The ultimate aim of anyone managing an office should be to create a happy workplace. This is because happy employees produce better work and more of it, making your business more productive and efficient. It is well known that unhappy staff do not feel motivated to improve their performance and take more sick days than those who enjoy the work experience, so you need to make sure your employees are happy about coming to work every day.
One of the often-overlooked aspects of an office is the fact that very often, people don’t know much about the people they work with. If you don’t feel like you can ask for help when you need it or you can say hello to everyone you pass in the corridor, it can be an isolating experience. Think about setting up a social event or a training day where the teams are integrated and get to find out more about what everyone else does. If people know who they are talking to, it can make everything a lot more efficient and pleasant.
The aesthetics of the physical space can drastically affect the attitudes of the workforce. When it comes to finding office furniture, make sure it reflects the type of workplace you want to encourage. For example, if you want to promote transparency, opt for lots of glass, such as glass desks and shelving units. If it’s creativity you want, go for bright colours and modern designs, or if you want a calm, relaxed team, go for neutral colours and natural woods.
You should maintain a dialogue with your staff where they regularly get the chance to air their concerns or make suggestions. The best offices are those which feel like there is some indication of democracy. If you want to bring in a new office rule or tweak the policy, you should consult with the team to see what they think. It may well be the case that they raise an issue that you hadn’t considered, which avoids a lengthy process of reversing your decision. An office where staff can speak up is one they will want to work in.
The ‘office’ needn’t just be confined by the constraints of the building anymore. It is crucial that people are offered flexibility to work at a time and in a place that is convenient for them, whether this is at home, in a coffee shop or, indeed, in the office. Even offering one day a week of flexible working, or allowing parents the chance to shift their hours to allow a pick up or drop off from school can be all you need to do to make your staff members feel appreciated and keep everyone happy.
Carla Trafford is a business productivity consultant who specialises in getting the most from any working environment to maximise potential and revenue