Anyone who operates a small to medium-sized business understands that employees are the backbone of any company. “People make the place” is the adage and every company director should know that happy people are not only more productive but express increased motivation at work; this leads to a deeper commitment to their employer. More than this, the people who work for you are your company personified and the face of your business that the rest of the world interacts with, so it helps if they are happy individuals with a positive mental attitude.
A direct correlation has now been established between financially successful companies and a happy and dedicated workforce, but aside from monetary incentive and career progression how can this sunny staff outlook be achieved? The following are our six top tricks on how to keep the team happy and give their spirits a little oomph in the office.
1 - Clear communication
Most employees join a company with a desire to be an important part of a successful business. It is therefore essential that you communicate crystal-clear goals and expectations to your people. For them to really become motivated, they need to feel their work is essential to the greater ambitions of the company. Employees who don’t feel a connection between their area of work and the company’s success are far more likely to disengage and become unhappy.
Never discourage open communication. Let your employees tell you their thoughts and feelings regarding their work and listen closely to them. Give honest and respectful feedback and reward your employees by implementing suggestions when they’re a good fit. Individuals who feel their ideas and work are an essential part of the company’s growing success are always happier and more motivated.
2 - Office space
Long gone are the days where office cubicles were the norm and employees sat in isolation to carry out their tasks. How you design the layout of your office can have a radical impact on the happiness of your team and their efficiency.
Keep everything open plan with plenty of space. People respond well to freedom and generally speaking don’t work as effectively in cluttered, cramped spaces. Create informal multi-purpose areas, perfect for team meetings, planning or a quick catch-up to bring everyone up to speed. A helpful trick to maintain the feeling of open space is to use fold-away office chairs ideal for impromptu strategy meetings or occasional guests that drop by.
If you do need a little privacy or to soften the sound of a lively meeting, office screens are another flexible solution that allow you to customise your needs on an as-and-when basis.
3 - Personal space
Although the informality of shared and hot desks can be great for part-time staff and freelancers, your core employees might be happier with a little territory of their own. Allow your staff to express their identity through their workspace and create a home-from-home at their office desk. This personal connection strengthens their bond physically to the company they are working for and helps to put them at their ease. People who are comfortable emotionally where they work are usually happier and produce higher quality work.
Allowing employees to have a place in the company that is just theirs can also foster a feeling of security. Offering filing cabinets that lock can be helpful as it allows them to feel their work and belongings are safe. From vertical and lateral to multi-drawer filing cabinets, there is a wealth of options suitable to use in conjunction with different workspaces.
4 - Are you sitting comfortably?
High-quality office furniture especially suited to the work carried out by your employees cannot be underestimated in terms of impact on staff happiness. Neck and shoulder tension, cramped legs and lower back pain are all common office complaints that can lead to not only a lack of motivation, but absence and long-term sickness leave. Well-designed office chairs are paramount.
Seat with superior lumbar support, such as operator office chairs, are fully adjustable and great all-rounders but there are also more stylish options like kneeling and draughtsman chairs. Seats fitted with a swivel mechanism are especially suited to those who multi-task at their desks, allowing smooth ease of motion without strain to shoulder or spine.
Offering your employees spacious desks is advantageous when it comes to happiness too. Being cramped by equipment can be frustrating for employees, so choose a size that can easily fit monitor, keyboard, mouse and files and keep them happy in their workspace.
5 - Let in the light
Happy employees can be more imaginative and creative and ultimately more devoted to the business they’re working for. Statistics suggest that employees show an increased productivity of up to 16% when they are afforded a view - and more so when the vista is a natural landscape. If your office is fortunate enough to be fitted with windows, then situating your people facing them can be helpful for happiness.
As with the view, natural light is the best choice for an office space. Light has a strong relationship with feeling happy in humans as sunlight increases our serotonin levels promoting good feeling from within. For dull days and night work at the office, disregard that harsh neon and consider soft warm lamp light, which can prevent eye-strain and create a comfortable working atmosphere and a sense of wellbeing.
6 - Keep it Green
Plants are a more common occurrence in offices today but they can add far more value to your workplace than just an ornamental design feature. Plants possess natural attributes to uplift our moods. Proven to actually create a positive working environment, rubber plants and peace lilies are examples of greenery that are great for oxygenating the air in your workspace. Clean fresh air can have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and happiness levels.
It’s not just green plants that promote happiness at work but the colour itself which is commonly considered to be the most suitable colour for to promote productivity and a sense of wellbeing in the office.
Adapting just a few of these ideas to improve your workplace environment should see an uplifting effect on your team.