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8 Cool Things Employees Want in Their Office

8 Cool Things Employees Want in Their Office
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Keeping your employees content is a key part to running any business.

To use the age old quote:

“A happy worker is a productive worker.”

Since the start of the new century the wave of tech companies have pioneered the way we think of employee happiness with innovations, from unlimited holidays or flexible working hours to cool play things in the office.

Big tech companies like Google have led the way with this kind of employee-first approach and many smaller companies are now following the trend.

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A team at ACI (Advanced Commercial Interiors Limited) recently carried out a survey to find out the cool things that employees would most like to have in their office to improve their downtime and make the time at work a little more enjoyable. This is what they came up with:

  1. A pool table

pool-table

    Pool is a fun game that anyone can learn, leading to it being the number one most requested cool thing for the office. The friendly competition is good for staff members to get to know each other better and a place for people to get together during breaks and after work.

    1. Coffee machine

    coffee-1009621_640

      Coffee is what keeps some people going, and there is nothing worse than having to drink freeze-dried instant coffee all day! Letting staff make their own barista-style brews could really improve morale and increase focus during the workday.

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      1. Beer

      beer-588613_640

        It’s no surprise that having a beer fridge to sip a few cold ones on a Friday (or any day) after work featured high on the list of office wish lists. And with good reason too, what better way to relax and get to know your colleagues than over on cold beer or glass of wine!

        1. A gym

        gym-595597_640

          There’s a reason why we say “Healthy body, healthy mind,” – having a gym at work definitely makes a big difference. It can be hard to find time to keep fit when you have a busy working life so to combining the two can really save time and could result in a really happy workforce. In addition, studies suggest that exercise stimulates the brain, resulting in a more productive staff.

          1. Games console

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          video-controller-336657_640

            A gaming console in the office may seem like a really bad idea from a boss’s perspective, but it takes very little cost to set up for an office asset that can make lunchtime more fun and could provide endless opportunities for team bonding.

            1. Ping pong table

            ping-pong-1205609_640

              A ping pong table is more energetic alternative than a pool table and still provide a space for team building. It’s probably best to put it in a separate room though as the sound of those bouncing balls may get annoying after a while!

              1. Ice cream machine

              ice-1546121_640

                This was probably one of the coolest suggestions (excuse the pun). Eating some cold ice cream in the office on a hot summer day may make being inside at work instead of being outside enjoying the sunshine a little bit more bearable.

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                1. Climbing wall

                climbing-holds-101538_640

                  Certainly the most surprising thing on the list: a climbing wall. What better way to take a break from sitting all day or working on a really challenging project than to get some exercise and conquer a different sort of challenge! You’ll certainly need tall ceilings to add this cool thing to the office though.

                  Here are some more things that were voted for but didn’t quite make the top 8:

                  • Popcorn Machine
                  • Pinball Machine
                  • Table Football
                  • Cinema
                  • Dancefloor

                  So there you go, the people have spoken, now the only thing left to do is try and persuade the boss that these things are for the good of the company and not just some really cool ways to avoid work!

                   

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                  Published on July 27, 2021

                  15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

                  15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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                  During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

                  But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

                  Put the Pro in Professional

                  After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

                  1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

                  The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

                  Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

                  2. Dress the Part

                  While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

                  Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

                  For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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                  Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

                  3. Stage Your Workspace

                  Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

                  Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

                  4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

                  Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

                  Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

                  Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

                  Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

                  5. Arrive on Time

                  In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

                  Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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                  6. Turn on Your Video

                  Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

                  If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

                  Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

                  7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

                  Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

                  Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

                  Attend to the Pesky Details

                  8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

                  With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

                  Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

                  9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

                  Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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                  Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

                  10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

                  As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

                  Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

                  Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

                  Talking Has a Time and a Place

                  11. Chat Appropriately

                  Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

                  At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

                  12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

                  The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

                  Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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                  13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

                  In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

                  Manage Yourself

                  14. Minimize Distractions

                  While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

                  Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

                  15. Save Snacking for Later

                  Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

                  However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

                  Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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