Workplace Strategy - What, how and why?
The way we at Rocket Projects understand it, is that the term 'workplace strategy' refers to the space people choose to work in being tailored to their working style, and how to manage that when you've got 75 employees in the same office, who will probably each have an individual way of working. A workplace strategy helps to balance the needs of everyone against the practicalities of a working environment, while trying to produce the best results without breaking the bank.
This can be a long and complicated process, and actually involves a lot of in-depth research and psychological studies about what makes the perfect working environment. Although we're quite versatile in our abilities, informing you on the scientific side of things isn't really our forte, so we've come up with a few ways to implement a simple workplace strategy that should make everyone who works for you that little bit more enthusiastic about Monday morning.
I understand that this is an odd place to start, but introducing a bit of greenery into your workplace can work wonders, and it's one of the easiest to implement. Studies have shown that having plants in your office can increase productivity by 37%, as well as lowering stress & anxiety levels. It doesn't have to be much - not everyone can have a living wall.
A little cactus on everyone's desk or a potted plant in the corner would be the perfect addition to any office, and they don't cost much either.
Back to the more traditional needs of an office environment... The right equipment will improve your staff's experience at work no end, so take the time (and don't be afraid to shell out the cash) to work out what works best for them - whether they need a laptop for flexible working, a Mac to run design programmes with ease, or even a fancy notebook to note down their ideas in. All of these things can make your employees feel more valued, and are more likely to result in inspiration and activity.
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but a little reminder about chairs and the like can come in handy occasionally. Almost everyone in an office environment will sit on a chair at some point during their day, and the majority will sit on a chair for 7 hours or more, so comfort and support is extremely important. Having an adjustable with the right level of cushioning can make so much difference to productivity, so it's a crucial investment, and could save all sorts of problems arising in the future - you don't want your employees ending up with terrible back pains now do you?
In addition to this, some education on staying healthy at work in other ways could really benefit your staff. Getting up every half an hour or so for a stroll around the office shouldn't be frowned upon, especially if they use a screen. There are some handy guidelines on the government website about DSE regulations. Staff should be encouraged to leave their desk for their lunch break, and having cold, filtered water on tap is a must for staying hydrated (but tap water does the job just as well).
This one is a bit tricker to work around if you're in a basement office, but it should be one of your top priorities when choosing an office space. Is there natural light available? Nothing compares to it, so try and find a workspace that benefits from big windows, even if there are only a couple; it'll make all the difference. If you're really struggling, then make sure you allow your staff time to head outside throughout the day, even if it's just to stand in the sun for five minutes while they check their Facebo- er, emails.
When it comes to office design, lots of people are afraid of introducing colour for fear of causing distraction, but subtle use can in fact inspire people, and give them something to focus on. A good way of getting this into your space is to organise areas by colour e.g. the marketing team sits in the area with red desk dividers. Using an entirely separate colour for breakout spaces works well too, because psychologically you feel as though you're in a different mood.
Noise plays a big role in how people feel at work - some people thrive in a noisy workplace, and others can't stand it, so you'll need to cater for both. Installing individual workspaces like acoustic pods can really benefit your staff, by providing a quiet area for calls, or if they've got something important to work on. The introduction of acoustic screens and ceiling tiles can really improve the space, and create a far more comfortable environment.
Knowing that they've got somewhere comfortable to sit and have their lunch will really improve your staff's mood. Whether it's an enclosed space with comfy sofas and soft furnishings, or a long bench that everyone can sit around together, having an area in which to take a break from their busy day will be a total godsend.
People love tea and coffee. It's a fact. Whether it's that glorious first cup at 8.30 in the morning, or that 3 o'clock brew to get through the last couple of hours, we cherish every single one, so having good facilities to make them is essential. A fast kettle, good quality teabags and strong, well-made coffee all make the day at work just a little easier to stomach.
So there you have it, 7 relatively easy ways to make your workplace a calmer, happier and more productive place to be.