Can the Office Environment Be Perfect for All Your Employees?

In any office, there's always something that staff love to complain about. It can be the temperature, uncomfortable seats, or not enough space. According to a recent study, about 80% of office workers claimed that the situation in their place of work prevented them from achieving their highest levels of productivity. This includes collaborating with their colleagues, and the sharing of their ideas.

It is highly unlikely that every boss can satisfy the needs and preferences of every single member of their staff. Everyone has different likes and dislikes in their place of work. But it is possible to create the kind of environment where everyone feels just a little more comfortable, and hence raise productivity. Here are a few ways to achieve just that in your office.

 

Temperature

 

Finding the perfect temperature is one of the biggest struggles in any office, and often employees will repeatedly adjust the thermostat to get the temperature that they personally feel comfortable with. What starts out as a slight annoyance can quickly become a problem as not everyone likes the same amount of warmth and it usually ends up being either too high or too low for the colleagues. This really matters because a lot of people find it difficult to concentrate in extreme temperatures. Also, the physical act of leaving the desk, turning the thermostat up or down, and then returning to the workstation does waste a lot of time, about 7 minutes every day, according to some reports.

 

So, what's to be done?

 

Finding the perfect temperature that will satisfy everyone is just not possible. However, with technological advancements, it is possible to have different works areas with different temperatures. In this way, those who enjoy the same heat levels can be situated in a part of the office where they have their own climate system.

 

There are also controls available that can be accessed via phone apps. These make it easier to change the temperature to suit staff preferences and provide a cost-effective way of ensuring that the right temperature settings are achieved. Comfortable temperatures can help boost the concentration of office workers.

 

Office Lighting

 

Another sensitive area is the lighting in the office. Just like temperature the lighting can affect the efficiency of employees and may also lead to more costs when the light levels are not exactly right. When the light is either too dim or bright, it can impact the eyesight of the employees, and cause general health issues such as headaches and even nausea.

 

Every employee will have their prefered lighting levels, which is why it's so difficult to satisfy everyone's needs. Expert advice is to avoid using fluorescent lighting and instead maximise the amount of natural light in the office. Natural lighting leads to more productivity and a generally happier team. If this is not possible, LED light provides a good, cost-friendly option that could satisfy the needs of most of the employees in the workplace.

 

Sometimes, staff members may require different lighting levels for various tasks around the office. A lot of offices these days are opting for individual lamps that allow anyone who requires brighter light, or for those who prefer dimmer lighting, to choose the correct lamp for their own needs and tasks. In some cases, management should consider providing personalised lighting for colleagues with special needs in dedicated office areas.

 

Layout

 

Nowadays, a lot of offices have an open plan layout. Open plan enhances collaboration among employees, encourages the sharing of ideas, and generally maximises the available office space. Yet opinions differ. One issue with the open plan layout is that it also provides an opportunity for distractions, hence reducing worker concentration which might, in the long run, impact productivity. Common disturbances include noise from people talking, typing or laughing, to movement of people around the office. Cubicle style layouts do not provide much relief from these situations, so it is usually left to management to find a solution that works for everyone.

 

A common trend that has emerged over the past few years is where offices are fitted with moveable walls. These mobile walls are sound absorbent, and the room partitioning creates better levels of privacy. They also reduce distractions while giving managers the option of changing office layout based on the different requirements of the workforce. Colleagues who like quieter environments get the privacy that they need, while those who need to consult their colleagues are located in the same area. The result; everyone is more comfortable, and work productivity goes up.

 

Recreation

 

Fatigue is one of the most significant issues in any office as sitting down in the same spot for over eight hours for five days (or more) can have a detrimental impact on health. Workers can become unmotivated, and even depressed, which in turn can affect the quality of their work. Some staff members may end up moody and frustrated, and they no longer enjoy working.

 

It is for this reason that any office needs a break room that allows the workers to get up from their seats, stretch their muscles and talk to their colleagues. It doesn't have to be excessive, just space where the workers can get some air and be able to relax. A change of environment, even for a couple of minutes, can significantly lighten the mood and promote better concentration and productivity.

 

Office staff should have the opportunity for a casual conversation with their colleagues and be able to interact with one another informally. This will put them in the frame of mind to change their view on work and life in general, and give them a positivity that they might have previously lacked. They are more likely be less stressed and less resentful of their work, which enables them to increase their work performance.

 

While it may not be possible to keep everyone in the office happy all of the time, these simple tips can go a long way in making everyone feel more at ease. As a result, employees are happier, and their productivity improves.

 

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