Many modern offices boast a smart, stylish reception area and state-of-the-art meeting rooms—both of which give visiting clients and potential new recruits the perfect first impression.
While company owners see this as a necessary investment for attracting new business and fresh talent, it doesn’t always sit well with existing employees, mainly because the areas they use are rarely afforded the same consideration.
More often than not, the rooms in which staff carry out their day-to-day jobs—in other words, the ones that aren’t accessible to visitors—are basic, uninspiring, and pretty run-down.
Staff are commonly left to contend with poorly configured workstations, outdated equipment, and reams of trailing cables, all of which can harm morale, not to mention put people’s health and safety at risk. This may well be a factor in why U.K. workers are some of the least satisfied employees in the world.
What can be done?
Although an increasing number of companies are realising the benefits of mindfulness and well-being for their employees, they still fail to see how poor office aesthetics can contribute to falling morale and negative feelings.
Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to make a big improvement with a few small changes. Simple measures can boost staff morale significantly, as the following examples highlight:
1. Streamline and declutter
Visible clutter can distract people from the task in hand, and workers can even begin to feel overwhelmed if they are surrounded with piles of files and papers. Abigail Ireland, High Performance and Productivity Consultant, explains:
“They say a cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind. For me, that’s 100% true. Just having a mobile phone in your line of vision is said to create stress and distraction. The typical office environment can create a sensory overload.”
2. Invest in smart storage
There are obviously some office essentials that employees need to keep close to hand, so look at investing in stylish storage solutions, such as retro filing cabinets and color-coordinated box files.
Attach cable tidies beneath desks to keep trailing cables well out of the way, and ensure there are plenty of coat hooks, lockers, and cubbyholes to store coats and bags.
3. Freshen up
Even if there isn’t the budget for a big overhaul, a fresh lick of paint on the walls will instantly brighten up a room, as will deep-cleaning carpets and replacing shabby or dated furnishings. Continuing color schemes throughout the entire office will help lessen the “upstairs-downstairs” effect.
4. The right tools for the job
Poorly positioned monitors and fixed seating are common reasons for why employees develop neck and eye strain. Investing in adjustable monitor arms, sit/stand desks and ergonomic chairs can save you money in sick pay, the cost of hiring temporary staff, and even potential negligence claims.
5. Attention to detail
Small touches—such as integrating greenery into the office, creating breakout areas so staff can escape from their desks, encouraging mindfulness in the workplace, and even investing in a decent coffee machine—will help improve staff morale.
Applying the same consideration to your current staff as you would potential new recruits will go a long way toward ensuring a happy and motivated workforce. As Abigail Ireland concludes:
“Clients and customers are important, but you need to start with happy, engaged employees who will then deliver exceptional customer service. So, it makes sense to invest in your people first and foremost, and definitely not send the message that they are a lower priority.”
Jonathan Griffin is Marketing Coordinator at CMD. CMD is a British manufacturer that specializes in creating solutions to meet the challenges of integrating power and media access for offices, schools, events, and hospitality.