Getting the working environment right

Securing your work environment at work

You spend more time at work than you do at home over the course of your life. That speaks volumes. So, there’s certainly more to consider than your top-level job description and the company name when applying for a new job. It’s about the environment you work in, the communication style that it fosters and the culture can all have a huge impact on employees’ lives, health and general outlook.

Being inspired comes from more than just a job itself, it’s the space that you’re in. You could have the best job in the world on paper, but in practice it may not meet your expectations. So, what are the key elements to consider when it comes to your environment?

Inspiration   

Most jobs, especially office-based ones, are varied and require an interplay of creative and strategic approaches. But these activities lend themselves to different physical spaces. Strategic thinking is usually achieved in the simplest, most minimal environments, whereas creativity is unleashed when you can tap into different factors in your surroundings to create great view.

Volume

This goes hand in hand with all of the factors mentioned above.  A blaring radio or an environment where people are constantly shouting on their phones isn’t conducive to the next big idea. Placing creatives away from people who are constantly on the phone is a great start, as well as having enclosed meeting areas for lengthy conversations (these can double up as group brainstorming spaces).

Light

The dark evenings of winter can be difficult for most to cope with, but is this really as damaging as the fluorescent offerings that light most office spaces? Arguably not. A study conducted by the American Society of Interior Designers showed that 68 percent of employees were dissatisfied with the lighting conditions in their offices[1]. That’s a huge majority. Some lights can be programmed in a variety of ways to accommodate the change in daylight, incorporating some changes throughout the day. These are a proven techniques for making the office feel less mechanical and more human. Try dotting lamps around too to make for a less sterile and a more welcoming environment.

Temperature

This is a tricky one to get right. 22 degrees is considered the optimum temperature for workplace productivity, according to the Helsinki University of Technology[2].  But going too cold or too warm can have an extremely negative effect, and it’s hard to get the balance right. A 2015 survey of 129 office workers in the US found that 42% of people thought their building was too warm, while 56% thought it’s was too cold.

Opinions is divided when it comes to the desirable climate.  Mark Zuckerberg swear’s by the mind-focusing effects of an arctic conference room (around the 15°C mark). In stark contrast, Barack Obama kept the Oval Office at greenhouse temperature. The jury is still out on what makes the perfect office climate.  Although it is considered good practice to acknowledge the requests of your employees and try to retain a happy middle ground.

 Engagement

Employees need to re-engage their brains to successfully complete tasks. This requires stepping away from the job in hand and becoming immersed in something entirely different. Whether it’s encouraging staff to take an afternoon or lunchtime walk, providing reading materials in a comfortable setting or allowing employees to work remotely for certain projects. A work space should consist of multiple floor plans, allowing employees to tap into different types of work in different zones. But, employees (dependent on their job) should not feel restricted to the four walls of the office. It’s a dated view that being in the office accounts for producing the best work, and it’s time for a serious shake-up. Trust your staff to know what works for them, and let them run with it.

Being mindful of the above areas can lead to better retention, greater employee satisfaction and healthier staff. Physical space should be treated like software, there’s a need to update and upgrade to keep at the top. We’re certainly taking tips.

[1] https://www.andrewjensen.net/how-office-lighting-affects-productivity/

[2] https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/05/the-optimal-office-temperature-for-workplace-productivity/

[3] https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/improve-employee-productivity-with-climate-control/

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