As a person doing business in 2019, you need to be the one to acknowledge the fact that an office worker of today spends more time in the office than they do at home. This is why the layout of the place, its functionality, the equipment available and other elements of the preparedness of the office, all tend to affect the way in which people feel in your employ. This means that, other than the standard issue of productivity, you now also have to think about the factor of talent retention and attraction.
From the perspective of an employer, you have a direct benefit to keep your office properly outfitted, while from a strictly human perspective, this is the right thing to do. Most importantly, you’re not just doing this for your employees but for yourself, as well. Look at it this way, your own mood will be affected by the state of the office, as well. Other than this, the mood and disposition of your employees will rub off on you, as well, which is also something worth bearing in mind. So, with all of this in mind and without further ado, here are several things you need to do in order to create the perfect office space.
1. Provide enough light
According to some of the latest surveys, as much as 68 percent of all office workers complain about the light in the workplace. Still, the solution of this problem is a lot more complex than you might have initially assumed it to be. First of all, people need natural light in order to stay productive, yet, even this alone isn’t enough. Natural light sometimes can’t provide enough illumination, which means that your office needs to turn to light fixtures and artificial light system, as well.
The first thing to get out of the way is the fact that monitors and other devices produce enough light, as it is, which means that the overall illumination of the office doesn’t have to be that potent, to begin with. In order to allow every single employee a chance to customize the amount of light that they’re exposed to, you might want to equip every workstation with a task light of its own. In the era of computers, desks are not nearly as tightly packed as they were, which means that there’s more than plenty of room for such a thing. The only problem is the fact that this may somewhat impact your budget.
2. The layout
As for the layout planning, you need to figure out what your priorities are before you start planning and delegating. First of all, you need to figure out if you have enough space in the office, which is harder than you may believe at the moment. You see, just because you can cram 30 workstations in the office, this doesn’t mean that you should do that. In fact, having 20 workstations with enough personal space is often a better choice, even if it means that some people should work from home. Allowing some of your employees to work from shared office space is also a good idea.
As for the layout plans, you have two general directions that you can follow. First, you can opt for a cubicle system, which creates a scenario where every single one of your employees has a miniature office of its own. The downside of this plan is the feeling of isolation that your employees will feel while working in such an environment. When it comes to the issue of an open office, it’s a more innovative approach, yet, one that’s quite hard to effectively pull off. To achieve this, you might want to start applying various Feng Shui principles in office designs, which always makes matters more fun.
The choice of a workstation needs to be one that you will make with the utmost care, due to the fact that it affects both productivity and health of your employees. First of all, the posture of your employees is determined by the height of the desk and the quality of the chair. The amount of space they have will affect their mental state (claustrophobic, empty-looking, etc.), while the angle at which they observe the screen of their computer may affect their vision. All in all, you have so much to consider.
Another reason why this is so important is due to the fact that it gives your employees a sense of belonging in your enterprise. Look at it this way, their workstation needs to be the place that they’re in full ownership (at least formally). Of course, they can’t take corporate materials home, but what they can do is customize the desk space in whatever way they see fit (as long as it’s appropriate and doesn’t interfere with the ability of other people to focus).
While we’re discussing the customization of one’s workstation, it’s incredibly important that we mention the upcoming trend of BYOD (bring your own device). Nowadays, as many as 67 percent of employees all over the world bring their own devices to work, which generates about $350 of value per employee every year. Still, all those employees who don’t feel like it or lack an adequate device should still be allowed to follow the traditional model.
4. Great breakroom
In order to keep your employees productive, you need to ensure that they’re focused on the task at hand, which often means giving them enough time to rest. First of all, you must have noticed that there are a lot of people who skip breaks in order to be more productive. Well, this is not how these things work, which means that your first course of action needs to be making these people take their mandatory breaks when everyone else is. This way, you don’t have to worry about people on the break distracting people who are still working.
As for the way in which your office space can impact this trend, you should bear in mind that a great breakroom, might enhance the rate at which your employees are recuperating from work. For this to work, you need to encourage relaxation by eliminating distractions and decorating in a way that will make everyone feel like they’re in a place of rest and respite. You can even create a designated nap space, due to the fact that as much as 20 minutes of nap time can make a difference in the effectiveness of your employees.
5. Optimized kitchen
Another pivotal area for your employees is the kitchen and by optimizing it, you’ll boost the efficiency of your team on a break and get the most out of your workspace. Keep in mind that the place is big enough for everyone to fit, that the fridge is compartmentalized enough, as well as that the dining room is big enough to take everyone. Ideally, you could even consider investing in a canteen, yet, this might be a bit outside of the budget for the majority of small and medium enterprises.
One more issue that requires a specific mention is the issue of office coffee machines. Coffee is a hot beverage that is known to improve mental performance and alertness, enhances willpower and increases adrenaline levels. All of these factors are vital in the ability of your employees to focus on the task at hand. In some scenarios, it’s also noted that 200 mg of caffeine per day can help you identify words and phrases a lot quicker, which means that it aids the learning process. The machine itself can make a massive difference.
6. Child care in the workplace
For a lot of working moms, the issue of child care tends to be incredibly important, seeing as how they would otherwise have to find a babysitter or entrust the care of their child to a specialized facility. Due to the fact that 64 percent of mothers whose children are under the age of 6 are forced to work and due to the fact that 70 percent of them work full time, this becomes a major concern. This is why investing in child care in the workplace will make you into a much more interesting employer, thus boosting your appeal on the job market.
Other than this, this act will help you generate more employee loyalty, which will make moms and dads in your employ work substantially harder. Also, due to the fact that their kids are taken care off, as well as due to the fact that they’re just several yards away, parents in your employ are more likely to stay overtime. Lastly, giving one an opportunity to spend an office break with their child is a concept that can make all the difference.
7. Digital workspace
In the end, you need to understand that your business doesn’t exist just in the office space but in the digital environment, as well. Therefore, you need to consider several issues when equipping it. First of all, the choice of hardware will affect which software you can install and run effectively. This, of course, can be solved in a BYOD manner. If you have to buy, however, you can’t just purchase computers, due to the fact that each of these devices needs some peripherals, as well. Overall, make your list, compose a budget and start making your plans.
The issue of the necessary software is also incredibly important. First of all, you need to take care of all the basic tools like IM software, collaboration tools, employee management software and remote access software. Then, you need to proceed to industry-specific tools, as well as tools like fleet management software, which are directly responsible for the infrastructure and the logistics of your business. Overall, some of these tools have open-source alternatives or free versions, while there are also some scenarios in which paying for a premium tool is the best course of action.
The last thing you need to bear in mind is the fact that enhancing productivity isn’t a simple matter, due to the fact that its a concept that’s affected by too many different factors. Also, the impact of each of the above-listed factors is not that noticeable, which is why you can see a drastic improvement in productivity only when you start applying them in bulk. Ideally, you would apply as many of the items from this list as possible.