Having a positive office environment has become more important over the last decade. Managers are focusing on their employees’ feelings and feedback since it is scientifically proven that having a constructive work environment can actually improve productivity, make employees happier and more confident.
1. Hire positive people
There are multiple tips to help your company improve its work environment, but you need to start by firstly hiring exceptional team members and I am not referring to skills. At ESPA we say that “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude” because you can always teach skills.
When you are hiring for a new position look for the personality. Be very aware of how you feel around the person you are interviewing. Do they seem like they focus on the positives or negatives? Do they laugh? Do they smile? Do they seem like they value human relationships? While their skills are very important, a person that brings gloom and doom to the workplace will kill productivity and motivation and when employees work with unmotivated colleagues, they are more likely to become unmotivated themselves.
2. Improve the team
Hiring already positive and communicative employees is important but the existing team needs to make the environment positive as well. If they feel like a team they are going to work more efficiently and have a better understanding of each other’s work.
Team bonding activities are always a nice way to improve the relationships in the team. Any team fun or relaxing activities like a day at the amusement park, a movie in the afternoon with popcorn and candy, chair massages. Anything you can think of to make people feel that you are doing something nice for them will make people feel happier and closer to each other.
Also, having a company initiative that makes a difference will make people feel connected to the greater good. Take a poll. Find out what people care about and get their opinions on how best to accomplish those goals. When you are working in a team, positive thinking is very important. Even when you didn’t achieve the result you anticipated, positive thinking will eventually bring positive outcomes.
3. Encourage some selfish thinking
While bonding and creating a stronger team is very important, do not forget that you are a company, you have goals, targets and business competitors; that is why your employees need to be team players but also strive for their personal improvement which eventually brings growth for the company. Having personal career goals will help your company, your team and make your employees happier.
4. Improve communication
Encourage people to say “hi” to each other no matter their organizational place, managers waving at interns even when they are busy and vice versa, is the start of improving communication. According to the Hawthorne effect, showing your employees that you care about them can improve organizational communication and increase productivity. It makes people happy to be asked how they are and for you to take a little time to find out how things are going in their lives. That doesn’t mean losing time of work by having conversations about people’s lives, it simply means remembering to take the time to say, “Hi” and “How are you?”.
Another important factor to improve communication is for employees and managers to receive and be open to feedback specific on how their work is contributing to the broader business objectives and to receive gratitude when working hard.
5. Work on your space
Working in a clean, attractive office can have tremendous effects on your office environment. Give your employees the flexibility to work in comfort, including comfy chairs or a choice of whether to sit or stand at their desks.
When employees choose a space that makes them comfortable, give them the freedom to customize their area, as everyone works differently; get rid of the “same-issued everything” and give everyone the freedom to customize their own setup.
Lighting plays a vital role in workers’ performance and attitude. Research from an international university, states that exposure to natural light improves mood and energy, greatly impacting focus and productivity. But according to a survey conducted with 1000 participants, nearly half of office workers said there is little to no natural light in their office.
If it’s not possible to incorporate natural lighting through windows, there are other options. Blue-enriched light bulbs may reduce fatigue and increase happiness and work performance, according to the article. Use this type of lighting in brainstorming rooms. In a meeting or break rooms, use warmer tones to promote calmness and relaxation.
To conclude, the office environment is important, it keeps your employees happy and connected and improves their productivity. If you manage to integrate all these steps to your company’s culture it will be something happening naturally, and no extra effort will be required in the future. And don’t forget, always hire happy people!