The holiday season is here and first up is everyone’s favorite day to be thankful. With Thanksgiving around the corner, you’re probably reflecting on all those things for which you’re most grateful – not the least of which is likely your employees. But are your employees thankful for their workspace? If not, you can show your appreciation by making work an inspiring, comfortable place to, well, work.
Here are a few office attributes that will make every employee particularly thankful.
It’s no secret: when you sit at a desk all day long, your back – and your health – is going to wind up paying for it. In fact, researchers have found that sitting all day can actually reduce your life expectancy. If your employees are concerned about their health and fitness, a standing desk can be a great way to help them improve both. Want to really increase your employer cred? Throw a treadmill in front of that standing desk and let employees bring their laptops over when they need to move around. Keeping your employees’ health on the top of your priority list – and center stage in your office design – will help everyone feel – and work – better.
Lots of color
There are few things more depressing in life than the grey, white and fluorescent palette of the typical office space. Think about it: how can you be creative when you’re staring at a sea of monochromatic neutrals? If you want to boost your employees’ creativity – and give them something pretty to look at – throw some color in the space. Think strategically about which colors you choose. For example, red tends to promote energy and strength, while blue inspires communication. Yellow is an emotional color and can make employees feel more optimistic.
A comfortable climate
Have you ever tried to work while you’re sweating bullets? Ever begged your coworker for their space heater? The temperature around your office could be making it difficult for your employees to do their jobs. But that doesn’t mean you want the air to inspire people to fall asleep. Keep the air cool enough that everyone feels awake and energized, but not so cold that they’re wearing earmuffs in the conference room.
Everyone needs to focus and work as individuals now and then, but a lack collaboration could be the very thing that’s keeping your employees from inspiration, creativity and innovation. Encourage a sense of collaboration through your office design. Shun the dated (and let’s be honest – ugly) cubicle walls that encourage employees to keep to themselves and stick to their “own” work. At the very least, provide common areas for meetings and group working sessions.
Work is great, but it’s not all there is to life – even when you’re in the office. If your employees act like they’re escaping Alcatraz when the clock strikes 5, maybe you need to make the environment someplace people want to stick around – comfortably. Invest in quality, comfortable seating and install socially minded spaces (think living rooms) throughout the office. These will double as spaces where employees can gather to discuss work projects or hold meetings, so it’s not all about “chilling.”
While traditional cubicles are dead, it’s still a good idea to give each employee a space that he or she can take ownership of. No walls are required, but give your employees freedom to make the space their own – encourage family photos, favorite plants and accessories (lamps, rugs, etc.) that make the employee feel at “home.” After all, who doesn’t want to work from home (even if it’s in the office)?
Your turn: why are your employees thankful for your office?