Employees are the backbone of an organisation, and providing them with an enriching employees’ working environment helps them increase their productivity, efficiency and fulfil their potential in the long run.
People spend around one-third of their lives at their jobs. It’s only natural that they would want a workspace that is comfortable and enriching for them.
According to a survey, 10,000 workers found that 85 percent of employees are unhappy with their office environment.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to make your employees at ease at work so that they can perform to the best of their potential.
A better work environment is often linked to the productivity and high morale of the employees of the company. There are obviously going to be highs and lows when a group of people works together, but a workplace that puts a lot of stress on workers, makes them feel isolated or demoralised is only going to negatively impact their efficiency.
There are many ways in the modern corporate setting that both enable and encourage employers to help and encourage their employees. Once you put these practices in motion, they work on their own like well-oiled machinery. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep revisiting them from time to time.
So, it’s not just the negativity, a work environment that has simply gone stale with a set routine and no innovation can be just as demoralising for your employees. As an employer, you should seek to keep your workplace lively and dynamic. Motivate and engage your employees to help them perform better at their jobs.
Offer flexible benefits
Rewarding your employees and thanking them for their efforts goes a long way in boosting their morale. It can range from occasional gifts to bigger gestures such as awarding an ‘employee of the month’ title. It encourages healthy competition between employees to achieve those rewards.
Offering flexible benefits to your employees is one way to consistently show your support to them. It doesn’t need to be something physical in the employees’ working environment, but it still lets them know they are truly valued and cared for by you.
There are a variety of perks you can offer such as life insurance, medical insurance, small loans, workshops, etc, that you can choose based on your budget and convenience.
Most companies offer flexible benefits to their employees. However, few benefits schemes are truly flexible. There usually are benefits that are non-negotiable. By offering a wider range the employee can choose from, you offer them the chance to pick perks based on their lifestyle.
A health-conscious employee may happily choose a gym membership as a benefit while someone else may not feel the need for it. They may be enthusiastic about travel concessions. By giving both in a non-negotiable plan, it makes for a rigid program that may not serve the employee the way you want it to.
The takeaway here is to give your team the choice to make their job more suitable to their lifestyle. Let them pick what works for them and see how positively it impacts their mindset, productivity, and morale. When they think positively about work, they want to do better for the people who do good for them.
Create a donation matching program
Donation matching is a practice where companies match donation made by their employees for various causes, doubling it and therefore, making much more of an impact to help the needy.
The donations typically are financial in nature and made to nonprofits. Big brands such as Apple (in the example below) and Johnson & Johnson have earned a reputation with their donation matching programs over the years.
Creating such programs doesn’t only help fulfill your corporate social responsibility, it also helps establish a positive company culture. People want to work with a reputable company that partakes in charity work.
What’s more, they themselves feel motivated to donate to help others, knowing that their company will back up their donations, even if it’s not much in their view.
Fine-tune the ambiance
More often than not, it’s the small changes that make a big difference. If you are looking to shake things up at your company, you don’t really need to do something dramatic to achieve that. Look around and see what you can change for the better.
Something as simple as changing the colour of the towels in the restroom can be an effective change.
Here are a few aspects that you can tweak to achieve a positive change in your office with minimal effort:
Consider the lighting in the employees’ working environment. Exposure to natural sunlight is often linked to good productivity. Lack of it is associated with a gloomy and stressed environment. If you can, allow for ways to let more sunlight in your working space.
Though it’s understandable if your office may be in an area where it is not possible. Most modern offices tend to be located in buildings that may not allow for much sunlight. In that case, you should look to get ‘daylight bulbs’ if you don’t have them already.
Daylight bulbs imitate the sun’s natural light, they are ideal for working, reading and can help in lightening up your mood.
When it is said that an employer should look to create a workplace like home, it really does mean a place where workers are as comfortable as they may be at their home.
Google is known for designing its workspaces with the fun and comfort of its employees in mind. Today, an increasing number of companies are following suit and are getting creative with their working space.
