By Lina Martinez
A lot of offices are stuck in the past. Or, at the earliest, the late 20th century. What does an office need to be ahead of the curve, and keep up with demands of contemporary life? Is it just the printer and fax machine any more? In short, no. So what do you need to keep staff happy, and to give your workspace a 21st century makeover?
Cater For Specific Dietary Requirements
Now, there are people who are gluten free, dairy free, meat free. It can be easier just to say “forget it, leave them to sort themselves out”, but what kind of feeling does that create for those people? Vegans are just “hippies” and coeliacs are people who pay too much money for posh bread! That is one way of looking at it if you want to ostracize them. Another way is to provide foods that cater to their needs. Offer gluten free, vegan snacks in the vending machines. Or in the canteen, do meat free days. Not only will those staff members be grateful, you will benefit the environment in a small way.
Make Your Workers Comfortable
It’s official, sitting down is bad for you! Well, the jury is still out on that. But if your workers are stuck in the same old chair without back support, it can make for a very uncomfortable day at the office. The solution, to get whatever your colleagues need to make them as relaxed as possible. The more comfortable they are, the more productive they will be. Have a look at http://www.officechairsonly.com/ if you are on the hunt.
Create Work Free Spaces
Technically, each staff member has one, it’s called their home. But if you encounter a member of staff that is having an especially difficult day, they may need some time away from their phone or desk to have some time to themselves. Creating a space designed for people to not think about their job is proving incredibly popular in the big businesses. This is because it is said to increase the productivity of the workers.
Having an area that has video games, or a pool table, is one way to help workers take a break. Or to have a dedicated “chillout area”, decorated and with extras such as music, can help.
There would be an argument that having a space with computer games would discourage them from returning to their desk, but this is a very popular method.
Mental health issues are discussed more widely, and talk is encouraged to get issues out into the open. Having an open door policy with the managers is one way to actively get people to talk. Having debriefing sessions are very popular with teams where they can vent issues relating to work, but there are those who are having issues that they can’t speak about on such an open floor. Open door policies go a long way to make staff feel comfortable in their jobs. We all have issues sometimes, and if we can’t talk about it in a place where we spend one third of our lives, then it doesn’t feel like a good place. Bring your workplace into the now, and address these issues.
Lina Martinez has her B.S. in journalism and is a contributor to our politics, life and money pages. She once admitted over drinks to singing "Careless Whisper" in the shower. We are still trying to get her to sing it at karaoke.