Does an employee who likes his or work environment produce better work? In a word, yes. Studies have shown a direct correlation between worker welfare and worker productivity. And employees who like coming to their physical workspace “will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy” than their peers who don't like their office environments, according to author Jacob Morgan.
So it clearly behooves managers and business owners to make the place where their staff spend roughly nine to 10 hours a day, five days a week, a pleasant one. But those whose companies lack the funds for a move or a total space overhaul needn’t worry. We have a few tips that can help up your staff’s contentment quotient without breaking the bank.
Your favorite color may be chili-pepper red, but walls in that color aren’t going to help anyone work. Neither, though, will walls in stark white. In fact, people find environments of all-white walls ‘to be both clinical’ and intimidating, according to a 2012 study. Instead of either extreme, interior designers recommend light, soft neutrals, such as warm gray or shades of taupe. Such colors strain the eyes less than harsher hues and encourage calm.
Another way to add light: Move desks and workstations so that they’re facing a window or windows and have views of the outside. Employees with windows in their offices or workspaces sleep an average of 46 minutes more each night. But if your space lacks windows and adding them isn’t an option, hope is not lost. Ditch the fluorescents and switch to “daylight” bulbs, which mimic natural sunlight.
Sure, teamwork in an office is important, but everyone needs room to breathe sometimes. For optimal productivity, workers should not sit facing each other. And while everyone should be seated within talking distance of one colleague, no one should be able to see the workstations of more than four colleagues at any one time from where he or she sits. Bottom line: Don't crowd your people, but do seat them relatively close to one another so no one feels isolated.
It’s becoming common knowledge that brief, relatively frequent breaks from work can increase productivity. But less common is encouragement from management to take these breaks. Yet mental breaks have been shown to restore motivation and prevent decision-making ‘fatigue,’ while physical breaks (i.e., movement) help prevent heart disease, diabetes and depression.
As a manager or business owner, if you see an employee regularly working through lunch or rarely getting up from his or her desk to stretch during the day, make a point of politely requesting that he or she get up and leave the office every once in a while each day. This can be as simple as his or her taking a walk around the block, going to grab a coffee down the street or, for the more motivated, making use of the office gym for half an hour.
Think Metro Offices
When workspace changes aren’t an option – and your office building doesn’t have a gym – consider Metro Offices. We’re the leader in shared, temporary and virtual office space. Our three (ergonomically lit, subtly painted) D.C. office-space locations are all Metro-accessible, and they have everything to suit your employees’ moods and work purposes: modern, fully appointed kitchens, bar and café spaces with seating and table areas, comfortable ‘huddle rooms’ and elegant conference facilities perfect for hosting clients.
And for those important breaks, each of our D.C. spots has an onsite, state-of-the-art fitness center. Now there’s no excuse for even the most dedicated of workers not to leave their desks.
Interested in one (or more) of our spots? Browse our multiple locations in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia here.