With small businesses, the happiness and effectiveness of a workforce can be a deciding factor into how well a business does. If your employees aren’t happy to be there, then are they going to work their hardest to push the business and its growth? They are likely to only do the bare minimum if they aren’t happy with working for you or the business. A strong and supportive team is going to help hit targets and meet any key performance indicators. It can make it a struggle if the team aren’t on-board.
It is clear that the environment that your teamwork in is going to play a big part in how efficient and happy they are in their work life. Take offices layouts only ten years or so ago. The office cubicle style is a thing of the past, as sitting singularly and cut off from everyone else is going to have a negative impact. Office spaces are becoming much more open and spacious, including room to play (akin to the Google Offices, for example). ‘Hot Desking’ is quite a current trend too, so people can sit anywhere. More and more employers are getting onto the fact that if the office is well equipped and bright, it can make the team work harder and enjoy coming to work just that little bit more.
So if you are setting up a small business or are running a small business at the moment, then here are some steps that you could take to improve the work environment for your colleagues. It can be worth the time and effort when they are working harder and making more of an effort themselves.
Create a Good Environment
It has been touched on slightly here, but the space people are working in does have an impact. Is the space open, clean, and bright? Are there some mod-cons to make it a better place to be (like vending machines, coffee machines, or a kitchenette area to cook food)? Plants in the office can have an impact too. You might find it surprising to find that studies have shown that offices with plants in, mean the employees have an increase in productivity and concentrate better. So a few touches here and there to spruce up the space can make a big difference. The science is there, so it is a good time to take action.
Create a Sense of Camaraderie
When you feel like you’re part of a team, then it is going to naturally make you feel responsible and accountable to the other team members. So as well as the physical environment that they work in, think about the kind of atmosphere that is in the office. Are you a friendly team that celebrates things like birthdays? Do you have team days or evenings out? Do you even have something as simple as lanyards or custom things for your desk? You could find more info here on this type of thing if you wanted to get some, but it can be a pretty easy win for the office.
Being able to offer some flexibility can be a big thing to your employees and make a massive difference to their work and life balance. So if they need to finish early one day to go to their son’s show, then why not allow it? They could always log on to finish work later in the day if needed, for example. It can also be a good idea to offer some flexibility in the office space too. Everyone will have different tastes, or want to set up their own desk space, rather than hot desking. Do what works best for your employees and include them in the decision making process. Be flexible, and they will be more productive for you for the times that they are at work.
As a leader of a team, it is so important to stress just how important taking breaks are at work. No one is going to get a medal for never taking lunch or having a sandwich at their desk whilst they finish emails. It doesn’t need to be a full lunch hour, especially if it means that could have finished earlier that day. But there should be some time away from the desk. It can mean they concentrate better when they come back to work, as well as having the right fuel to keep them going for the rest of the afternoon.
If employees are happy, then they will be more productive. So think about what else could make them happy? Are there some benefits that could help them to be happier, and in turn more productive? Could you get a deal with a local gym for a discounted membership, for example? How about getting their birthday off as an extra day off? Are there any insurance deals that you could offer or get help with to offer? These kinds of thing can keep you current staff happy, mean more people would want to work for you, and create a greater feeling of ‘team’ in the workforce.
Having structure in an office can be a really good thing, especially for productivity. You could organize staff according to their job titles or the department in which they work. This can help people to know what happens where and who they should be reporting to or asking questions to. Likewise, it can be organized in different ways. How about organizing them when it relates to their goals or working pattern? This can be another good way to create a sense of teamwork, as well as improve the productivity of the team.
Where you work is just as important as who you are working with. So don’t forget to make this a part of your business plan; it can really make a difference. By following the steps above (though the list is not exhaustive), you are giving your business one of the best chances to thrive and grow. It will only do so if the team behind it are on-board.