to you to fit it all into the style of your office.
Psychological aspect – employee relations
A perfect workplace isn’t just about the furnishings, colors and the facilities provided to your employees. At the end of the day, it’s the people inside it who make it feel like a second home. Strong, positive and honest relationships among employees are crucial for the business to thrive. After all, it’s the people who make it all happen.
1. Encourage walking meetings
It’s important to let your employees know they don’t have to stay inside the office if they feel some fresh air and a short walk will do them good. Walking can induce creative thinking, especially if they do it with a colleague. It’s similar to thinking outside the box – leave the place and you will change the way you think. Not only does a walk gives the workers vitamin D which will boost their mood, but it will also give them a chance to get to know one another better if they go for a walk together. It can turn into a ritual that will strengthen the relations in the office and even form friendships.
2. Allow employees to organize their work hours
There’s nothing more confining than having a pre-set working schedule that you need to follow all the time. As your workers don’t have the luxury of working from home every day, offer them something else in return. You can allow them to come or leave work at hours they choose, depending on their personal needs. Additionally, you can let them choose one day a week when they will be able to work at home. Every time you can, organize meetings outside the office, like in a coffee shop or in a restaurant. It will remove the sense of boredom and obligation.
3. Create trust in the workplace
Trust is necessary for any workplace. Your employees need to be sure that they can have an open conversation with you and that their discussions with others behind closed doors will remain private. Do your best not to break that trust because it’s very hard to fix it once it happens.
Workplaces, where there isn’t much trust, are usually those where co-workers point fingers at each other, placing blame. It leads to an unhealthy atmosphere where everybody feels insecure. Contrary to that, the workplace where there’s a high level of trust among employees means nobody is afraid to speak up. Mistakes are just a part of the process, while new ideas are always welcomed. In that type of workplace, people will be more willing to ask others for help or to offer help.
4. Choose people who share your values
Every time you choose another member of the staff, pay attention not only to their skills and competencies but also to their values and interests. As much as people are different from one another, there are still some values that need to match in order to have a pleasant work atmosphere.
If you notice that somebody is troublesome in any way, making others will uncomfortable or unappreciated, you need to react. You are all one big family, and there’s no room for those who belittle others and make them feel bad. Your company’s core values have to be respected by each member of the staff. Don’t hesitate to let go those who act differently. Nobody is above the law, and that’s what you need to show the rest of the team. When you surround yourself with people who share your values, it will be easier to communicate and work together on an everyday basis. Those values are the foundation of your business and no one should be allowed to oppose them.
Creating a workplace that’s both domestic and practical to work in is a process that takes time. It’s necessary for you to have a clear plan and to stick to it. In time, you’ll notice that your effort is paying off and that your workplace is truly a great place for everybody.