While in college I liked to study in my dorm room. I liked to turn a Pandora station on to classical music, be in comfortable clothes, and have snacks. My roommate preferred studying in the library. She liked to be sitting at a table and not have distractions such as TV around her. Most of us can think of the environment we like the most for getting things done. And, we know that there are certain environments that make it really hard for us to focus. As a CEO, company president, or manager—how does that translate to the office? How can you make your company’s physical workspace the best one for your employees?
Some people might feel that it’s not worth investing time in the physical office space because most people end up working from home or telecommuting anyway. But, that actually isn’t the case. Jacob Morgan writes for Forbes, “Our traditional idea of an office is in fact disappearing, that is the row of cubicles lined in a building that looks and smells like a hospital but the office itself is far from dead!” Many companies are finding that creativity increases when employees work together in the same space instead of all working remotely, and some, such as Yahoo, are recalling remote employees back to the office.
Some small businesses and start ups may still choose to have employees working remotely in order to cut back on overhead costs, but if your company has a physical workspace, here are three things to consider in order to make it great.
Set the Right Temperature
How much work do you get done when you are shivering? How about when you are busy constantly wiping the sweat off of your forehead? Probably not much. Temperature impacts how we work. Zaria Gorvett writes, “Getting the temperature right can boost job satisfaction, productivity and collaboration.”
So, what is the “right temperature?” There isn’t one. Some studies have shown that warmer temperatures foster creativity, while colder ones increase productivity. Furthermore, men and women have different ideal temperatures. Due to slower metabolic rates and hormones, women tend to be colder than men. Add to that the fact that typical work attire for men consists of more layers than for women, and the office starts to feel downright chilly for many of the female employees.
If there is no “right” temperature for an office, what can you do as a boss? Take a look at your employee demographics and think about what you would like to foster: creativity or productivity in order to help you decide where to set the thermostat. Also, knowing how temperature preferences be individual try offering things to help each person be comfortable in the physical workspace. For example, you can have portable fans for people to put near their desks, or allow certain people to work near windows that let in the warm sun.
Come Up with a Good Floor Plan
When coming up with a design plan, many people would seem to agree that the traditional office design with cubicles is a thing of the past. When designing a floor plan for your office create open spaces, opportunities for movement, and chances for collaboration. Taking down walls can help with this. As Richard J. Cohen, President and CEO of Public Health Management Corp. points out, “…folks need to talk with each other, not about each other.”
Jacob Morgan advises that you “treat physical space like software.” In this he means, you make upgrades and changes based on what your employees need. Keep lines of communication open with your employees to help determine what the physical space should be like.
Consider a Flexible Dress Code
Workplace dress codes are changing, and whether or not that is positive is up for debate. We’ve all heard the saying, “dress for the job you want,” right? This idea that how you dress can impact your performance is not new, but now some people are saying that high productivity doesn’t necessarily mean suits and dresses. Certain companies have embraced dress codes that call for casual clothing in order to improve performance.
Business consultant Andrew Jensen reminds us to keep in mind the customer when thinking about a company dress code. How and when do your employees interact with customers, and will the relationship or reputation of the company be impacted by how employees are dressed? This might determine whether your company chooses to relax its dress code or not.
Having things such as the popular casual Friday can be a way to compromise.
The most important thing to realize is that the office space of a company matters. The temperature, the layout, the art on the walls, how people move in it, and what clothes employees wear in it all matter. The physical office is not going away, and it is in your best interest as an owner or CEO to make it a place where your employees are creative, productive, and happy. How that looks will differ from business to business. Collaborate with your employees in order to determine what the best workspace will look like for your company.
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