HRM Five: How to enhance office chi
Not everyone can afford to renovate or move offices. But with employees spending a vast majority of their waking hours there, making it more a pleasant and conducive environment will probably also boost employee morale and productivity.
Here are some simple changes you can drive within your organisation to improve the office vibe.
- Clear clutter.
Spring cleaning is a tradition across many cultures, with good reason – it doesn’t just improve your physical space, but your mental and emotional space, too.
So why not make it a point to organise a regular, company-wide junk-chucking session? Have everyone organise their documents according to retention policy, tossing out what isn’t needed, and archiving whatever is. Encourage your employees to throw out that to-do list from two years ago or to give away that extra coffee cup they never actually use. Maybe even make it a fun “spring cleaning” day ending with food & drinks, and get some team bonding in there while you’re at it.
- Add some colour.
Green has a calming effect, so if you can, maybe consider painting your office walls green. Wallpaper is great, too – you don’t have to get it up on every single wall, just enough to break up any boring, monotonous white or grey sludge.
Beyond colours, textures are great too: artificial turf is fun and relatively cheap, as are fake plants.
If you can get live flora into the picture, even better: green is the colour of nature, and that association can make for a restorative environment that makes people think and work better.
- Personalise the space to your company.
That doesn’t mean putting your logo up everywhere. Why not display achievements? That could mean a showcase for actual awards, or a huge pin-board to recognise the everyday wins that employees and teams are experiencing.
A photo collage of company events and retreats is another great way of recognising work and demonstrating that the company isn’t just a name, but the sum of its people.
- Open up the environment.
Offices are frequently closed environments full of artificial light. But why not consider drawing the shades up once in a while, to let some natural light in? Harsh lighting and glare can cause irritability and fatigue. Some companies have a "all shades up" policy to combat such ennui.
It’s also been shown that recycled office air isn’t good for our brains, so opening the windows every once in a while could boost worker health and productivity. If you can’t open your windows, an air purifier is also helpful.
- Explore ergonomic office furniture/accessories.
Some people like to sleep on their side, some on their backs – some on the floor, some on the couch. Likewise, not everyone works best sitting at a desk all day.
Of course, not everyone can invest in ergonomic chairs for every single employee (though you totally should if you can afford it). But if you have a bit of free space in the office, maybe you can consider setting up stations with standing desks, treadmill desks, or less conventional ergonomic furniture.
If your budget is really tight, you always hand out some stress relief balls or other stress relief gadgets during the next corporate retreat or office Christmas Party.
Yamini Chinnuswamy offers five important points on everything you wanted to know about HR practices today, but were too afraid to ask. Check out previous editions of HRM Five here.