While it’s not realistic for every business to go to the office design extremes you’ll find in Silicon Valley, there are certainly valuable lessons that can be learned from the workspaces of the tech giants.
Comfort, ergonomics, personality, flexibility (and to a certain extent fun) are all factors that were not too long ago considered to be “added bonuses” instead of being essential – but these days, that’s all changed.
With that in mind, here are 3 ways to design and run an employee-centric modern-day office without breaking the bank.
Let’s get started.
Let There Be Light
It should come as no surprise to you to learn that workers are generally more productive in well-lit environments. Not only does it boost morale, but it also eliminates (or at least reduces) health issues created by poor lighting conditions such as eye strain, headaches, and nausea.
According to a study conducted by the World Green Building Council, there’s no beating the feeling of natural light. Workers in an office with an abundance of it are on average 23% more productive compared to those who work in a more a dimly lit environment. However, don’t start calling up the real estate agents just yet – the study also found that a very healthy 18% increase in productivity can be obtained by simply providing adequate artificial lighting.
Pro Tip: Try to aim for a minimum of 500 lux for computer-based office environments, around 750 lux is better if you have elderly workers (or workers with eye conditions) on your team.
We’re willing to bet that everyone reading this has spent at least one workday perched on a chair that’d be more at home in a dungeon instead of an office. Needless to say, it’s an unproductive demoralizing experience, and if your employees are feeling the slightest bit of discomfort at their workstation – it’s very bad for business.
Sickness is one of the biggest productivity killers any team has to mitigate. If you look at almost any study done by any reputable organization on the causes of sick days – back pain will always be somewhere near the top of the list. Ergonomic, comfortable office chairs used to be quite expensive, and as such, they were often only purchased for upper management. However, these days ergonomic seating is much more affordable, and the whole team can benefit from the comfort they provide.
That being said, despite the price of ergonomic office furniture dropping dramatically in recent years, replacing all of your seating isn’t going to be a cheap investment. However, when you take into account the huge productivity increase that you’re going to get from a happier, healthier team (who take less sick days) it quickly becomes apparent that ergonomic seating is an extremely safe investment.
Upgrade Your Equipment
The frustration that’s felt when dealing with an old photocopier or a temperamental printer needs no introduction. It creates stress, kills morale, and the time that is wasted while the issue is resolved is obviously horrible for productivity. Commonly used, antiquated equipment like this should be at the very top of your upgrade shortlist.
While your team would relish the opportunity to throw your old copier in the trash, nothing will earn you more brownie points from them than a few upgrades to the break room.
If you’re currently fuelling your workforce with cheap filter coffee, then consider investing in a bean to cup coffee machine. These reasonably inexpensive wonders of modern technology work with whole beans which are automatically ground on demand with the push of a button. They produce a brew that will taste almost as good as your local coffee shop, and your team will love you for it.
The Last Word…
You’ve probably noticed an employee-centric trend in the tips above – and let’s be honest, it’s not rocket science. A happier and healthier team is more creative, more productive, and at the risk of sounding blunt…
They’re more profitable too.