A high staff turnover rate can be detrimental to any business, leading to low levels of morale and great financial strain. A recent study by Oxford Economics found that a departing staff member costs £30,614 on average to replace, with each new employee taking up to eight months to reach optimum productivity levels. Therefore, retaining staff and getting the basics right is extremely important – and this starts in the office.
There are several simple yet effective tweaks you can make in the workplace to increase productivity levels and create a positive working environment. From open dining spaces and adding plants to keeping the office cool – we offer our top tips for creating a happy and productive office environment.
Encouraging staff to personalise their desk is an easy way to help them feel welcomed and more at home, which in turn, boosts morale. Personal items such as family photos, favourite mugs, desk toys, electric fans, and stress balls are all great examples of things that can be placed around desks and cubicles. However, for the sake of limiting distractions and freeing up space, certain items such as mini fridges or extra cabinets should be restricted – you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
Add Some Greenery
Adding plants not only injects some colour and life into an office, but has proven psychological and physical benefits. Scientific studies have found that introducing plants into a work environment can reduce stress, increase productivity, purify the air, reduce sickness, and boost creativity levels. Make sure to choose plants that are low maintenance and thrive well indoors, such as Peace Lily, Cactus, Aloe, Ivy, and Spider plants.
Keep an Eye on the Thermostat
In order for people to achieve ‘thermal comfort’, it’s recommended that the temperature in an office should be between 21-23°C (69-73°F). ‘Thermal comfort’ is a level of temperature a person feels when wearing a normal amount of clothes without feeling too hot or too cold. It’s important that staff are able to work in an environment where they feel content with the temperature, as this can affect their well-being and productivity levels. An office that is too hot can make people feel tired and irritable, whereas a cold setting can make them restless and distracted – not to mention it’s a health and safety hazard.
Create an Open Space Dining Area
Whilst a lot of office workers will eat at their desks over lunchtime, it’s important that they are encouraged to step away from their workstation and head somewhere else for a proper break. Whether it’s a canteen, a set of tables and chairs in the kitchen, or a designated area for employees to eat, chat, and relax – it’s important that staff have somewhere to dine that’s comfortable and spacious. To avoid cramped conditions and limited seating, an open space dining area works best.
Let There Be Light
Natural light is fundamental for humans to function efficiently, therefore its presence in an office is vital. Research has shown that working without it can affect employee’s health, productivity, and overall wellbeing. In fact, Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois found that office workers with more light exposure had a longer sleep duration, more physical activity, better sleep quality, and an overall better quality of life, than those who had less natural light in the office.
What are your tips on creating a happy and productive office environment? Let us know on Twitter @viking_chat.