Five Ways to Make Your Office a Happier, More Productive Place

According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, which surveyed more than 150,000 full- and part-time workers, only 30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work. A happy worker means a more productive worker, so it’s important that managers make serious efforts to make their workplace more enjoyable. So what is it that today’s workforce wants? And how can you give it to them in a way that’s cost-effective and best for your company? Elizabeth Dukes, co-author of Wide Open Workspace and co-founder of iOffice, has five suggestions.
Want to make your office a happier place to be? Free food never hurts. Photo by Erin Kelleher.

Hint: Free food never hurts. Photo by Erin Kelleher.

1. Focus on Making the Office a Welcoming Place

Your first step should be to focus on making your physical office a welcoming place. That includes aesthetics and amenities. First, never underestimate the power of bright colors and lighting on a worker’s psyche. After all, walking into an office that’s full of dull colors, has poor lighting, and is broken up by high cube walls doesn’t exactly make anyone think, “I can’t wait to spend all day here!” This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw a ton of money into high-end furniture or expensive real estate. But your space should have plenty of light, feel flexible, and inspire the worker to want to work there.

2. Be Sure the Space Meets Employees’ Needs

Do they often need to have large group meetings? Be sure you have a space to accommodate that. Do they often have one-on-one conversation? Be sure there are nooks and crannies where they can speak without disturbing other workers. Otherwise, a wide-open workspace fosters an inclusive environment in which workers can be their most productive and interactive.

The more workers are able to engage with your brand and culture, the more they will be able to identify with it. Today’s employees expect to work for an organization that they are passionate about.

3. Offer Eco-Friendly Amenities

Happy workers also have access to amenities such as outdoor seating, good food (either onsite or close by), high-end coffee bars, exercise facilities, and healthcare. And they want these amenities to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so don’t forget to implement a recycling program, plus use sustainable supplies and fixtures, and safe non-toxic products for cleaning or pest control.

4. Get Your Technology Up-To-Date

Employees should have access to the most recent computing technology, both on a desktop and their mobile device. The workspace should also offer the latest office equipment for managing output, using multi-function devices for the production or distribution of output. Collaborative space should have the ability to support presentations and have video and audio capability. And WiFi should be available wherever the worker goes, allowing them to access data and resources on the go.

Speaking of the worker on the go, keep in mind that today’s workers want to be mobile, and to be able to easily engage while doing so. This supports the need for technology-based work environments and online apps that grant access to critical information.

5. Don’t Overlook Social Media

In that same vein, don’t overlook the importance of social media. Employees want to engage with their work environment and co-workers through the same channels they communicate outside of work.  So it’s crucial that they have the ability to leverage social media to build brand awareness, enhance cultural nuance, collaborate, and provide information about availability of services and resources.

The more workers are able to engage with your brand and culture, the more they will be able to identify with it. Today’s employees expect to work for an organization that they are passionate about. This way, they’ll be interested in advancing not only the company goals, but also their individual goals. And building a strong brand that supports company and individual needs will create a team environment that’s lasting, productive, and enjoyable.

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