Workers spend roughly 1/3 of their days at the office. That’s a lot of time to be stuck in one place, especially if it’s not a pleasant place to be. There is good news, though. There are several things that can be done, either as a worker or the boss, to improve the office environment.
The Construction/Buying Stage
Whether you’re building a new office space from blueprints, or shopping existing places to rent for your business, you want to make sure you’re finding the right place for not only your company, but also for your people. A basement office with no windows, bad lighting, and a loud furnace in the corner may be the cheapest option, but it’s unlikely to be the best choice. Windows, natural light, and a more open space all help improve employee mood. Using a dark color paint like navy on the walls is a lot less inviting than a brighter (but subtle) color like baby blue. Early considerations like these can really help liven up an office from the start and keep it from feeling stuffy or dreary.
Organization and Decoration
People like an organized office. It may not seem like it when you look at Jim’s desk in accounting, but it's true. People like being able to find things they need, rather than search for an hour. Sometimes a simple re-focus on reorganization can lead to a lot less stress. It’s also important to ensure that the new reorganization is easily understood by the workers, otherwise everyone will be frustrated by their inability to locate things and the new organizational system will never be maintained.
When thinking about decorations, it’s important to not overdo it. Subtle, thoughtful decorations will always seem more professional than having a mishmash of unrelated décor all over the place. Keep in mind that decorations reflect the person or company that display them. Are your decorations matching what you’re wanting to project to the client/your employees? For example, plants (that are kept alive) are a great way to make an office seem more lively and more inviting.
Look at your own desk and consider the layout. Put the tape dispenser you use once a week in the desk drawer, and put the stapler you use fifty times a day on top where it’s within reach. Spending a bit extra on the industrial paper shredder that doesn’t overheat after ten pages is well worth it to the office administrator shredding thousands of papers. Ask your employees what little things would help them perform their daily tasks, and they will tell you. A boss that pays attention and fulfills needs will see employees that better appreciate their company.
As long as humans spend a massive amount of time in offices, we need to think about how we use that space. It’s vital to make sure it’s as pleasant and efficient as possible, both for the sake of our companies and our people. Nobody wants to end up working at an office like the one in the film Office Space (especially at the end).
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