Many offices have a restroom in their premises: a place to simply rest and sometimes take a nap in. Many have pool tables, table tennis tables, and dartboards for employees to take a break from work. A simple reading corner or a colourful canteen can lighten up the moods of many workers.
Make the furniture comfortable. Place sofas and couches for people to simply lounge in. Put plants around the premises as they can be great mood boosters.
Some people need the hustle and bustle of an office workspace to feel active. Many prefer silence and an isolated workspace. Encourage your employee to find their comfortable space. Ask them what works for them and provide them with it.
The people who like to work in silence can be grouped together in a room and the ones who prefer activity around them can have a more open working area.
Your employees obviously talk to each other if they work together, but it may be restricted to only work talk. Promote healthy communication between your team that goes beyond work to create a lively employees’ working environment. This is a fine line to walk because encouraging friendly chatter between colleagues has the risk of distracting them.
Though if they are considerate employees, they will know not to take advantage of the freedom given by you and use the opportunity to get to know their peers better. Understanding fellow employees and building a real camaraderie with them will help them collaborate more efficiently.
This doesn’t apply to lateral communication only. Encourage managers to talk to their team and subordinates to seek out their superiors more often. Employees have noted that frequent conversations with their team managers positively affect their productivity.
Encourage physical activity
Research suggests that short bursts of exercise during the day have many benefits for the body. It keeps your brain active, boosts performance, and increases your blood flow as well. As most jobs tend to be sedentary in nature, you should encourage your team to keep moving during the day.
There are some excellent ways to encourage better employee health, covering everything from eating habits to mental health. Your focus should be on promoting all-around wellbeing rather than just one area. Physical activity promotes both physical and mental health.
As discussed above, introducing pool tables, table tennis tables, and dartboards will aid greatly in promoting physical activity in the workplace. It lightens the mood, gives workers a break, and keeps their physical activity levels up. It is bound to be appreciated by your team as well.
If you can, try to create a pet-friendly working space. Playing with a pet or walking one around is a great way to keep your employees moving. Not to mention the immense mood booster having pets in your premises will prove to be.
Having a healthy work-life balance is crucial to the productivity of an employee. There are a myriad of ways to have fun in an employees’ working environment. You can keep it as easy and simple as you want. It doesn’t even have to be a strain on your budget.
Start simple such as with the aforementioned idea about pets. Designate days to bring pets to work. If you’re worried that people who don’t have pets may not feel included, fret not. Encourage them to bond with people who do bring in their pets.
It may help break the ice between people who may not have conversed much before. Not to mention, the physical activity walking pets around would bring with it.
Something that doesn’t cost anything at all is giving time off to your employees. We’re not saying give them the whole day off. Simply allowing them to leave early or come in a bit late pushes them to keep working hard, knowing they have a chance to get these unexpected perks from time to time.
Spend a little
Order pizzas for everyone on National Pizza Day (February each year), or random days. Or watch a movie with your staff together. Or have ‘bring your partner to work’ and ‘bring your child to work’ days. These days give employees a great opportunity to know more about each other.
These ideas don’t cost much but offer opportunities to lighten the mood at work and help employees bond with one another organically.
Spend some more
If you can afford to spend some more, take your team out for lunches and outdoor get-togethers. Throw themed parties on occasions such as Halloween and Christmas.
Then there are perks like paid vacations, paid maternity and paternity leaves, bonuses, and gift vouchers. Such kind of allowances let your employees know how valued they are and how much their well-being matters to you.
At the end of the day, an effective employees’ working environment runs on the collaboration between you and your employees.
Both need to meet halfway to create the most productive environment where people flourish and help their peers do the same.
Always keep an eye for what your employees may need or want. Encourage them to speak their mind, and reward them for good performances and innovative ideas.
Employees that feel appreciated and engaged at work will reward you with their best efforts, loyalty, and much more.
About the Author
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Content Manager with a Fortune 1 retail giant. If you want to inform and engage your target audience with high-quality content, you can reach her at [email protected] for any content writing/copywriting requirements.