How long do you spend in your office or place of work?
The standard 32 hours a week? Maybe 40? Or is it even longer than that? Regardless, the average worker (including the writer of this here blog) will spend on average 84,365 hours working in their lifetime – and that’s not even taking account any overtime or travelling.
Of course, going to work 5 days a week (or more for some) is a necessity – those bills, holidays and weekly groceries are not going to pay for themselves.
But the amount of time we all spend working is on the rise, mainly due to people working well into their later lives. As a result, we’re all spending more and more time in environments which may not be conducive to bringing out the best in people – which is a problem… Especially if you’re there on average for over 1,500 days of your life…
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT?
We will all have experienced the everyday annoyances of tired office furniture, antiquated systems or terrible coffee (a personal pet peeve), and we’ve all probably just shrugged them off with a sigh and thought ‘oh well’, but even little factors like these can result in much bigger problems if left unchecked.
If you’re at work right now, take a look around you. Do you think your office is bringing out the best of you and your workforce? Or do you always encounter difficulties that make the average day more of a slog than it should be?
Your workplace environment should help you to be at your best every day – meaning you’ll be more productive, more engaged and simply happier to be there. But when we talk about the workplace environment, just what do we mean exactly?
Well, your workplace environment will generally consist of three core factors:
Your IT systems, software and automation will obviously play a huge part in how you and your employees do your work every day; but you should also consider things like the temperature, lighting and even little extras like music streaming or those essential coffee making facilities.
The physical environment can have a drastic effect on both your staff’s engagement and wellbeing in the workplace. For example, your office furniture might serve a purpose, but if your chairs are threadbare, your décor drab and have a lack comfortable break-out spaces where your employees can socialise, the simple fact is you won’t enjoy being in your workplace.
Growing a positive company culture is essential to growing a successful business. But it’s more than just casual clothes and pool tables; it’s that support companies give to their employees to make their everyday lives – both inside and outside the workplace – that little bit better every day.
So, we know what influencing factors that affects an organisation’s working environment; but what can you do to help improve it?
1. HELP YOUR EMPLOYEES FEEL COMFORTABLE
Not every business is going to be able to splash the cash on top-end furniture, seating or décor – we’re not all Google after all – but there are little things you can do to help your employee’s environment be that little more welcoming.
Perhaps give them the freedom to customise their work area to help them work in a way which is productive for them.
For example, is it crucial that your employees work at their desks? If not, perhaps give them the choice to work where they feel comfortable and at their best – be it on some comfortable chairs away from the main office area, a break-out room where employees can share ideas, or even offering a standing desk to those who would prefer them.
2. LET THE LIGHT IN
Natural light plays an large but often-overlooked part in people’s moods, performance and attitude. In fact, our exposure to natural light is part of the body’s natural rhythm; so much so, that constant exposure to artificial illumination can have a damaging effect on our basic physiological functions, such as sleep, appetite and our mental health and wellbeing, too.
Whilst just about every workplace will rely on artificial electric lighting, there are some little things you can do to help. Incorporate as much natural light as you can through your workplace’s windows. If that’s not possible, blue-enriched lighting can help reduce fatigue and lift moods. Warm colour schemes can also be used to promote calmness and relaxation.
3. ENCOURAGE REGULAR COMMUNICATIONS AND COLLABORATION
The importance of regular communication with staff cannot be underestimated. Effective communications can help foster a feeling of trust and respect with your employees, and that trust and respect is essential for any organisation’s long-term success.
In addition, encouraging your employees to collaborate can help build better relationships in the workplace and support social wellbeing in the workplace, too.
4. EMPLOY PEOPLE WHO SHARE YOUR COMPANY’S GOALS, VISION AND VALUES
You know that old saying, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’? As cringeworthy as it may sound, it does have some element of truth to it; mainly, that when a group works as a team, they’ll be more likely achieve their goals by working together to achieve them.
An organisation can help support this mentality by employing people who fit their own vision and values and share the same goals.
Whilst a potential employee may have all the right qualifications, experience and hunger for success, if they don’t share in the same vision of their employer and colleagues, they may not be right for the business.
5. LIVE UP TO YOUR PROMISES
Yup, if you’re looking to bring people into your business and use your working environment as a selling point, just make sure you live up to your own hype!
If you offer employees the chance to work remotely, ensure your hardware and software is up to the task! If you believe the health and wellbeing is fundamental to success, ensure you follow this mentality through by making access to employee benefits (such as gym memberships, cycle to work schemes and employee assistance programs) as easy and transparent as possible.
And finally, have regular check-ins with your employees to gain their feedback and comments. After all, they’re the ones who’ll be able to lift the lid on your working environment and advise on what’s working well, and what isn’t…
a great working environment IS JUST A SMALL PART OF GROWING A POSITIVE COMPANY CULTURE
Yup, when you support the working environment of your employees, you can help improve their health and wellbeing, too - and the health and wellbeing of your employees is crucial to any organisation's success!
If you've not given much thought to an effective health and wellbeing strategy, get started by checking out our free guide via the link below!