Your Workplace Environment
White walls, linoleum, tiled ceiling, industrial lighting, hard breakroom chairs… sounds like a hospital, right? Not the most comfortable place to be hanging out, but in reality that’s what the inside of many corporations around the United States are like. One great way to spread employee communication and improve collaboration is to focus on your work environment!
Your employees spend almost as much time at the workplace as they do at their own home. From 8am – 5pm (or whatever hours you work) their workplace becomes their home away from home for much of the day. Your employees may want to add their own flair or they might want a comfortable area to gather but your corporation doesn’t allow for either. This could be hampering the production and creativity in your business substantially.
Nope, this isn’t an article that calls for you to bring in an interior decorator and spend loads of cash. This is simply a call to think about a floor plan and environment that will provide an area for people to collaborate or simply build a family atmosphere.
The Value of Environment
Improving the workplace environment can actually have substantial rewards to your employee’s work absorption and productivity. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that physical changes in the workplace like meetings and recreation can improve employee’s ability to be fully immersed in their work. More absorption can be linked to more productivity – don’t even get us started on how productive workers can improve your bottom-line!
Plus, that dull and sometimes dirty workplace environment can have cognitive effects on your employees as well. Research out of Florida State University found that a dull and dirty workplace – one in which provides no stimulation – can have long-term cognitive effects on your employees! Joseph Grzywacz, lead researcher on the study explained, “There are real things in the workplace that can shape cognitive function: some that you can see or touch, and others you can’t. We showed that both [including your physical workplace environment] matter to cognitive health in adulthood.” Obviously, we want productive, happy employees but how?
Building a Comfortable Workplace Environment
From simply creating a more comfortable office area to creating a more conversation friendly breakroom, check out these tips on how you can help your employees reach their full potential:
It starts on day one
From day one, make sure to prove to your new employee that the culture is different (make sure it actually is) than the typical places they have worked! Obviously you want to introduce them to everyone but you want to make the entire thing a unique experience. From having their name on a welcome screen in the lobby to a customized agenda for the first week to “Welcome” signs in their office, there are so many easy ways to make them feel comfortable and proud to be part of the team! Likewise, don’t overlooking going out with the team for lunch – this can be an enlightening and light-hearted way to get to know each other and welcome them to the family!
Many office buildings and corporations in general have rules about what their employees can do to make the office feel like home. Well, take that rule book and toss it out the window because you want your employees to take over their office and be creative (obviously within reason)! By making their office/area conducive for work, your employees can feel more free to innovate daily! Any form of creativity will spill over into their work as well. Where there is creativity, there is a chance for innovation and a chance for dominating your competition!
You remember that “Welcome” sign I just spoke of when starting with day one? That can be useful to remind all of your employees of special events or any huge company goals you may have. While this does help improve education, it is also a point of discussion. Start putting those numbers up and watch as your workers will notice, discuss with their coworkers, and figure out ways to improve on those companywide numbers or reach those goals. It gets the business communication and collaboration going and moving towards a common goal!
Breakrooms usually aren’t the most glamorous areas. From having a vending machine to having a fridge that Jim steals food from, they don’t really get too exciting. First, have comfortable seating and have smaller tables throughout the room. Small tables will mean that people will have to dine with their coworkers which leads to communication and getting to know one another! Likewise, have scoreboards in the breakrooms as well to help foster communication. Want people to get together? Have free food in the breakroom once or twice a week. It doesn’t have to be big either, just have free donuts occasionally (or chicken in our case)!
Honestly, the more often you get people together (without severely interrupting work), the more they will get to know each other and therefore increase communication! From Birthdays to hitting milestones to crushing company goals, compete together, celebrate together and continue to make your team stronger!
Creating a comfortable, communication friendly workplace environment isn’t just a one installation deal. It’s about creating the culture and letting it thrive while also stoking the fire. It’s about removing the usual dull atmosphere or, on the other end of the spectrum, the chaos and making your workplace environment collaboration friendly! The universe is in a constant state of chaos. Make sure your office is in order so you can control what you can control and improve motivation, absorption and productivity! We are always looking to improve the bottom-line, right?
If you’ve missed any of our Business Communication Series check out Part 1. Come back next week as we discuss improving your office settings to increase discussion!