Scrap the swings, slides and segways - it’s more than bells and whistles (or sales gongs) that make a great office environment. But while the budget doesn’t have room for a sauna-styled meeting room or mechanical bull, it is pretty important to have an office people like working in. You want a team that cheerfully trots in on Monday, not one who treats their commute like walking the plank - after all, happy teams are productive teams.
So what should you do and what could you do?
Give your office…
Great coworkers: Your employees are likely to spend more of their weekday waking hours with their colleagues than with their partner, children or friends. Like it or lump it, your company is a family of sorts. And it’s one that can be choosy about who becomes, or stays, a part of it. Hiring positive people is a good start, as is acknowledging that a good hire on paper is not always a good fit for the office dynamic.
A comfortable space: If you’re making a team feel more like a family, it follows that you want them to feel at home in the office too. That comes down to comfort. Studies suggest that uncomfortable temperatures can lead to worse work performance and, while natural lighting has an important impact on mood, lots of offices are in severely short supply. Even the annoyingly drip drip drip of a broken water cooler or endlessly ringing phones can ruin your employees’ day, as noise pollution has been found to make it hard for them to focus.
Ambiance: So it’s warm enough, bright enough and quiet enough. What next? We’ve found a few workplace tweaks that could make everyone peppier and more productive. Research at Exeter University suggests that something as basic as a few houseplants can improve productivity by 15% - worth chucking a couple of succulents around, right?
More interestingly, perhaps, is work done by NASA to examine the effects of colour on mood, tested out in a study of colour choices in offices. While different colours affected employees differently (some ranting and raging in red rooms, others more productive), it’s definitely worth considering if the colour of your walls is driving your staff, well, up the wall.
Flexibility: Employees like to know they are trusted. Offering them some flexibility is a good way to show them that, whether it concerns when they work or where they work. Slowly making Dolly Parton’s ‘Nine to Five’ unrelatable, more and more offices are offering flexitime and condensed work weeks to their employees. And studies suggest that’s a sensible thing to do, finding that employees with flexible schedules are both more productive and less likely to pull a sickie. But even something as simple as allowing employees to grab a sofa or perch at the coffee bar, instead of being tied to their desk, could help boost performance.
Mood-lifting extras: While we’re not saying fill your offices with pinball machines and foot spas, it’s not a bad idea to give your employees a few perks that let them know you care. Whether it’s a weekly free lunch, a day off on their birthday or the occasional post-4pm beer, these little gestures say “thank you for working here”. Pact are here to help you do just that, with something as simple as a truly great cup of coffee - you can find out more here.
Out-there options from other offices
Playground rules: slides, slides, slides! Ticketmaster has one, loads of the Google offices have them… what more could your team ask for? Well, apart from swing-based boardrooms, which you’ll find at PFK Cooper Parry.
Hitting a home run: some of more health-conscious, hipster-esque offices go beyond playground equipment and free bars. Deliveroo and Money.co.uk reportedly have an on-site gym, while there’s dance classes at Ticketmaster and a running track at Google London. Phew!
Weird and wacky: taking the prize for the most… innovative of office perks, Money.co.uk boasts a secret library and Star Wars-themed cinema… and you can get your own guided tour of ‘The Castle’ here! We can’t really see a theme, but the same can’t be said for Zoopla - their office is modelled on a house. There’s everything from a wine cellar room to a ‘swimming pool’ meeting space!
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