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Better Office Setups for Better Office Health

Better Office Setups for Better Office Health

Is your office space making the people in your organization unhealthy? There are many things in an office that can hurt office health: the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), the lighting, even the layout.

Office space psychology can dictate the stress level of employees and thus their productivity. Healthy workers are happy workers, and workers today are no longer tolerating unhealthy situations.

How do you improve the health of your employees by changing your office spaces? There are many ways, and they can sometimes depend on the industry.

De-Clutter

Start your layout changes by getting rid of things your office doesn’t really need. Go paperless by trying electronic document management or document imagine options. Reducing your office’s paper production not only eliminates equipment and furniture, it is a great way to make your office green.

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Remove extra furniture by doing surveys of what has actually been used in the last six months to a year. This was a common practice in an office in which I worked. Once every six months, a usage inventory was taken, and if a piece of furniture hadn’t been properly used since the last inventory, it was turned over to Finance for surplusing.

One thing that should not be removed in the de-cluttering process is the personal property of an employee, unless it is of a highly unprofessional manner. The same office that inventoried furniture required that employees with front-facing counters and spaces remove any and all personal items. We couldn’t even have pictures of family members, including children. This type of restriction only contributes to stress among employees.

Assess The Workflow

The type of layout you choose will depend on your workflow as much as the architecture of your office itself. If your employees deal with sensitive information, segmented work spaces may indeed be the right layout for your organization.

However, there are ways of creating individual workspaces for workers that are less cubicle-like while maintaining privacy. Put your employees on laptops and build short walls between workspaces to maintain privacy rather than giant, opaque cubicles

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    If your employees have to be on the phone all the time, don’t overlook the fact that they also need to be able to get up and walk around frequently. Sitting at our desks all day isn’t healthy, mentally or physically. Don’t just consider the desk layouts for phone-connected employees. Choosing the right phone equipment and headsets can have a great impact on employee health.

    Employees who don’t feel tethered to their desks will feel more appreciated by their employers, contributing to a decrease in stress and an increase in productivity.

    Does your organization work in teams? Lay out your office furniture in creative manners that allow teams to both work closely and collaborate efficiently.

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      You can lay desks out in lines, in squares, even in circles. Offices in the 50s were typically arranged like classrooms, with employees’ desks laid out to face management. Using a more equalizing office layout is likely to elicit more creativity and collaboration.

      If your organization happens to be in a space with an interesting architectural structure or a spectacular view, take advantage of it. Don’t put executive offices or conference rooms in the corners where all the windows are.

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      people-office-team-collaboration

        Create collaborative spaces for teamwork and reserve bullpens of desks, including those of the execs, for the middle of the spaces. As an alternative, line up desks facing walls of window so that employees can take advantage of sunlight and fresh air.

        Get Creative

        Open office spaces are no longer just a fad. They are better for company culture because they not only foster teamwork, they contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. They allow employees to socialize while still giving them space to complete their work.

        The myriad options can be inspiring, no matter the industry. Take stock of the needs of your employees and your organization, then get creative with your layout. Of course, make sure that your creativity is tempered with a little practicality. Just as open layouts can be great for overall employee wellness, if they’re not done properly, they can be scary places for some.

        You won’t get it right the first time, but with planning and creativity, you won’t get it wrong either.

        Photos via VisualHunt.com.

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        H. E. James

        Writer and researcher

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        Published on September 18, 2018

        17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

        17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

        Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

        Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

        Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

        After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

        Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

        1. Show your appreciation

        In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

        The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

        Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

        2. Communicate effectively

        Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

        Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

        3. Be open to dialogue

        Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

        New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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        In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

        For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

        4. Provide constructive criticism

        Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

        So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

        Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

        Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

        Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

        5. Conduct one-on-ones

        Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

        While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

        Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

        More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

        6. Build training programs

        In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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        From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

        While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

        7. Offer growth opportunities

        Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

        Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

        Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

        8. Reward them

        Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

        If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

        Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

        9. Encourage team outings

        Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

        From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

        10. Involve them

        Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

        Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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        11. Set meaningful goals

        In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

        Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

        12. Empower them

        You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

        Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

        Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

        13. Deal with conflict

        A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

        How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

        As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

        14. Implement a flexible work culture

        Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

        Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

        It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

        15. Host engaging activities

        All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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        From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

        16. Maintain a positive work space

        Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

        Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

        These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

        17. Avoid discrimination

        Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

        In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

        The bottom line

        Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

        It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

        This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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