We’ve all heard the saying that employees are a company’s biggest asset. Therefore, for a business to thrive, its workforce needs to have the optimal conditions in which it can handle the assignments at hand. From creating an encouraging atmosphere to making the space comfortable, there are many aspects to think about here. Regardless of whether you work on your own or are managing an office with many workers, you need to do your best to set up a functional and healthy working environment. Keep on reading for some inspiration.
Introduce as much natural light as possible
Natural light is a very important factor in creating a productive work environment. Not only does it boost our mood and make us less drowsy but it also helps prevent eyestrain and headaches. So, if you work from home, you might have the luxury of choosing where your office will be. In that case, pick a room or area that gets plenty of natural light during the day. That also means you will save money on your electricity bills. When building an office space from scratch, you have to work these benefits into the design and create a workspace that will be showered in light. However, if you work in a rented office, you might not be blessed with a lot of natural light which means that you have to look for ways how you can increase it. Even though you will not be allowed to add more windows, perhaps you will be allowed to repaint the walls and make them light and neutral. Then, you also need to think about artificial lights. Maybe you or any of your employees prefer working during the night. With that in mind, you need to install overhead and task lights and get lightbulbs that mimic natural daylight.
Make the office practical and comfortable
To prevent fatigue, you need to ensure you are working in a comfortable position. Of course, if you are creating a space only for yourself, you probably already know which pieces of equipment help you reach peak productivity. Perhaps that it an ergonomic chair or a standing desk. Maybe you need an ergonomic keyboard and computer mouse. However, when managing more people, it’s important to check with them which approach they prefer. Seeing as how you cannot force everyone to work while standing, you need to allow your employees to choose whether they would like a height-adjustable desk or a regular one. In addition to getting them ergonomic and adjustable chairs, provide anti-fatigue standing desk mats for those individuals that like to switch it up from time to time to ensure they are comfortable and motivated. What is more, you also have to make the office accessible to people with disabilities. From installing a wheelchair ramp or platform lift and ensuring they can use the bathroom all the way to investing in technology that will allow them to have easy access to all features of the workplace, there are many things to consider when it comes to making sure every single member of the team can use the workplace to the fullest.
Encourage a healthy lifestyle
In order for you and your employees to perform on the highest level possible, you have to be healthy. While you can offer gym memberships to your staff, you cannot control how they spend their time away from the office and force them to work out on a daily basis. However, you can encourage healthy eating habits by offering healthy dishes for lunch and having healthy snacks lying around as well as water and juice instead of soft drinks. What is more, you can also promote physical activity by asking employees to take a walk during lunch or stretch their legs regularly. If you work from home and are not on a strict schedule, exercise and healthy food should be your everyday staples.
Create a relaxation area
When you’re not working or working out, you will surely want to recharge your batteries for a few minutes so that you can tackle the next assignment on your list. This is why you must have a relaxation area as a part of the office. It doesn’t have to be anything big and fancy. Just having a small break room where people can go to escape the hustle and bustle of telephone calls, keyboard clacking and similar hallmarks of a busy office can be enough to regain motivation. It can be a quiet room without technology or you can go there to watch a funny video or play a quick video game – it all depends on the employees’ preferences. In case you are operating from your home, make sure your breaks are not too long as it can be very easy to start binging a TV show without even noticing. At home, some quiet time before continuing your work can be very invigorating.
Introduce nature into space
By introducing nature into the office, you will create a more enjoyable space. In addition to natural light, you want the premises to be full of fresh air as it will stimulate the employees. Then, greenery comes with not only plenty of health benefits but it also makes us more productive. Therefore, you need to consider adding a few potted plants that will clean the air and boost the aesthetic of the space. Implement a water feature as well, if possible. Many people find the sound of running water calming which can also lead to better work results. What is more, even hanging up some artwork of nature can have a similar effect when it comes to motivation.
Limit or get rid of distractions
For the office to be fully functional, it is essential to minimize the distractions as much as possible. From soundproofing your office to block out noise from the outside to providing your employees with noise-cancelling headphones if they need silence to work, there are many approaches here. Working from home also comes with a different set of challenges. Family members and roommates can often distract you and try talking to you. You need to set some boundaries and explain that you should not be disturbed during work hours. Finally, your electronic devices can affect your productivity as well, so do your best to avoid endless social media scrolling and watching TV before you’re done with your tasks for the day.
Set up proper communication channels
It doesn’t matter if you work from home or in an office full of people, communication is vital. First, you need to set up a chain of command. Every single team member has to know who their superior is and whom they need to talk to if they run into an issue. While direct communication cannot be neglected, technology now also play a big role in connecting the employees both with their superior and each other. So, the company needs to decide on the main channel of communication, especially for remote workers. Besides email, there are many chat apps that allow for quick clearing up of misunderstandings as well as video call apps that make conference calls much easier.
Establish a supportive company culture
Finally, for employees to feel truly supported and comfortable in the workplace, they need to see that the company has their best interests in mind. So, think along the lines of providing them with various benefits and rewards after a job well done as well as investing in their further education by sending them to seminars or paying for some classes. You should also do your best to accommodate their needs in case they have to work from home for a few days, leave early because of an appointment and generally encourage their work-life balance. Furthermore, you need to make your employees feel safe at work. Handle conflict in a timely matter and get to the bottom of the issue before you make any major decisions. While a certain dose of conflict can be healthy, you should consider team-building exercises that will make sure your employees get along.
From making sure your office is a pleasant place to be into showing your employees that you care about them, there are many ways how you can create a functional and healthy work environment.