The office; your home away from home or a place you’d do pretty much anything to avoid?
The answer to the above has likely got a lot to do with how welcoming, clean, pleasant and hygienic your office space is made to feel. And how you feel about your office space can also impact your happiness and thus your productivity.
There are plenty of studies suggesting that happy employees are more productive. An article in Forbes.com says that happiness can make employees up to 12% more productive. But what actually makes employees happy (and therefore more productive)?
An article in the NY Times which stated that “the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform” also looked at how much impact companies can have when they meet each of the four core needs of their employees. They proposed that “a truly human-centered organization puts its people first — even above customers — because it recognizes that they are the key to creating long-term value.”
And if creating workplaces that make employees feel valued isn't enough of a motivator to give the office a makeover, consider the fact that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that customers make up their minds about your business within moments of walking into your reception area. We might not be able to control what people think, but we can certainly put some thought and effort into ensuring that the first impression they get is a good one.
We gave you the first 5 tips on how to make your office more inviting in our blog post 5 quick ways to make your office look better, but in case you are short of time, here’s a quick recap:
1. Don't eat at your desk, and if you need a reminder as to why not, check out the video in our blog 5 ways to keep your laptop clean!
2. Keep your workplace free of clutter
3. Invest in floor mats to trap dirt and prevent slips trips and falls
4. Pay attention to surfaces, making sure they are clean, tidy and uncluttered
5. Keep your kitchen clean, as kitchen equipment such as the kettle and microwave are potential germ hotspots. Our blog How often do you need to clean the office fridge provides some handy tips.
In case those weren’t enough, here are another 5 ways to make your office more inviting, not only to create a great first impression for potential customers but also to ensure that employees experience the workplace as an inviting, enriching and productive home away from home.
6. Consider ambient scenting:
Ambient scenting refers to the use of a pleasant background fragrance to enhance moods, emotions or well-being, and has been proven to enhance visitors' perception of your brand. Smell is the most powerful of our 5 senses, and scenting has been proven to increase brand recognition and promote brand continuity.
Like music, air scents can be formulated to appeal to particular age groups, genders and other demographics, so you can ensure that you appeal to your target market. Customers are attracted to, and spend more time in subtly and properly scented environments.
And employees benefit too, as scent in the workplace influences mood, alertness and productivity. Strong, woodsy rosemary is know to lower stress levels; lemon energizes and relieves tension, anxiety and anger in the workplace; lavender has calming properties; cinnamon is mood-altering and an aid to productivity. Scenting is also known to improve focus and attention to detail.
7. Invest in interior plants:Not only will indoor plants make your office look more welcoming and appealing, there’s growing recognition of the more tangible benefits of having indoor plants in your workplace, including the positive effect plants can have on concentration and productivity.
Indoor air can be as polluted - and in some case even more polluted - than outdoor air, thanks to high levels of exhalation and office dust; both of which increase CO2 in the air. Plants absorb and break down all types of urban air pollutants as well as replenish the levels of oxygen (O2) in the air through photosynthesis. The result is two complementary ways of refreshing the air; by removing CO2 and boosting O2 levels.
By reducing CO2 levels in the building, concentration, creativity and performance levels are more likely to increase in workers, allowing them to be more productive in the office for longer periods of the day. For more information on interior plants, visit the Ambius website.
8. Invest in some rental wall art:
Bare walls aren’t very welcoming for visitors or employees, so consider rental Wall Art as a way to enhance your working environment. Not only does provide a welcoming environment for your customers, but it can also help to communicate your brand values, bring life to dead spaces, and define specific areas in the workplace.
Ambius also offers a range of acoustic wall art which is not only beautiful, but has the added benefit of reducing noise, making it the perfect solution for meeting rooms and noisy open plan areas. Find out more about acoustic artwork from Ambius.
For workers in an office or open plan work area, wall art can provide a well-needed distraction to prevent excessive concentration on a computer monitor. Health and safety initiatives recommend that people take regular breaks from staring at their screens, and a piece of artwork can offer another point of focus.9. Bathroom scenting:
Smells are usually one of the first things people notice when entering a shared bathroom facility and immediately connect it to an emotion. Initial’s research found that 92% of respondents have encountered an unpleasant smell in a shared bathroom, creating a feeling of overwhelming disgust for 76% of respondents.
It’s therefore unsurprising that unpleasant bathroom smells can become associated with uncleanliness (85%) and poor hygiene (82%) and that those emotions are not going to lead to a feeling of engagement and happiness amongst your employees!
The use of air fresheners and odour remediation product in the office bathroom reassures users that your bathroom is clean and cared for, and helps to create a positive view of your business for visitors.
10. Actively discourage presenteeism:
This may seem like a strange one to add to a list about making an office more inviting, but stop to think about it for a moment; colleagues who bring their germs to work can make the workplace decidedly unpleasant for everyone, passing on their illnesses to other colleagues.
As we discussed in one of our very first blog posts, absenteeism an cost your company a small fortune every year, and studies show that presenteeism costs companies up to four times more than absenteeism! When compared to absenteeism, presenteeism is less visible in the workplace and harder to quantify. But, if it really costs up to four times more than absenteeism, then it could be as much as R48 billion a year.
Presenteeism is a mindset, and it’s one that’s often fostered by senior management’s attitudes to sick leave and absenteeism. Consider very carefully how you are making your employees feel about coming to work when they are sick, and then consider how much more welcoming an office filled with healthy employees is for both visitors and employees alike.
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