A lot of tech companies have redefined office spaces in the last decade. 20 years ago few people imagined that office spaces would have a pool table, massage rooms and ping pong tables within their premises.
Google’s New York office is supposedly designed to increase collaboration within teams, and create a natural environment for its employees. Facebook’s new office building in Menlo Park looks more like a college campus than an office building, they have a lot of areas within their campus that encourage creativity and learning.
A lot of smaller gaming and tech companies have office spaces that cater to a young employee base below the age of 25.
A fancy office may not directly increase your bottom line, but it definitely increases the productivity of your employees, cuts down on absenteeism, increases team energy and stimulates creativity.
Even smaller companies are embracing the open office culture and creating spaces that are informal and open. They now look at their offices as hubs of creativity and innovation rather than a place of work.
Most employees spend over 40 hours a week at their workplace and a nice office could energise them and make them more productive.
Your small business may not be able to afford an office like that of Facebook or Google, but there are certain small changes you can make to transform your workspace.
Here are 8 low cost ways to make your office more employee friendly.
#1 Clear the clutter
Some offices are unkempt and there is inventory and other material lying all over the place. A nice clean office reduces the spread of germs and bacteria, keeping your employees healthy while preventing them from getting sick. A nice clean space also motivates people to work.
#2 Get comfortable chairs
Most of us are on laptops or computers for the longest part of the day. Sitting on uncomfortable chairs can cause injuries to the neck and the back. Healthy employees perform better and take lesser days off due to illness. A comfortable chair should be a basic investment in any office.
#3 Adjust your lighting
Imagine working in an office space that is dark and uses unnatural light throughout the day. I know a lot of offices like that. But try to open up your windows and allow natural light to come in. Natural light is a source of vitamin D and can be quite healthy.
Along with natural light, try to bring in some plants and create a holistic environment. An organic air freshener also creates wonders for the workplace.
#4 Keep your room temperature optimum
Several studies have shown that room temperature has a direct effect on the productivity of employees. The ideal temperature should be anywhere between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius (71 to 75 degree Fahrenheit). Anything too cold or excessively hot can make employees feel uncomfortable and directly affect their productivity.
#5 Add colors to the decor
Most office managers don’t think of adding color to their walls. Most walls are white, gray or in off-white shades. Adding bright colors like orange, yellow and others can brighten up the workspace. That can be the difference between a dull, and an enthusiastic employee.
If you are using multiple colors, make sure they are properly co-ordinated or they might look like a mismatch. If you can afford an interior designer, that’s even better. At the same time, a basic understanding of color schemes might help you make changes as and when you feel the need.
#6 Install nice paintings at strategic locations
Creating a theme based design for your entire office and having paintings that go with the theme can greatly enhance the look and feel of your office. Your theme can be anything that inspires people to be great or creative.
#7 Put up posters with the company mission on it
The single most important message to your employees is the company mission. When things are going well, we can forget our mission and start doing things that are not aligned to our core values. Posters that clearly communicate the core message of the company is a great reminder to every team member about the importance of his job.
#8 Invest in a coffee machine and a water cooler
Most great ideas come up by the coffee machine or the water cooler. Encourage employees to take short breaks, these are times when friendships and informal chats happen. Most business problems are solved not necessarily during formal meetings but during informal discussions.
The coffee machine and the water cooler should be set-up in such a manner that employees from different departments should be able to interact with each other, this way employees get to see each other’s roles and the big picture.
Small changes in an office can greatly enhance its look and feel. Very few entrepreneurs pay attention to their physical workspace. It is mostly looked at as a cost center rather than a place of collaboration between team members. A little bit of effort and creativity in transforming the office can increase employee satisfaction. As the saying goes, “A happy employee is a productive employee.”