by Brian McKay
A lot of businesses make the mistake of cobbling together a space that is just adequate. Some people think of it as a cost. Really, you should be thinking of it as an investment. You’re spending money, either way, so spend in the direction that improves the business. Create a workplace that works in tandem with the values and goals of the people in the business.
Let’s start with the most basic of needs. People need a space that allows them to get on with their work without worrying about their environment. They need ergonomics and lighting taken into account so they can work with less worry of eyestrain and repetitive strain injury. They need a space that’s tidy, both for their health and their ability to worry without distraction. Commercial cleaning and the right choice of furniture make the basis of a workplace worth working in.
Your team needs to be more than a collective of individuals fulfilling individual roles. They need to be a team with a shared goal and, deeper than that, a shared identity. Getting them to believe in the business is crucial. While it won’t be indoctrinating anyone instantly, focusing on your brand image, even in the décor, can help them get into that mindset.
The space you use can facilitate their work in a much more concrete way, too, by helping them deal with their workload. Nowadays, few jobs required only one kind of space. They may need privacy to speak with clients at times while needing an open area to strategize with their contemporaries another time. Creating a diversity of spaces in the workplace means it can be used in a diversity of ways. Allowing them control over their space is important, too. If someone feels comfortable in the space they’re using, they can get more done in it.
It’s not all work, either. Breaks are an important part of keeping work-life balance and reducing the chances of burning out. Having lunch at one’s desk isn’t the best way to maintain that balance. Create a real break room where people can relax and catch up without the spectre of work looming large and dominating their thoughts. The refresh will help them get back into their job once their break is done.
A lot of businesses care about their corporate social responsibility. Even more individuals care about it. People like working for a business whose values align with theirs. One value that’s easy to share is sustainability and eco-friendliness. It’s worth considering taking steps to make your office a greener place. It can not only strike a harmonious chord with like minded employees, but it can incentivise those who haven’t thought of it all that much. That helps you fulfil that corporate social responsibility even further.
Create a work environment that fits to the needs of the people and the business. In doing so, you facilitate a more productive, effective workforce. Take their needs into account first and foremost and you’ll have a workplace that people will genuinely look forward to coming to. You can’t ask for anymore engagement than that.
Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University and an M.B.A. from Boise State University (yes that blue field). His goal in life is to look out for the regular guy and bring as much knowledge and change to this world as he can. His purpose in founding Zenruption was to do just that and help craft the world he wants his daughter to inherit. Please feel free to email him any feedback or article ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter or Facebook.