A happier workforce is a more productive one. However, not every small employer can afford to give their team a six-figure salary, full benefits package and unlimited vacation time. How can you provide the environment your staff needs to thrive?
One crucial, yet often overlooked, area of job satisfaction stems from the overall comfort of your office. If your employees labor daily in an uncomfortable, chaotic environment, it will eventually affect their mental and physical health — and their productivity.
However, implementing minor changes can make a substantial difference and keep your top performers from jumping ship.
1. Embrace Casual Friday (or Everyday)
What’s the standard attire in your workplace — and when did you last update your policy? Recently, even conservative Goldman-Sachs relaxed their dress code to allow for more flexible attire. Let’s face it — a full suit and tie or hose is stuffy and uncomfortable. Plus, dry cleaning costs a small fortune, a fact your staff no doubt resents.
You may need to specify rules for face-to-face meetings, particularly if you deal with international clientele who demand a stricter degree of formality and modesty. However, for typical workdays, let your staff wear tidy jeans and polos, even shorts of an appropriate length. You’ll experience fewer battles over the office thermostat if half the team isn’t sweltering inside of a suit jacket.
2. Maintain Your HVAC System
Speaking of office temperatures, few appreciate working in frigid or sweltering environments. It’s next-to-impossible to concentrate when your fingers turn blue at the keyboard or sweat keeps dripping in your eye. Perform routine inspections of your HVAC system to keep it in working order. Most of all, make sure that you regularly check when it’s time for an aircon gas top up to keep your employees happy and comfortable at work.
Test your air conditioner’s compressor by stepping outside and placing your hand near the fan while it operates. If you feel lukewarm or cool air instead of hot, this indicates that you need to call a service tech. Likewise, keep up with changing your air filters, especially during the winter months, when everyone seems to catch the latest bug.
3. Let in the Natural Light
Working in a windowless warehouse or cubicle will dampen anyone’s spirits, particularly when spring arrives and thoughts turn to the robin’s return. Maybe you can’t redesign your building’s exterior — but you can take down heavy blinds and curtains to let the sunlight stream through.
Don’t worry about folks gazing out the window and decreasing their productivity. Research shows that nature scenes improve both mood and function on the job.
4. Install Carpet Instead of Tile
The din of high heels on tile floors can sound maddeningly loud by the end of the day. If your building features high ceilings, the sound echoes even more.
Sure, you could issue everyone earplugs and aspirin — or you could install carpets. Even area rugs over high-traffic regions will cut the noise somewhat.
5. Create a Variety of Workspaces
It’s fabulous when a group of colleagues wants to collaborate — but they can disturb the concentration of someone trying to reconcile a balance sheet.
If you embraced the open office layout to encourage teamwork, create quiet workspaces where those engaged in tasks that require focus can get to the grind. Of course, you could invest in noise-canceling headphones for the entire crew, too — you decide which option suits your budget the best.
6. Allow for Telecommuting Options
Unless you run a restaurant or retail establishment, chances are, your staff can telecommute at least some of the time. Allowing them to do so doesn’t cost you a dime, but it can pay substantial dividends in productivity.
According to a recent Airtasker study, telecommuting workers put in an average of 1.4 more days per month than their cubicle-bound counterparts. This perk also helps cut down on infection during cold and flu season — those who can work from home are less apt to spread germs to everyone else.
7. Remember, They’re Humans First, Workers Second
Finally, remember, your staff consists of human beings, not robots. Fully 25% of workers enjoy no paid leave, and those who do often hesitate to take the time earned out of fear of repercussions. Do you have a top performer who could use a break? Pull them aside and send them home a few hours early on a Friday — with pay. It barely impacts your bottom line, but it can significantly improve morale.
Also, give your staff rewards that are meaningful to them. For example, a worker with a chronic illness might prefer you pay more toward their health insurance package versus a raise come their annual review. Parents might crave more home time with a new baby.
Keep Your Employees Happier and More Comfortable With These Tips
You don’t have to spend a bundle on raises and bonuses to keep your staff happy and comfortable. Make these small improvements to watch productivity soar.