“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This Confucian adage is true – until it isn’t. When the workplace becomes an obligation instead of fulfillment, employees stop loving what they do. That’s why having ideas to improve your workplace environment is so important.
But before developing plans and ideas on what to change, make sure you identify your office problem areas. There are a few especially common problems areas for workplaces:
- Little to no natural light
- Tense, non-relaxing spaces
- Too many negative attitudes
- Lack of communication
- Lack of talent (or the ability to explore talent)
- Distant or out-of-touch management and superiors
Of course, what’s most valuable is asking your employees where they feel improvements can be made.
Importance of a Happy Workplace Environment
Employees without a good work environment are far more likely to leave a job.
According to lifehack.org, “Most [employees] leave of their own accord and many of these departures can be avoided. In many cases, it is the working environment rather than low pay that prompts an employee to leave.”
To avoid employee attrition and to keep your staff happy and engaged, try a few of these ideas to improve your workplace.
How to improve your workplace
Sometimes all employees need is a morale booster. This can be anything from positive reinforcement to opening the doors of communication. What can you do to become a better manager and keep your employees happy in the workplace? Here are some ideas.
Provide positive feedback
Everyone likes to be appreciated. Regularly giving your employees positive feedback on jobs well done can go a long way to keep morale high. Even a simple thank-you goes a long way; Owen, Blue Summit Supplies’ CEO, thanks each of his employees as they leave for the day. It’s a small gesture that has big ramifications and makes everyone feel appreciated.
Another reason for employee frustration is inattentive managers. Dismissing employee concerns, being distracted during meetings, or constantly being too busy to hear concerns or questions can be a big driver of attrition. At the very baseline, managers should always be aware of their subordinates’ responsibilities and tasks. A distant or unaware manager is a surefire way to make employees feel undervalued.
Hire enough staff
When employees are overworked and under-compensated, they begin losing their passion and drive. Don’t put off hiring more staff because someone on your team stepped up to temporarily take on additional roles. Make sure your employees are receiving the support they need to work effectively without suffering from burnout.
Improve overall communication
Providing positive feedback is one line of communication employees will appreciate, but the need for effective communication is greater than just that. Your employees need to feel heard, too. Give your team the chance to offer you constructive feedback without fear of repercussions. You can also ask them their opinions on a new product, promotion, or client. When they feel like their opinions matter, they’re more likely to stick around. Samantha Lambert, director of human resources at Blue Fountain Media, told Business News Daily, “When you involve your staff in decision-making in an effort to create a better work environment, they feel valued.”
Organization and Efficiency:
Another important aspect of a happy workplace environment is giving your employees the tools they need to feel their most productive. Organization of personal spaces can go a long way. Here are some ways to improve efficiency in the workplace.
Provide desk supplies
Supplies like file and desk organizers are great for keeping work spaces clean and neat, and employees work best in tidy environments. Employees who are comfortable in their work environment are more efficient. Check in with your employees to see what supplies they want and need to maximize your investment.
Schedule less meetings
It can be overwhelming for your team to organize their days around a flurry of meetings. Try to answer quick questions via an interoffice communication platform, like Slack. This might free up employee’s time and allow them to be productive. Of course, some meetings are unavoidable, so creating a clear agenda and adhering to time limits can help curb time wasting.
Invest in software
There are a number of different tools you can purchase to help with project management and overall day-to-day efficiency. Giving your employees an easier track their activities and projects will help them become more efficient every day. Forbes suggests Asana, Trello, and Breeze, among others.
Offer a work-from-home option
Studies show work-from-home employees are actually 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts. Zenefits.com writes, “Letting your employees telecommute will allow them to save time that would otherwise be wasted completely.” This means that they won’t have to take a sick day for a simple cold or use a full day off when waiting for a repairman. Having a work-from-home option makes a big difference in employee satisfaction.
Finally, check out your office space. Is it comfortable? Does it have natural light? Is it welcoming? These are qualities everyone looks for in their workplace, so you should make sure you’re up to standard. Here’s how to improve the workplace environment.
Offer “quiet spaces”
Depending on how traditional your office atmosphere, these private spaces may not be quiet at all. If you work in a high-pace, sales-type organization, it may always be loud. Some employees may need 30 minutes of quiet to hunker down and get work done. If you have a mostly quiet office, some may need to put on some music to focus. Offer spaces they can book at different times to embrace whatever atmosphere makes them feel most productive.
Outside of any fire hazard restrictions you might have, let your employees decorate their spaces how they see fit. Encourage them to bring in plants, picture frames, air fresheners, diffusers, even mini fridges to enhance their spaces and make them feel homey.
Provide drinks and snacks
If this type of added luxury is in the budget, you may want to consider it. Providing water stations, quality coffee, and complimentary snacks goes a long way to making your employees feel valued and satisfied.
Pay attention to the temperature
Going from extreme cold to extreme heat makes for an uncomfortable work environment. Find a happy medium so your employees don’t need a desk fan one minute and a blanket the next. When they’re focusing on their body temperature, they aren’t producing quality work.
Set the right lighting
Lighting might seem like a minor detail in a workspace, but it can make or break mood and morale. If you’re in a space with few windows and poor natural lighting, relying on fluorescents or other eye-aching bulbs can seriously damage productivity. Improve mood and productivity by investing in a quality electrician. Our CEO Owen Franklin did just that, completely revamping the lighting to brighten up the open office space and invest in his employees’ morale.
These changes will require money, time, and patience, but investing in your environment will be well worth it for your staff and yourself. Don’t neglect your workplace environment – make it better for everyone.
To learn more about office culture, check out our blog at Blue Summit Supplies.
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