Creating a comfortable and friendly work environment is essential to productivity and employee happiness. These factors also play into your recruiting. Especially if you conduct a lot of on-site interviews, it's important to have an office space that your recruits can see themselves spending significant amounts of time in. Having an excellent workplace environment will not only delight your employees, but impress your prospects as well. Here are a few ways to make your workplace stand out among the crowd.
Keep Common Spaces Clean
Hallways with stacks of supplies, break room refrigerators with moldy lunches and dirty bathrooms are not pleasant for your employees. Take action to keep all of these common spaces clean. Hiring a daily janitorial service is the easiest way to ensure that common areas are free of dirt and debris. Create a cleaning schedule for the refrigerator, emptying it once per week so that it can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Make it easy for your staff to dispose of their recycling and trash by placing clearly labeled containers in convenient locations.
Set a Comfortable Temperature
An office temperature that is too hot or too cold decreases productivity. Instead of cranking up the air conditioning in the summertime could result in some employees donning a winter coat and gloves while at their desks. Heating up the office too much during the winter months of the year could result in staff members taking off their shoes and socks and bringing in box fans. Setting the thermostat between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit results in an optimal level of comfort and productivity. Keep in mind other factors that have an impact on temperature in employee work areas, such as large windows, office equipment and overhead vents.
Odors can be a considerable problem in the workplace. If somebody burned their microwave popcorn, the smell can travel throughout the building. Someone who brought in a tuna fish sandwich for lunch may send their neighbors running for fresh air. Just like you would hire a professional carpet cleaner to eliminate smells at home, you can also improve the environment of your workplace by doing the same. Discourage people from wearing cologne or perfume to work. These products can trigger allergies. Encourage people to eat in the break room so that food odors do not linger in work spaces. Allow people to bring in plants. Cacti, spider plants and philodendron naturally cleanse the air and thrive in office environments. Consider hiring a commercial carpet cleaning service to do regular deep cleaning of your office space.
Create an Outdoor Space
It can feel very claustrophobic being stuck inside all day. Giving your employees a space where they can sit, stand or walk around outside gives them an opportunity to get some fresh air and sunshine. Not every office space has the same opportunity to do this. If you’re lucky enough to have a large lawn or green space near your office, ensure that it is a peaceful area. Consider having an outdoor pest control or mosquito control service come out and treat the area, depending on the critters in your area. If you don’t have green space, try making a relaxing seating area with patio furniture. If you don’t have any area that can be dedicated to your employees, consider getting a few bicycles and helmets that your staff can cruise around on during their lunch or break time.
Organize Work Stations Ergonomically
In today's office environments, most employees spend the majority of their work days seated and using computers or other digital devices. Being seated all day may trigger pains such as carpal tunnel syndrome, backaches and neck pain. Consider organizing work stations to be ergonomic in nature. Replace outdated desks and chairs with furnishings that are made with an ergonomic focus. Employees should be able to adjust the angle of computer monitors. Invest in hands-free phone sets for conference calls. Provide employees with plenty of workspace for collaborative projects. At the same time, try to introduce natural light, add color through artwork and choose carpeting or flooring that is comfortable to walk and stand on.
In many workplaces, letting go of obsolete equipment, supplies and furnishings can be a challenge. Your organization may have a large collection of old computers, monitors, desks and chairs. Individual work areas may also be cluttered up with obsolete books, manuals, pieces of technology and supplies. Allow employees to remove some of this clutter so they have room to be comfortable and do their work. Consider having a corporate clean-up day and offer up the old furniture to a local furniture bank or non-profit organization. Responsibly recycle obsolete technology. Get rid of the toners, floppy disks and other supplies that no longer work with the equipment you use. If an employee prefers to stand or sit on an exercise ball while working, make this possible. Employees will be happier when they can customize their work areas and eliminate what they do not need or use.
Every company is different. If you’re really looking to make your space better, consider surveying your employees to see which improvements they would use and value the most.