Happy employees make for productive and more successful companies – it’s a fact.
A contented workforce is more motivated, feels freer to suggest new ideas and, when push comes to shove, will go the extra mile. Happy workers are much more likely to stay put, keeping the costs of staff turnover and training down; they’re also way less likely to pull a sickie, which also costs UK businesses billions each year.
While there’s no magic formula for a happy office that will work everywhere, there are definite practical steps that management can take to inject some joy into the place.
Let the natural light in
Natural light looks better, is easier on the eye and helps to regulate workers’ body clocks, meaning they get a better quality of sleep and are less prone to fatigue and even depression. Open the blinds, get rid of any other coverings that obscure windows and enjoy the full spectrum of what the sun has to offer.
Make the place clean and comfortable
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s easy to walk past the same broken lamp every day, or the same ratty old carpet and just not see it anymore. While you don’t actively see it, part of your brain registers it and feels sad at such lacklustre surroundings.
Fix the lamp, get some new furniture, maybe invest in a decent coffee machine – show the workers that you care about their wellbeing and happiness.
Offer quiet spaces
Your office space in SW1 might be mainly open plan, but there’s got to be somewhere that you can designate as a quiet zone for workers who need to really concentrate for a while.
These zones will also work for anyone who needs to take a short nap during lunch hour or a really long haul; if any of your employees are pregnant, they’ll really appreciate this and you’ll see much more of them!
Let staff personalise their desks
This doesn’t just mean the obligatory Hello Kitty calendar, it can also mean bringing in an ergonomic keyboard or a specially adjustable desk or chair. People spend a lot of time at their workstations and if you want them to give their best, they need to feel comfortable.
Make it pay to keep fit
You could bring in an initiative that rewards workers for completing fitness goals or for walking the most while at work – give everyone a pedometer for this. This will encourage people to take the stairs rather than the lift, and to bring in fruit for snacks rather than biscuits. Once a month, offer a reward like a voucher or spa day.
Meetings are the bane of most workers’ lives – many people attend two or more a day, often with no real point. Excessive meetings drag people away from their projects and reduce productivity. If something can be achieved through email or a messenger app, choose that route.
Don’t overwork staff
A major cause of staff turnover is burnout and if you’re regularly asking people to work more than 50 hours a week, you need another body in there! It’ll cost more, obviously, but then so does losing key staff members because they’re exhausted.