It’s a fact of life that you can’t please all of the people, all of the time. And never is this more resonant than when you’re looking after an office full of employees. Some want peace and quiet to work in, while others need background noise and lively chatter. You might think that they need to just get on with it. But that sort of attitude could be incredibly harmful to your workforce’s productivity, as well as your success as a business. 

Why? Because happy employees are 12 percent more productive, according to this study by the University of Warwick, in the UK. And it goes without saying that the happier your employees are, the more likely they are to recommend your company to their friends and family - and the longer they’ll stay with you as an employee. In fact, this is such an important topic that we’ve written about it before, which you can read about here.

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So, how happy do you think your employees are with their workplace?  Here are six factors that could be letting your company down, and making your employees miserable. 

1. Bad air circulation

Ever wonder why all your employees get frequent headaches? Or why someone’s always coughing? Well, it could be down to the airflow in your office. Working in a stuffy, poorly ventilated room is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you get common complaints like headaches, sore throats and coughs, but you’ll end up with a tired, unreceptive workforce. Sometimes, this is an easy problem to solve. You might just have to keep doors and windows open, or invest in an air filter.  

However, if your air quality is really poor and you can’t get ventilation through windows, then it’s time to investigate further. Here’s an in-depth article on the quality of your air, and how you can improve ventilation - and as a result, improve your employees’ health and well-being.  

2. Poor lighting

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Just like with badly ventilated offices, buildings with bad lighting can cause just as many physical and mental issues. From eye strain and the resulting headaches, to even slips, trips and falls in extreme cases - bad lighting is a hazard waiting to happen.

It’s also incredibly demotivating. If your employees have to leave the glorious sun outside, and work in a building with artificial, flickering lights, they won’t be likely to do good work. And the sun can cause more issues than just grumpy workers. If your office is packed full of computers, the glare from outside light can make your employees very uncomfortable.

So, lighting needs to be considered in at least two ways: how well lit your office is inside, and how you cope with glare and light from computer monitors. You can find more guidance on the subject here.  

3. Dirty, unclean facilities

You might expect to hold your nose and close your eyes while using the bathroom at a music festival, but at work? You shouldn’t expect anything less than the quality you have at home. If your employees are having to use dirty, unclean facilities, it won’t enamor them to the company and workplace.

From the kitchen to the bathrooms, your employees should feel happy to use any office facilities, at any time. To get you on the right path, you could look at having a corporate cleaning service come in, and give your building an in-depth clean. That way, your employees will be more likely to stay on top of cleaning, and keep the facilities at a high standard of cleanliness. Likewise, you should also ensure you have a team of cleaners to come in, preferably at least once a week, to give the office a thorough clean.

This also goes for any areas like staircases and elevators. You should also keep an eye on the state of any outside areas too - if you’ve got nice grounds, keep them that way! A gardener is a good investment. Not only will your office look nice, it’ll give your employees somewhere to relax during breaks.

4. Broken appliances

If your employees are at work long enough to have lunch there, you need to provide them with fully working appliances. From simple things like a kettle that works, to a microwave, they should be able to eat and drink in comfort - and not have to limit their diet due to their employer’s laziness or lack of attention. 

Maintaining these appliances should be a huge drain on your costs or time. If you buy nice things for your employees to use, they’ll be more likely to take care of them and keep them clean. If you have scrappy, old appliances? Well, no one’s going to make an effort to keep them sparkling.  

5. Uncomfortable chairs and desks

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Almost half of all adults in the UK suffer with some sort of back pain, according to the NHS. And 80 percent of adults in the US will suffer from back pain at least once in their lives. While back pain has many different causes, one of the key factors is how long we spend sitting down.

So, you need to make sure that your desks and chairs aren’t causing your employees unnecessary pain. Start by investing in high quality, ergonomic furniture. Cheap chairs - even those that look smart - won’t do your workforce any good. If you’re willing to push the boat out, you could explore alternatives to chairs: like exercise balls, stalls and standing desks. You can have a browse of some awesome ideas here.  And you can find ways to help your desks more ergonomic here.  

6. Unnecessary noise

People like different volumes of noise when they’re working: some need silence, while others enjoy background noise. So, you’re never going to win by implementing a one size fits all policy. Instead, look at sectioning areas in your office off. Have a quiet zone, where employees can go if they need peace. Have meeting rooms for groups of people to get together and brainstorm ideas. And make sure everyone agrees on any background music - if that’s allowed!