Top 10 Ways to Design Office for Boosting Morale
The competence of your staff is often determined by their motivation to invest effort. This means that in order to allow your staff to unleash their full potential, you need to ensure that they’re well motivated. The problem with the concept of motivation lies in the fact that these often depend on subjective motives and one’s work ethic, however, there are some things that you just can’t affect this way. Namely, designing your office for boosting morale is one of the most effective methods to do so. Here are ten reasons why this is such a great choice.
1. Everyone needs their personal space
There are many reasons why the amount of personal space one has may affect their workplace performance. First of all, it reduces the number of tactile distractions, seeing as how people won’t need to squeeze past you in order to move across the room. Second, it reduces the amount of pressure that one feels when being watched. The idea that people are in your living space and that they can look at what you’re doing on your screen is quite uncomfortable. This isn’t the case only when one’s browsing social media when they’re supposed to be working, it’s just natural human instinct for privacy.
There are several ways in which you can resolve this issue. By far the simplest and most traditional mean of doing so is to organize your office with a cubicle system. This way, people have physical barriers that are defining their personal space. If not, you need to understand that each of your employees needs at least 5 to 10 square meters of personal space of their own. This is why you need to avoid cramming more desks and workstations into your workspace.
2. Reduce the noise
The next thing you need to do is find a way to reduce the amount of noise that your staff is exposed to. The way this works is fairly simple – you need to start by identifying all the noise sources in the place and do your best to mitigate them. When it comes to chattering, barriers that come from the cubicle system seem to be quite effective, however, you still might want to introduce some rules in the office and reprimand those who break it. You might also want to provide your staff with some noise-canceling peripherals (noise-canceling headphones and silent keyboards).
Next, you need to consider noises coming from the outside world, as well as those caused by things that you can’t abolish (foot traffic, etc.). When it comes to the first, making the room more acoustic and soundproofing it is a great solution to your problem. As for the latter, opting for some runner rugs may make the noise easier to bear. Other than this, it will also prove to be quite the addition when it comes to the visuals of the place.
3. Invest in leisure
The next thing you need to understand is the importance of investing in leisure. When buying equipment, you always need to focus on the value that you’re getting for your money. For instance, once you decide to buy a corporate printer, you need to figure out the power consumption, the output per hour and the quality of the print. The same thing goes when investing in devices that are meant for the leisure of your own staff.
For instance, a more frugal option would be to buy a regular coffee maker, however, by investing in a quality coffee machine and providing your staff with delicious Lavazza office coffee, you’re bound to gain some favors. Other than the fact that the overall quality of coffee in the office will improve (which is supposed to guarantee a morale boost on its own), you’ll also put yourself in a scenario where you see as a far more caring employer. After all, you could have gone for the more frugal device and the only reason why you took this course of action is to appease your own staff.
4. Give them a sense of ownership
The next thing that’s crucial for boosting one’s morale is finding a way to give your staff a sense of ownership when it comes to your office space. One way to do so via design is to bring up major design elements for a vote. Due to the fact that the majority of office spaces nowadays exist in a digital environment, as well, it would be fairly easy to achieve this via a poll. Still, you need to be the one passing the final verdict, which is why every option that you put up for a vote needs to be pre-approved.
Another thing you can do this is to give your employees an option to decorate their own workspace. What this means is the fact that they should feel free to tend to the decoration of their desk or cubicle as they like. When it comes to the cubicle decoration, there are so many exciting options here for you to choose from. Naturally, you still need to check the content of the decoration and there should be a line that they’re not supposed to cross (mostly when it comes to offensive content). Nonetheless, when it comes to all the rest, you can feel free to give them full reign.
5. Let some people work from home
There are some people who just aren’t meant for teamwork. This doesn’t mean that they’re not a valuable asset to your organization, nonetheless, they are best kept away from the rest of your team. They may be so gloomy and negative that they siphon the energy from your team (emotional vampires) but they may also be too charismatic, which makes them distract everyone from work. In a digital environment, you can just let these people work from home. This way, you don’t have to fire anyone and you still keep a full staff.
