Some businesses are a pleasure to work for, while others are a pain. The former tend to foster higher levels of productivity, lower levels of staff turnover, and improved morale. But what really separates the two? The answer often lies in the work environment.
For employers, therefore, anything that can be done to improve the environment is something that will yield substantial benefits in the long term. But exactly how can we shape a work environment for the better?
Why Environment Matters
The space we inhabit as we perform a given task will tend to impact the way that we approach it. Over time, we’ll form mental associations between certain kinds of activity and certain kinds of stimulus.
You might be in the mood to work only when you’re sitting in your office. On the other hand, you might be more likely to be distracted when the environment isn’t set up right.
Creating collaborative spaces
Certain kinds of workplace should be set up to foster collaboration, while others might be geared more toward deep focus. The former requires an open space, where workers can share information via the occasional informal chat.
The latter requires a closed space, where workers can focus on a particular problem for an hour or two.
If you’re trying to do deep work in an open, distracting environment, then you might fail to attain that elusive, all-important state of mental ‘flow’. On the other hand, if you’re trying to do collaborative work in a closed environment, then you might find it difficult to share information.
This is one of the downsides to working from home; even the best collaboration apps can’t take the place of face-to-face contact.
Healthy workers are more productive. This applies to both mental and physical health. If workers are stressed, then the quality of their work will suffer.
In many cases, stress can be low-level enough that it isn’t consciously noticed – but it can still inhibit the quality and quantity of the work you’re performing.
Proactive employers might look to tackle this by offering health and wellness benefits to healthy employees. These might include open spaces for breaks, and onsite gyms.
Even a changing room with electric showers might encourage employees to take up jogging at work. You might also educate your staff on the benefits of getting up from an office chair and stretching every once in a while!
One of the enduring legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic is the practice of flexible working. By encouraging workers to dictate their own hours, you’ll be able to find an arrangement that works around their personal lives.
This will not only help to limit stress: it will also help you to attract the best quality employees in the first place.
Perks and benefits
Your would-be recruits will be considering not only the salary you’re offering, but the perks and benefits that might come attached.
In many cases, this is an easy way to add value, and bring in the best talent. You might think about charging facilities for electric vehicles, or gift card rewards, or holiday time.