Working in an office comes with a unique set of challenges. Just look at all the pieces talking about the benefits of an open plan office one day, before contradicting themselves the very next. Realistically, different people will prefer different types of working environments, but there are a few things that can be done to make working in an office more pleasant for everyone. Read LEO’s guide to improving any office environment with ease.
A lot of companies, especially start-ups, tend to favour open-plan offices, insisting they foster communication and collaboration between staff. This is difficult to dispute though it does ignore the fact that some people prefer having space to themselves. What to do if your office is an open plan? Consider designating a few desks as ‘quiet areas’ where staff can retreat to if they need unbroken concentration. If there are a few meeting rooms in your office, then make one bookable for quiet working sessions a few times a week. Creating a little oasis in the middle of a busy office can work wonders for when deadlines approach or to satisfy whose working style requires it. It’s an almost no-cost solution that’s bound to be appreciated by your staff and seriously improve office environment satisfaction and productivity.
Reconsider A Clear Desk Policy
Just like open-plan offices, there are endless articles extolling the virtues of a clear desk policy, citing increased concentration and clearer thinking. Again, what works for one person won’t work for another so having a blanket rule that bans all personal possessions out of sight might just backfire. Creative industries and companies with creative departments and individuals need to be very careful here so as not to stifle their staff who sometimes need objects around to fuel their thinking. Clear desks may look nice in that clinical, catalogue way but people want to have a sense of belonging at work which, if it can be achieved with a few personal items, is surely worth it.
Make It Green
All offices can benefit from a little greenery to offset the blinding white and silver of electrical equipment. The great thing about plants is they function as more than just decoration, improving air quality and even having a positive effect on productivity. We talked about possible stifling of creativity in the above point and plants are another great way to counteract it. Dr Chris Knight, a psychologist from Exeter University, found that employees displayed 15% more productivity when workspaces were filled with even a few houseplants. The effect was measured when all employees could see at least one plant in their line of sight. Keep the plants on the small to medium side to make them transportable so your office doesn’t have to worry about getting them from one place to the next, should you need to make a move.
Employees need to take time away from their desks to keep producing their best work. Staying hydrated, resting their eyes, and generally stretching after hours spent without movement should all be encouraged. Well-equipped breakout spaces and customer lounges are essential to relax and take time out.
Improving the office environment doesn’t have to be a lengthy or costly process. Just a touch of forethought that encompasses employee needs can and should inform the decision-making process when it comes to organising office structure. Decide what is more important to you: an always sleek looking office or a happy workforce? It’s possible to balance the two and reap the rewards in return. Employees are spending longer than ever at work so it’s worth taking those extra steps to make them feel happy and comfortable in their office environment.