Another reason why this is so important is that it gives you a chance to get more space in your office without having to move. More space means more options when it comes to decoration and optimization of the place. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that one’s absence from work doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. They may have permission to work from home for one or two days of the week. In this scenario, they still need to have their spot in the office.
6. Color and wall decoration
The psychology of colors is a crucial thing when it comes to motivation and productivity. You see, different colors (and even different nuances) affect people in different ways, which is why you need to think about color and wall decoration. The thing is that there’s not one color that boosts your productivity. There are some that boost your alertness, others that improve your creativity, those that help you focus, etc.
The key thing lies in determining which of these features is the most relevant for your staff. Ideally, you would segregate your office into areas meant for different departments and decorate these areas accordingly. For instance, you could have one department for your sales team. Here, aggressive red or orange would help boost their performance. Your creatives should, on the other hand, be in the area painted in yellow or light green. This way, you can also decorate the area in question with some quotes that are meaningful for their line of duty.
7. Ergonomic furniture
One more thing that you need to consider is the importance of ergonomic furniture for your office. First of all, ergonomic furniture helps one maintain a proper posture and helps them avoid back pain. Focusing with back pain is nearly impossible, which is why your productivity suffers both directly and indirectly. Directly because of the distracting pain and indirectly because the morale blow that your employees suffer from while working in these conditions. In other words, even if the investment in this quality furniture costs you somewhat more when it comes to the initial investment, you still get a positive return.
Now, there are other ways in which office ergonomics help you achieve a boost in productivity. Namely, there’s a rapidly-growing trend of standing desks out there, which are known both to boost productivity and improve the health of your employees. For all those who are terrified with this foreign concept, you need to bear in mind that working behind a standing desk doesn’t mean that you have to stand for 6 or 8 hours straight. The way in which this model works it quite close to the concept of interval working. You employees stand while working for about 20 minutes and then rest for 10 on a sofa that’s right behind the standing desk area.
8. Make breaks mandatory
While this may sound a bit off, you need to understand that there are a lot of employees who skip breaks in order to go home early or catch up on a deadline that’s closing in. The problem with this idea lies in the fact that it causes more harm than it does good. First of all, your employees will get burned out, which will lead to a drop in morale and focus. Another problem of this method lies in the fact that you’ll get in a lot of trouble, due to the fact that your employees will be more likely to make mistakes. These errors can be incredibly expensive.
So, you can either go with the concept of interval working (which we’ve already mentioned in the previous section) or just make sure that all of your employees take mandatory breaks. For this to give the best effect, you might want to decorate a special breakroom. Keep in mind that breaching your budget while doing so isn’t a pleasant thought, especially due to the fact that the return that you get from this might be impossible to quantify. Speaking in dollars or percentages, when it comes to the boost that you’ll get is nearly impossible.
9. More light
When it comes to motivation, in general, it’s hard to find anything that has more impact on your staff than the amount of light that your home receives. What this means is that by receiving more light, your team will be better motivated for work. First of all, you cannot replace the natural light, regardless of the amount of lumen that your artificial lighting system creates. This means that you have to resolve the issue of the sunlight influx as soon as possible. Naturally, installing new windows might be too expensive but removing internal, non-supporting, walls is a neat and inexpensive trick. You can also install some skylights or place mirrors all over the room.
Regardless of how great of a natural light plan you come up with, you still need some artificial lighting. We’re talking about downlights, task lights and even standing lamps. Keep in mind that the energy-efficiency of this method matters quite a bit, which Is why you should definitely look for LED fixtures and bulbs. This way, you also get a more favorable watt-to-lumen ratio.
10. The position of supervisor’s desk
Previously, we’ve mentioned the pressure that comes from the sensation of being watched, however, how do you place the desk of a supervisor in a position in which they can see everyone without creating this effect. The best way to do so is to place it in the furthest corner from the entry door to the room, while still facing the entrance. This way, you get the best of both worlds.
As you can see, most of the time, a boost to motivation is also a boost to the pragmatism of your workplace. This is quite expected, however, seeing as how your employees are the ones who use this space the most and inefficiency often causes frustration. Either way, each of the above-listed tricks may work to your benefit and it’s up to you to determine which of them deserve your attention the most.