Every Monday morning, when the alarm signals the arrival of yet another work week, many employees roll out of bed with a sense of dread. Whether their dread is due to interpersonal issues with co-workers, the repetition of mundane tasks, or the amount of workload waiting to be done, this is not an ideal way to start the week.
As management of a small business, you want your employees to come to work each day with a sense of anticipation. In order to achieve this, you need to establish the right environment by creating a motivating and nurturing setting for everyone in the company. Here are some tips on how you can create a healthy workplace environment in your small business:
#1 Have ample workspace for every employee
An easy way to help each of your team members feel like a valued part of your small business is to ensure that they have their own workspace. A workspace should not be merely a space where an employee is assigned to work, but it should also be a space for productivity and creativity to thrive. The last thing you want as an employer is for your staff to feel like their cubicle or desk is some sort of a prison cell.
Give your staff members large enough workspaces to feel comfortable, and then let them do what helps them feel even more comfortable. Some team members may keep their workspace very organized, while others may seem to work best in the midst of chaos. Giving each employee a designated space to operate in whatever manner benefits them (within reason) is key in achieving productivity.
#2 Purchase comfortable furniture and brand appropriate decor
Every space in the office should reflect the brand identity of the small business, but the office design should still inspire and ignite team members to be more productive. This is why brands such as Google don't such unique designs. Small businesses can incorporate their brand colors on the walls and in the furniture and decor. Adding inspirational artwork or murals on the walls can also be of great help in inspiring your staff. Some go minimalist while others go full out. What’s important is that you use decor that reflects the culture of your business.
The quality of furniture that you give your team also goes a long way in contributing towards company morale. Work days can get fairly long, and no one can endure long work days if they feel uncomfortable. So spring for ergonomic chairs and desks to keep the staff happy. For ideas on ergonomic furniture that would appeal to the aesthetic of the design of your workplace, consult with industrial designers and furniture companies (e.g. IKEA).
#3 Install an environment-friendly lighting system
Research shows that a workspace that receives natural light for most of the day can increase alertness, assertiveness and productivity in the staff. There’s nothing like a good shot of vitamin D to bring some energy into a room. Small business owners can start by finding the right workspace that receives an ample amount of natural light, and then make sure that their staff members’ workspaces are situated around the light.
Using natural light allows small businesses to save financially, as they can save on energy and artificial lighting costs. But if you need to supplement natural light with artificial (which you most likely will), you can use eco-friendly LED bulbs. These last much longer and use less energy.
#4 Provide a pantry or common areas
When work piles up or there are stressful deadlines, team members could benefit from a breather. It’s similar to the way teachers make kids get up and stretch or take water breaks if they feel the students are getting tired or overwhelmed. It’s always great to take a walk and get some fresh air; however, some team members may just want to get away from their desk and eat a snack. Put a microwave oven, coffee maker and a fridge in a common space. This is especially convenient if the workspace do not have stores nearby. Moreover, you can utilize vending machines as well.
While some have food to relieve them, others just need some alone time to comfortably lounge for a bit or even take a quick nap. Though management often views napping in the workplace as a deterrent to productivity, nothing can beat the energy boost that your employees can get from a mere 15 minute cat nap. Provide a nice, quiet space for this to occur, just be firm about when use of the space is acceptable.
#5 Allow for flexible work schedules
Most companies have a fixed work schedule from 8am to 5pm. But with the various incidences that arise in life, this schedule doesn’t always work for everyone. What can we suggest is to consider discussing flexible work schedules within your small business. You can either establish this as a monthly scheduling procedure or you can take it case-by-case and give some leeway where you feel it is most necessary.
As long as management makes sure that every staff member fulfills the required number of hours per day, there should not be too much of an issue with allowing people to adjust their schedule, when necessary. For example, if an employee knows that have something going on in the afternoon, they could come in by 7am and finish by 3 or 4pm. That would still yield 7 to 8 hours of work. Stakeholders still get what they pay for and the staff members are not inconvenienced by their job.
Your team is the most important aspect of your small business, even more so than the products you sell. If you can keep them happy, you will naturally have better customer service and productivity in the workplace. Even with all the tips we have shared here, the best way to know what your team needs is to encourage them to communicate any issues, concerns, or ideas with you. By doing this you will increase company morale and develop a better workflow. Take some time to deal with the environment in your business today to help create a strong company culture.
~ Maria Kristine, Team Tuxedo Impressions LLC™