On average, one-third of a person’s life is spent at work. Making it important for organizations and businesses to create workspaces that are not only inspiring but equally comfortable for the people who work in them. Today’s most successful organizations understand this link between having a productive workforce and a great working environment. Think about Google or any of today’s top tech-based companies. When an organization institutionalized the welfare of its employees, this translates to a happier, more productive workplace.
There are two things to consider when building an inspiring work environment, the physical space and improving the working conditions of the people who work in it. Physical improvements can include the creation of a more “open” workspace. Constructing gyms, lounge rooms, or places where employees could simply stretch out or release some stress.
Creating an inspiring work environment can also involve improving the relationship between management and employees. Implementing programs that promote better work-life balance and awarding employees for good performance.
Tips on How to Keep your Employees Engaged and Motivated
A happy workplace is a productive workplace. This may sound simple enough, but according to a study by Gallup, only 32 percent of U.S. employees were considered “engaged” in their jobs. This numbers show that only one-third of the workforce showed commitment or enthusiastic about the job they were doing.
More alarming is that almost half, or 50.8 percent were “not engaged,” employees who were just doing enough to get the job done and waiting for the clock to hit the 5 p.m. mark. Employees who were just putting in the minimum effort required to get to the next paycheck.
This leaves the 17.2 percent which were literally disengaged. These workers are the worse. Either they’re just physically at the office doing nothing or pretending to be working. Now that is a lot of idle workers or people simply not working on your payroll.
Tip#1 Create Better Working Relationships
Bring harmony into the workplace by helping employees create better working relationships. Teams perform better when they can work without dealing with personal issues. Organize team building activities to help them foster camaraderie inside and outside the work environment. Letting them spend some time together outside the confines of work builds stronger personal relationships.
Tip #2 Employee Recognition Program
To inspire your employees to perform better, celebrate their accomplishments by creating an employee recognition program. Reward your employees when they exceed expectations or simply because of their long service to the company. By institutionalizing this program, your employees will be motivated to improve their work. This is because they know that management is highly appreciative of their efforts. It is an important factor in helping build trust between employees and management.
Tip #3 Award Independence for High Performing Employees
One of the biggest challenges in the workplace is how to inspire employees. Creating a reward program is one thing but another way is to give them a degree of independence. This signifies trust, that management is confident in their employee’s capabilities. Tap into their creativeness and ability to finish tasks according to the best of their abilities.
Tip #4 Open Communication Channels
Good communication is one of the most vital lifeblood in the workplace. It facilitates the flow of ideas between employees. This is especially critical for teams or departments who need to function as one. Opening lines between the workforce and management also bridges the gap, giving both parties the opportunity to create closer relationships. Communication is a two-way street and promoting feedback allows everybody to become valuable contributors to the company.
Tip #5 Encourage Personal Growth
Each employee should have an inner drive to constantly improve themselves personally. Physical improvements to the workplace and making it more conducive to work is only part of the equation. Employees must also share the burden of improving the workplace through personal growth. When a person is motivated, they can be productive employees who are able to overcome boredom and inactivity in the workplace. This can be achieved through continuing education and training. Having a career path program also inspires them to improve personally.
Tip #6 Employee Rewards Program
The reward of performing well should not only be through awards of recognition. This should also be accompanied by a promotion or financial benefits to make it personally rewarding. By doing this, an employee can make a positive connection between the organization and their personal success. When an employee can appreciate the fruits of their hard work, this increases their motivation to perform even better.
Tip #7 Set Realistic Goals
Work-related stress can be caused by unmet expectations or deadlines. Managers tend to push their employees to achieve objectives that are unrealistic. Give employees a sense of achievement by giving them reasonable goals. This also makes it possible for them to exceed expectations and be rewarded for going the extra mile. Make goals measurable. This makes it easier to judge an employee’s performance based on objective data.
Tip #8 Training and Development
Training can be done in almost step of the work process; from training recruits, team building, management training, project management, to learning new work processes. Training and career development help increase the value of your workforce. It requires a small amount of investment in training, but it rewards the organization with a better skilled workforce. The benefits of constant training can also have a positive effect in your employees. Learning new skills and the ability to acquire knowledge helps get rid of boredom in the workplace. A few hours spent outside their daily routines can be a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Tip #9 Create Better Work-Life Balance
Life should never revolve around work, but an employee must also have the motivation to perform their best in the workplace. Provide a better work life balance by incorporating relaxation and fun activities in the workplace or encouraging them to spend more quality time with their friends and family.
Management can promote work-life balance by formalizing this through its policies and work procedures. A concrete example would be offering flexible work schedules, company sponsored family events, paid time off, paid vacations, and work-at-home opportunities.
Offering flexible work schedules and allowing employees to spend more time with friends and family gives them a break from the daily stress of work. It gives them time to recuperate and return with more enthusiasm.
