While hiring a professional to design the work space is the most appropriate thing for small business owners to do, the ability to finance such services is not equal for all small companies. There are those small business owners who cannot afford to pay for great designs that enhance productivity. Nonetheless, there are tactics that small business owners can use to make their working environment comfortable for employees and increase the productivity. The strategies are discussed here:
Suitable office arrangement refers to the organization of office furniture and other tools in a way that makes it easy for you and the employees to go about your tasks without hurdles. Shared equipment such as the photocopier and printer should be placed in locations that make it easier for the frequent users to reach them. There is no point of having the photocopier just next to the manager’s office such that every staff who wants to make a copy has to go so close to the office to the extent of making private conversations between the manager and other employees or clients uncomfortable. Moreover, making trips to the photocopier may be time wasting and tiring for employees whose desks are situated far from the machine. Instead, the photocopier can be strategically placed next to the desks of employees who use it most of the time or positioned at a central location if all the people in the office use it frequently. So how do you identify the best layout for your office? Ask the employees for suggestions regarding what should be placed where because they are the ones working in the office and they know best what is convenient for them.
Startups and other small businesses are more likely to have a staff made up people of all generations. However, millennials make up the highest percentage of employees joining the workforce in current times. That means, it is important for you as a manager to create a working environment that meets the needs of all the generations but with a little bias on the Millennials. Millennials work well in open and collaborative atmosphere and turning your office into a co-working space enables the young generation employees to collaborate more and in the event become more productive.
From another perspective, co-working environments enhance connection and collaboration between employees both in the open on-site office and in virtual offices. Besides, the emotional benefits that co-working spaces provide employees are useful in making employees happy as well as motivated.
You can turn your current office into a co-working space by presenting employees with flexible work options. The choices should be on the aspect of work location as well as working hours. Secondly, you can move away from the traditional office cubicles and enclosed meeting rooms and make your office an openly shared work space with designated areas for meetings, and collaboration. Furthermore, you can make more use of technology to advance cooperation through video conferencing and live chats with employees working remotely.
There is a famous statement that says learning never stops and many small business owners who have grown will admit to having learned a thing or two from other companies whether those companies are competitors or not. Similarly, when employees of different companies meet in a co-working space like the ones we provide, they tend to exchange ideas and become more creative a fact that has a high potential for increasing productivity for your business. Other than viewing the sharing of meeting rooms, conference rooms, reception and kitchen facilities with other organizations as a means of reducing cost only, you should start thinking of it as a means through which employees exchange useful ideas. Such ideas can form the basis for innovation which can lead your business to a higher level.
The right light for offices is natural light, but based on locations and working hours, you cannot rely entirely on natural light and must therefore choose lighting that corresponds with the daylight. Lights that appear like the natural sunlight helps to set the right mood for work by energizing employees. Open floor plans are good in allowing daylight to flow into the working space through the windows. But if your office is not an open floor design, you can ensure that most desks are placed close to the windows so that employees are able to utilize the natural daylight. Other than that, you can use glass instead of wood or drywall to partition offices because glass walls allow for more flow of natural light.
It is also important to consider having bright artificial lighting in the event that your office needs them to support natural daylight. The artificial lighting should be positioned strategically to illuminate desks so that employees do not strain when working. Furthermore, you may consider task lighting by fixing artificial lights that provide strong lighting to specific areas so that employees can have a clear vision of what they are doing in those workstations. Proper lighting enables employees to see well, enhances their quality of life and generally contributes to high productivity.
Concentration is one of the important factors to getting something done right. There are several types of distractions that can hinder employees from giving their assignments full concentration. However, the most common one is noise disturbances, whether it originates within the office or from outside. As a manager, you should identify the level of silence or noisiness that suits the kind of work that your employees do. For instance, works that involve researching and writing require silence and immense concentration to give the mind opportunity to be creative. If employees carrying out writing and research tasks are exposed to the noisy sound of the television or sound that comes from outside, chances are high that the work will take more time to finish than if the employees were in an environment of tranquility.
Depending on the location and type of your business, you may need to reduce sound by installing sound proof panels in the office or reducing the volume of noise producing devices like the TV. Alternatively, you can choose to have only motivating sounds like certain types of music dominate the office space. What matters is to have less distractions and more motivators to enhance productivity.
Ergonomically designed chairs, desks and specific task areas are important in promoting the health of employees. Manufacturers of adjustable chairs know that it is important to have body balance when carrying out different activities so as to prevent back injuries and aches especially for employees who work on the computers throughout the day. Other tools like soft keyboards, foot rests, and hand fitting mouse are all designed to prevent strain for the hands, legs or fingers when performing tasks. Therefore, you should replace non-ergonomic tools in your office with ergonomic ones to make your employees more comfortable while working. Or you can move to a new office, which has flexible infrastructure and other ergonomically designed tools to work. Workers who feel healthy perform better than those who work while experiencing pain and discomfort.
Colors are believed to affect people’s moods, energy levels and how they connect with each other or their tasks. The cool colors evoke feelings of relaxation and peace, but they also have their limits. Blue, for instance, is such a cool color to the extent that it can trigger sleep feelings in employees if used in most parts of the office. It is therefore advisable to use blue sparingly and include other colors like green to bring the comfort of nature that promotes concentration and creativity. You can also add a little bit of yellow to highlight some areas and bring happiness. Other colors like gray, ivory, white and tan can be used with yellow or red to enhance energy and vitality. These suggestions of colors are not exhaustive and may not suit every office or the kind of business you do. You should, therefore, brainstorm on the most suitable colors for your type of office and the nature of activities that take place in that office.