The American Institute of Stress found that 65% of American workers experience stress that causes difficulties not only at the workplace, but at home as well when the workday is over. Many U.S. firms have embraced 21st century trends like extending work-from-home opportunities, paid time off, and flexible scheduling to combat the realities of stress. But smaller companies may not have the resources to grant these types of benefits.
The good news is that there are creative ways to make your office a more welcoming, reposeful place that workers will at least appreciate versus dread. Here are five cheap, fast ideas for budget-conscious office managers.
Looks aren't everything. Most humans have five senses, with our olfactory perception (sense of smell) likely being the one most taken for granted. A bathroom smelling of pine cleaner and lavender is potpourri is far more welcoming and comfortable than one smelling of, well, you know. The same psychological effects happen in offices.
The Takasago Corporation in Japan found that adding lemon smell to their offices reduced errors among employees by 54%. Jasmine reduced errors by 33%. Add a few air fresheners around the office so the simple act of breathing is more enjoyable.
A comfortable employee is a content employee. One of the main complaints workers have about their office is the temperature. Clip-on fans and miniature space heaters like the Lasko cost about $10 each, but provide invaluable results. A 2004 study by Helsinki University of Technology found that temperature directly effects productivity.
There is also the science of ergonomics. Researchers are now universally recognizing that there is no "correct" sitting posture. It is all about the individual. Investing in ergonomic office furniture not only let your employees know you care about their well-being, but also increases productivity.
Some of us are old enough to remember Clark Kent entering a phone booth and exiting as Superman. Office workers may not be able to lift cars and shoot lasers from their eyes after a phone booth visit, but they'll certainly appreciate the privacy.
An empty office or walk-in closet could easily be converted to a phone call area. Add some additional, fun rules like limiting "phone booth" time to a half hour per week. Workers who go over that must drop $0.25 in the booth bucket for each minute over the allotted max.
Large corporations have the luxury of hiring custodians to keep their office nice and neat. Small business owners typically do a lot of tidying up around the office themselves to save a few dollars. But why not tap into a tried-and-true technique that will have your employees begging to clean the office themselves.
Incentivize office cleaning by offering time off, extended lunch breaks, and other perks. For instance, the worker who washes the dishes and cleans out the fridge every week gets to leave an hour early on Friday. The one who cleans the bathrooms gets a $10 gift card to a nearby restaurant or coffee shop. Be creative.
Nobody wants to see photos of Henry Ford and some quote he said that is supposed to be inspirational. Hand things on the wall that speak to your brand, but also your employees. Offices located in college towns or sports-crazed cities should have team posters and plaques. Hang shelves to display figurines, collectibles and other trinkets.
A dreary office is a lifeless one. Do your bottom line and employees a favor and invest a little time and money in office aesthetics related to all human senses.