Work-life balance enables employees to achieve a sense of fulfillment both in their work and personal life. By giving them the opportunity to spend quality time with their loved ones, employees can have a better appreciation for the organization they work for. When work-life balance is achieved, employees are happier. And happy employees are productive employees.
Creating a Better Work Environment
The next step in creating an inspiring workspace environment is to make physical changes in the workplace. This can include using more user-friendly equipment and ergonomic furniture. We see this in today’s top organizations and businesses, office spaces that are designed to provide comfort to the people working in it. Gone are the days of dark, cramped offices.
Provide Comfortable Office Furniture
Comfort starts with providing your employees with comfortable chairs for working. After all this is where they will spend most of their day working. comfortable office furniture helps relieve the stress of everyday work. It allows them to focus better on their work without worrying about backpains.
Giving your employees comfortable office furniture goes beyond their personal workspace. It should also include furniture and equipment that can be used for relaxing during breaks. Lounge chairs for relaxation or casual meetings should be in your list. There must be adequate chairs or lounges for every worker. This must also be spaced out adequately, giving employee ample room for stretching out.
Whenever possible, use natural light for brightening up workspace. This does not only help uplift your employee’s spirits but is also a great way of saving on electricity costs. Natural light, sunlight in particular has been proven to increase productivity and elevate mood. If you’re planning to add windows, research on how to best utilize natural light while preventing harmful ultraviolet light from coming in.
Window placement is also critical. Check if there are nearby trees that need trimming or placing a window in a certain location will be blocked by nearby structures. Windows should be located relatively to the sun’s position to allow maximum sunlight during the rest of the day. After ensuring that you have maximized the use of natural light, implement an open plan office to let sunlight reach into every corner of the workspace.
One of the problems of open workspaces is the level of noise generated throughout the workspace. Without walls to block noise from spreading, sound freely reverberates throughout the room. This can be very annoying especially for workers who prefer a quite work environment. High noise levels are also a leading source of work-related stress.
Use noise cancelling equipment such as headsets if possible. You could also implement workplace policies for phone use. Placing phones into silent mode could eliminate annoying ringtones. For discussions and meetings, creating special rooms for this purpose is advised. You could also designate special places for people who require a quiet workspace.
Create a Green Workspace with Indoor Plants
Some studies have shown that adding indoor plants resulted to improve productivity. This is mainly due to lower stress levels compared to working in an environment without plants. Indoor plans are also natural air filters that greatly improves air quality in the workspace. It helps eliminate airborne toxins that can cause health issues.
Place at least one plant per 100 square feet of office space. Plants are natural detoxifiers, but some plants are more efficient compared to others. Selecting which type of plant to use is important especially if you’re using a limited space. Plants ideal for office spaces include snake plant, cactus, spider plant, aloe, bamboo palm, and cactus. These plants are perfect since they require little maintenance and can live in low-light conditions.
Personalization of even the smallest working space by allowing family photos or personal items helps bring a small part of home into the office. These tokens can help ease the stress of work by reminding employees of why they work or bring them some happy memories. It also shows that management places great importance on the well-being of their employees. Personalized workspace breaks the monotony and boredom in the workplace.
Ergonomic Office Furniture
Ergonomic office furniture goes beyond comfort. It also promotes health by supporting the body’s weight and posture. Back injuries are common among employees who sit in office chairs for great periods of time. An ergonomic chair for example prevents back injuries by providing proper support to the back. Tables must also be at the perfect height. Important equipment such as printers and copiers must be within reach and easy to use.
Use Color to Bring Life into the Workspace
Color can have a psychological influence on a person’s mood. It sends an unconscious signal directly to the brain that triggers a psychological response. Certain colors can induce specific emotions and have a significant effect in the workplace. These can have a significant influence an employee’s productivity, health, focus, and creativity.
Maintaining a Clean and Organized Working Environment
Cleanliness and organization reflect utmost professionalism. A clean working space is a healthy workspace. Germs are a constant threat not only to your employee’s healthy but also to the health of your company. Lost work hours due to illness can cause project delays. Management can help minimize this threat by providing antiseptic wipes for keyboards or desks.
A well-organized workspace minimizes hazards and accidents in the workplace. Hallways and stairs in particular must be clutter-free. There should also be a designated storage room for unused equipment and supplies. Maintaining hallways and exits clear is critical especially during emergencies.
Ideal Workspace Temperature
When it comes to temperature, there is no exact science to determine which works best for everybody. Some employees want it hot, while others want the temperature turned down. It is finding a common ground where at least most of the employees feel comfortable with is the best compromise.
The key is to stay away from extreme temperature settings. While temperatures below ideal room settings can be managed by wearing sweaters, sweltering room temperatures should be handled with an efficient air conditioning system.