Office life can be incredibly stressful; the daily traffic-clogged commute, too much caffeine, the pressures of deadlines and mounting responsibilities can set blood pressures high and nerves on edge.
Keeping your staff happy is imperative to the success of all businesses; studies have shown that we work harder when we are happy and the same University of Warwick study revealed that happiness made people around 12% more productive.
There are a number of ways that you can fine-tune your office environment to contribute to the wellbeing of your staff. Considering that people spend 33% of their waking week in the office, a place of work can have an undeniable sway on happiness and productivity levels.
Optimizing your office space for the wellbeing and productivity of your employees needn’t be onerous. With just a few easy fixes and inexpensive solutions, you can bring a harmonious atmosphere to the office.
Read on to find out:
- How to encourage an environment of wellness in the workplace
- The impact and importance of socialization among employees
- Why you should empower your team to improve interpersonal relationships
Promote a healthy and happy environment
Ensuring that your office space is a comfortable and inviting place to work will motivate your staff. If your office is drab with harsh lighting and bleak furniture, your staff are unlikely to feel enthused or inspired. Natural light is proven to have positive health effects, particularly on mental health and mood, therefore turning off the fluorescent lights and opening the blinds is a quick and inexpensive starting point.
Providing ergonomic furniture, comfort facilities and refreshments will keep your team content. According to an article by Nviro “An average member of staff will be distracted for a full 86 minutes every single day at work… Poor chairs, a lack of air conditioning and any number of other factors can all play into this… those who are not feeling at home in the office will lose an average of 91 minutes per day to procrastination.”
It is also a good idea to consider plants in the workplace; live plants purify the air with fresh oxygen and add vibrancy to the office. The Nursery and Garden Industry Limited conducted a study that showed that just one plant per work space can provide a large lift to staff spirits, and so promote wellbeing and performance. It noted a staggering 37% reduction in anxiety, 58% reduction in depression, 44% reduction in anger, and 38% reduction in fatigue when plants were present.
Encourage social interaction
It's important to encourage a healthy level of social engagement between staff. Studies show that taking a 17 minute break for every 52 minutes of work improved productivity by 13%. While on the face of it, it may seem counterintuitive to have such long and frequent breaks, Forbes reports “the concepts of work/life balance have been lost, thanks to a proliferation of technology and the breakdown in barriers between work and life”. Therefore managers should be receptive to the idea that the work/life balance is interchangeable.
Putting aside a budget for social engagement events is also a great idea. Team building exercises and activities like after work get-togethers and BBQ’s, for example, are a fantastic way to keep spirits high, improve the team’s interpersonal relationships, and will have an enormously positive effect on morale. Keeping the office fun and quirky also raises team spirit and gives the business personality. For example, you could nominate a ‘minister of fun’ or ‘social secretary’ to organize extracurricular activities that solidify relationships and create an enjoyable and engaging workplace. Giving your business a personable element will instill company pride in your staff – they’ll appreciate the fact that your company looks after them.
Empower your team
If employees feel trapped or under-appreciated in their role, this will have a negative knock-on effect on productivity and they can become demotivated and even disillusioned. The quickest and easiest solution is to recognize and reward exceptional work on an individual level. This will empower your employees and show them that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed.
You should also make your staff aware of any opportunities for progression or further training and encourage them to get involved. You want them to feel challenged, respected and engaged on a personal and professional level. They work hard for you, show them that you appreciate and will reward them for it.
Most importantly, lead by example
Good moods are infectious. By bringing a positive energy to the office space, your team will naturally react positively. Encourage happiness and wellness in your team; you are their leader and your team will look to you to set the tone, even if it is on a subconscious level. It is exceptionally important for team morale that they can look to you as a reliable source for guidance and direction. As the philosopher and theologian Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing people. It is the only thing”.
Always encourage all members of the team in their work and their personal development and aim to instill a sense of community in the workplace. By ensuring that your office culture adheres to the above points, and by setting examples for your staff to follow, you can promote a happy, engaging and productive environment in your office.
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