Few areas have undergone as rapid a transformation as office space has in recent years. Even before current events forced some changes to the way the typical office operates, employers have long been considering how to make the workspace a more comfortable and inviting place for their workers. After all, comfortable employees are more likely to be happy and studies have shown that happy workers are more productive. So, how can you make the office a more comfortable space for your employees?
Offices can be made more comfortable, productive, and safe by improving basic quality of life components such as providing enough light, a comfortable climate, and good air circulation. Further improvements can include updating furniture and other design elements.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to making a company’s office space more comfortable. What works and what doesn’t will largely be dependent on each company’s needs and existing facilities. Still, there are simple steps that any organization can consider when trying to make its office space more appealing to its workers.
Improve Air Circulation
Nothing can sap the morale of a workforce faster than stale, recycled air. Besides having to deal with unpleasant odors, poor air circulation can be a health risk as well, costing any business with lost productivity hours due to illness. Besides upgrading HVAC systems, consider providing personal air filters. Adding more greenery to the office. Plants like areca palms, spider plants, snake plants, and money plants can be another way to not only boost aesthetics, but also naturally filter the air.
Consider Changing the Thermostat
Trying to keep everyone happy with the office temperature certainly can seem like a Sisyphean task, but did you know that the majority of office buildings are heated and cooled to standards set over 40 years ago? Besides this being a time when the white-collar workforce still overwhelmingly wore three-piece suits, it completely disregards those that show up to work in dresses that bare legs or shoulders. Updating the regular temps so that parkas aren’t needed to protect from an office’s arctic AC in the summer is a good place to start.
For the best solution, ask your employees. Are you comfortable with where the thermostat is set? Are you too hot or too cold at different parts of the day? If you have a few people that are constantly cold, but they are still in the minority, getting them blankets or offering a company branded jacket can be a good solution that also makes them feel heard or valued.
Get New Office Furniture
One of the quickest ways to boost staff morale is to invest in new office furniture. Not only can updated furniture provide a new look for tired-looking office space, but employees will appreciate the consideration of their comfort as well. While the cost of replacing chairs and desks alone can quickly add up, quality office furniture should last years and can be thought of as an investment in your employees’ wellbeing.
Sitting down all day can cause restlessness and unproductivity. Consider adding standing desks to your office for employees that are bound to a desk. You should also make sure that your office chairs are designed for long days of sitting rather than for aesthetic value.
When we think of lighting in an office, we often tend to focus on the harsh fluorescent lighting that has so often plagued office life. While improving the quality of lighting to provide more natural and gentle hues can be helpful, it ignores another potential source of lighting issues: the office windows. Glare from the sun that filters through these windows cannot only be distracting to workers but can also heat an office and even cause migraines. One solution is to invest in window tinting.
Window tinting can not only reduce glare, but the right product can also help make heating and cooling more efficient. I you thought that window tinting differs little from area to area, guess again. As commercial window tinting in Charlotte, NC will be much different than a window tinting provider in Phoenix, AZ – both in terms of products and services. However, in general, a local provider will be the best way to go as they will often have the greatest knowledge of your area’s specific needs.
Add Welcoming Accents
Add something new to the office. Maybe a new piece of artwork in the lobby, a giant collage of every employee’s face in the breakroom, or even a pinball machine next to reception. Giving your office a new focal point to gather around will help build comfort and community. And, not only will the buzz far outweigh any costs, but the right additions can retain their value while being additive to the office environment.
Ditch the Open Office Floor Plan
Lastly, we have the open office floor plan. Reviled almost as soon as it gained popularity, the open office floor plan is now looking more like an impediment to a fully functioning office rather than a design feature. This is because studies have shown that the open floor plan is less efficient and leads to less collaboration between team members over the long run. Not only that, but the lack of physical barriers likely makes the spread of illness easier in the office setting. The cost of sticking with your open office floor plan is likely costing your company more than you’ve ever considered.
Allow Workers to Bring Their Own Decor
Bringing in a favorite painting, a plant, or some pictures can be the added touch that makes the office a more enjoyable space for your employees. Although you may want to default to having your maintenance manager hang anything (to avoid potential injury to employees or the building), let your employees bring in their own work-appropriate decor for their area.
When in Doubt, Survey Your Employees
There you have it, simple tips that any organization can use to help improve the comfort, safety, and productivity of their office environment. Of course, it can be tricky to know what initiatives should be prioritized, therefore we recommend surveying workers so you can obtain their thoughts and feelings on the matter. What you find they care about most just may surprise you.