Employers work hard to raise staff morale and offer enticing benefits, but creating a comfortable workplace could be just as important. Studies show employees who are pleased with their physical workplace are 31 percent more likely to feel satisfied in their job. Read on to discover eight simple ways you can create a more comfortable working environment.
Get the Temperature Right
The individual tastes of employees make it almost impossible to pick a temperature that pleases everybody. However, offices that are too hot or cold are amongst the most common workplace pet peeves.
If you need further incentive to adjust the thermostat, consider the results of a Cornell University study. It found that when the office temperature was increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, workers made 44 percent fewer typographical errors. Their productivity also jumped by 150 percent.
This preferred temperature is much higher than that recommended by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, though. It suggests a range of between 68 and 76 degrees is ideal. Given the large range of acceptable temperatures, bosses should ask their workers what they prefer before making an executive decision.
Choose the Right Furniture
With 63 percent of employees sitting at a desk for more than six hours a day, and almost half admitting that they never leave their workstation, it’s crucial that this space is comfortable. Despite this, just 36 percent of employers say they have a comfortable office chair. No wonder workers the world over complain of aching necks, backs, hips, and knees.
You can make your employees much more comfortable by choosing ergonomic office chairs and desks. Osteopaths recommend adjustable furniture which suits workers of all shapes and sizes. Employers should also educate workers on any new purchases to ensure they’re using them the right way.
Clear Out Clutter
A cluttered workplace doesn’t just project an air of unprofessionalism, it also stresses employees and reduces their productivity. 82 percent of workers say that being organized improves their performance at work, but almost a third admit that their workspace is disorganized. With 42 percent claiming they clean up clutter once a month or even less, employers must make organization easy to change bad habits.
Providing easy file management systems, in and out trays, and desk organizers can help your workers clear out their clutter and keep their workspaces comfortable.
Cut Down on Noise Pollution
Noise pollution isn’t just a problem on construction sites and factory floors. Chattering colleagues, desk drummers, relentless printers and copiers, and other office sounds can all contribute to an uncomfortable office environment. 70 percent of employees believe noise in the workplace affects their productivity, yet just 19 percent of business owners are aware of a problem.
Carpeting helps absorb the sounds around it, so it’s the perfect floor covering for business buildings. Office soundproofing and double glazing solutions can further reduce noise pollution in the workplace.
Embrace the BYOD Trend
BYOD is shorthand for Bring Your Own Device, a model which is slowing replacing the traditional company-purchased technology structure. This year, 82 percent of surveyed companies permitted some kind of BYOD arrangement. The trend has been found to boost employee satisfaction, as they can work on their preferred devices while reducing technology costs to companies. In a recent GovLoop survey, 71 percent of members agreed that “allowing people to work on the most comfortable device” is the greatest benefit of workplace BYOD policies.
Improve the Aesthetics
Just as we work on the appearance of our homes to make them feel more comfortable, we can work on the aesthetics of an office space.
One of the most economical ways to give an office a real revamp is with a fresh coat of paint. Make sure you consider color psychology when settling on the perfect shade. Blues and greens can create a calm space, but too much will slow down productivity. Balancing these tranquil hues with splashes of energetic red, orange, or yellow will maximize work flow.
Organizations with clean desk policies and standardization rules are fighting a losing battle when it comes to employee comfort. A Herman Miller survey found “an office that allows me to express my individuality” was first on most employees’ lists of comfort needs. The need to personalize is so strong that 70 to 90 percent of workers will do it even if their company disapproves, so you might as well embrace your workforce’s decorative tendencies!
Light it Right
The right lighting can also improve the look of any office. Fluorescent lights create lighting so harsh that they’ve been known to trigger migraines, so they’re best avoided. Instead, maximize employee comfort with natural sunlight, which can be reduced with blinds on sunny days. Employees that work in rooms filled with natural light are much happier and less likely to be affected by seasonal affective disorder. In fact, studies have found 80 percent of employees based near windows say they’re happy with their environment, compared to just 55 percent sitting further from windows.
Of course, not everyone can work near a window, especially in large offices, but additional light sources can improve the comfort levels of those situated further away. Sunlight simulating lamps mimic a natural light source. Traditional desk lamps can also help workers focus and feel more comfortable.
Use the Comforting Power of Plants
Decorating your offices with lush, green plants is an excellent way to make your workers more comfortable and productive.
Studies show employees in offices with plants have lower stress levels and reduced fatigue. They also report fewer dry throats, coughs, and headaches, which means fewer sick days. This may be because plants can lower dust levels in the workplace by up to 25 percent.
This isn’t the only way plants increase employee productivity, though. As they’re less stressed, workers surrounded by plants find that they are better able to concentrate on tasks at hand. Research from Washington State University suggests the presence of plants can make workers 12 percent more productive.
Consider the results of a Chinese study from April 2013 when choosing your workplace plants. It found that small green plants with gentle scents were the most preferred in office environments.
Comfortable workers aren’t just happy workers, they’re also productive ones, so it makes sense for employers to take steps to maximize comfort in the workplace.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Hugo Chisholm