Key Steps to Improving Your Office Work Environment

Office Environment

Creating an excellent work environment for your employees helps to improve your business. Employees who feel they are treated well will enjoy their jobs and want to stick around longer. They will be more motivated to do their work and to do it well. If you don’t show that you care about your employees, you could find it difficult to retain staff. How comfortable they feel in the office is a big part of how happy they feel at work. If you want to look after your staff, you need to be proactive in creating a suitable work environment for them. Try these techniques to create somewhere people want to work.

Start with the Right Employees

The people you have to work with affect your experience of your job significantly. Bullying doesn’t end when you leave school, and some people are just plain difficult to work with. It’s important to keep these things in mind when you’re hiring new staff. They need to be able to fit into the workplace culture and get along with everyone. You don’t want to discover down the line that a new hire has been causing problems. Getting a feel for someone’s interpersonal skills is something you can do in interviews. You can also use their referees to discuss how well they work with others.

Deal Effectively with Employee Problems

Even when you’re careful about who you hire, issues can still arise. People can have disagreements or struggle to work with each other. It’s important to be able to deal with these issues quickly and effectively. Sometimes that might involve a meeting with the employees involved. A larger company will have an HR department or employee who can work on resolving these problems. In some cases, the best solution could be to get rid of a toxic employee. It can be a tough decision but is often the best choice.

Create a Clean and Comfortable Office

At a basic level, your staff needs to feel comfortable in the office. Cleanliness and safety should be at the top of your list. Regular cleaning will help to keep the environment habitable. It’s important to take temperature into account, which can be hard to get right. Men and women can have different preferences, due to both biology and dress codes. Some people want it to be cooler while other want it to be warmer. You can try to find the best temperature to maintain. But you can also offer options for those who might not be comfortable. For example, rethinking your dress code might be necessary. Or you could allow personal fans or heaters.

Somewhere to Relax

Your employees don’t work all the time, and sometimes they need to take a break. While some people choose to do that at their desks, many others don’t want to. A separate space where everyone can relax, eat lunch or have a snack, will be useful for everyone. Sometimes you just need to step away from your desk for two minutes to make a coffee and have a chat with a colleague. After, you feel much more refreshed and can get back to what you were doing before. Think about how you can make this space comfortable and not just a plain kitchenette with hard chairs.

Cater for Different Work Styles

Everyone can have different styles of working that help them be most productive. Some people like to brainstorm their thoughts by writing them down. Others like to doodle as they think or fiddle with something while on the phone. Many offices now provide desks for people who like to sit down and those who like to stand up. You can aim to allow for different working styles by providing a few things. For example, a whiteboard or a flipchart at the front of the office can give people somewhere to jot down ideas.

Look After Your Employees’ Health

Your employees want to know that you care about them. Looking after them also helps them to do better work and minimise the time off they need to take. You can help your employees to take care of their own help by providing services at work. This work benefit provides help to employees with their personal problems. The help to minimize the risk of their personal life impacting their work. You can pay attention to both their physical and mental health.

Make Comments and Complaints Easy

Sometimes, your employees will have issues that they need someone to deal with. It could be a problem with a colleague or something that’s not working for them. Making it easy for them to submit a complaint or talk to someone is essential. They might need to discuss an unsafe practice or make a complaint about someone’s behavior. They may also want to make a comment or suggestion that isn’t necessarily negative. You should provide safe and confidential options for doing these things. You could even consider an anonymous system for some purposes.

Have In-Office Social Events

Socializing outside of work helps your staff to bond, but not everyone is able to do that. Encouraging social time in the office is good too, especially for those who don’t have time to do it after work. You don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to being social. There could be a birthday gathering for half an hour or a pizza party on Fridays. Ask your staff to contribute ideas to make sure you’re doing what they want to do. There’s nothing worse than forced activities that no one is interested in.

Try Flexible Working

If you are able to allow your staff to work flexibly, they will thank you for it. It can help their work-life balance if they are able to do things like making a doctor’s appointment without fitting it around work. As long as they get their required work done on time, it won’t matter if they’re out of the office for an hour instead of at their desk.

You can do lots of things to improve the working environment for your employees. A workplace with a great reputation will attract the best talent.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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