Motivating your staff can often be one of the hardest things to do – unless you throw cash at them to work better but then there is a risk of employee-fatigue.
Well a recent survey by the workplace consultants at Peldon Rose saw a fifth of workers admit that their office environment actually hinders their professional productivity, while over half of job hunters say they would actually turn down a position if they didn’t like the workspace – so it’s clear that British workers place a lot of value in where they spend their working week.
So what is your employees’ workplace wish list?
1. More natural light
Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality, as well as poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality and sleep disturbances. The study was reported in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Co-lead author Mohamed Boubekri, is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said:
Workers are a group at risk because they are typically indoors often without access to natural or even artificial bright light for the entire day. The study results confirm that light during the natural daylight hours has powerful effects on health. Architects need to be aware of the importance of natural light not only in terms of their potential energy savings but also in terms of affecting occupants’ health.
A simple design solution to augment daylight penetration in office buildings would be to make sure the workstations are within 20 to 25 feet of the peripheral walls containing the windows. Daylight from side windows almost vanishes after 20 to 25 feet from the windows.
2. Better lunch/break area
No break room is complete without an area for your employees to actually take a break. Lunch tables are important for the obvious reasons: they give people space to sit down and eat a meal during their lunch breaks. But they also serve a more important purpose– they create a natural opportunity for your workers to engage with one another. Those conversations can help to solve existing problems facing thoseworkers, or promote interpersonal connections and a greater sense of teamwork.
Don’t make your break room a simple extension of the rest of your office. Do something to make it stand out. For example, you could change the color of the walls or the layout of the room to make the break room feel like it’s a part of a different building. The change in environment will give them a chance to relax and embrace the change in scenery. When they return to work, they’ll start fresh, and productivity will substantially increase.
The break room should be a lively, stimulating place. Don’t keep white walls with a single poster describing workers’ legal rights. Instead, paint the break room a unique colour or feature an idiosyncratic pattern. You can also decorate your tables and walls with various items, from motivational posters to community-based bulletin boards. Whatever you do, it’s important to make the break room an interesting place. Otherwise, it will feel like a part of the office, and your workers won’t feel relaxed. Try not to over think it either– just create an interesting environment that stands out from the rest of the office.
3. More personalised workspace
There are some very easy steps which can be taken that could impact on how an employee feels about their workspace – and atmosphere in particular plays a significant part. A survey found that 22% of office workers were calling for the power to personalise their work station.
4. Better amenities
Amenities are also on the agenda when it comes to improving UK offices, with those surveyed revealing that access to an office coffee machine and water cooler would introduce a welcome perk to where they work.
5. Better office furniture
Small, strategic changes could mean big improvements for working environments across the UK – as some Brits lay blame on less than luxurious office furniture and uninspiring workplace decor.
With many office workers spending upwards of eight hours a day in their office chair, it’s no surprise that 18% of respondents would like to trade in their furniture for more comfortable and ergonomic alternatives – while 16% would welcome more colourful or engaging office design.
6. Introduction of colour or art on walls
Dr Craig Knight, who has studied the psychology of working environments for 12 years at the University of Exeter, where he heads a research group called Identity Realisation (IDR). He says:
There is a real tendency to opt for sanitised, lean workspaces, designed to encourage staff to just get on with their work and avoid distraction. If you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better; a very good way of doing this is by using art.
It doesn’t have to be expensive art but something that is eye-catching and makes your employees happy to work there. Alex Heath, is the managing director at International Art Consultants, which advises workplaces on art. He says:
Art is a way of retaining staff and encouraging them to be in the office, at a time when people increasingly want to work remotely. Some companies consciously use art as part of their retention strategy. Aesthetic in the truest sense means energy-giving which is what a workplace needs, rather than a bland, industrial environment which can be more like giving workers a dose of anaesthetic.