Increased productivity. Buzzwords companies live by, set out in their marketing materials, plaster all over their websites. But what does it actually mean, and how do you create the sort of work environment that fosters and grows productivity in a natural, unforced manner? Here at Alpha Blue Ocean we believe that making our work environment healthier, both physically and psychologically, will also help to increase productivity by improving staff morale, attendance, mood and attitude, thus obviously affecting overall performance.
Here are some of the things we consider to be important factors in a healthy, positive work environment.
Create a Comfortable Space For Your Employees
You’ll be working closely on projects, but sometimes close can be too close. Figure out a way to create a team space that is just the right size: small enough for everyone to work closely, but with enough room for everyone to work comfortably. Everyone needs to have their own individual space, where they can have the tools that they use within reach, but still be able to look to either side and be able to work with other team members.
Recognise and Reward on a Regular Basis
One way to keep momentum up, keep spirits high, and to create an immediate morale boost, is to recognise your team and offer rewards. Any project is exciting at first, but over time, it can become more and more difficult, and can even become a chore. If you set milestones, and offer rewards at each milestone, when it is achieved you will prevent the team going stale. It doesn’t have to be much – it could be a McDonald’s lunch or a bottle of wine each. For the competitive, the chance to win anything, no matter how small, could be a real turning point in their weekly endeavours. Little things like these really do matter, and they do a lot to boost team morale.
Keep Your Team Connected
It’s important that your team is connected and able to work harmoniously together, even if there are remote workers on your team. In order to be able to establish a truly productive working relationship, you have to get to know one another. If there are remote workers, use HD video conferencing so everyone can take part in meetings, brainstorming sessions, etc. Organise team nights out and events, getting as many people to attend as possible. Make it fun, and encourage them to build and develop working friendships with each other. Consider once every few months closing at lunchtime on a Friday so you can go for lunch together and then have an early finish: this will be a massive morale booster and a really popular reward!
Bring in Some Plants to Decorate the Office
There are many ways that plants can help to create a healthier work environment. First, they help to improve the air quality, which is particularly important if your office is stuffy or there is dry air. Also, plants make any area cheerier, and they are going to help to put you into a better mood. Encourage everyone to bring in their favourite plant, or reward them with a garden centre voucher so they can choose one for home and one for their desk space!
Clean Air is Important
Many people end up with occupational allergies, which are triggered by sensitivities to chemicals in paint, carpeting, furniture, etc. Symptoms of allergic reactions include rashes, irritated eyes, sinus issues, and headaches. It’s a fact that having bad air in the workplace can cause you to lose concentration. Use air purifiers if you have no air conditioning unit, or get a portable air conditioning unit installed to help air quality, circulation and flow.
Encourage Conflict amongst Team Members
It’s good to have some healthy conflict in the workplace. It can create, build and develop ideas and move projects into completely new directions. Offer up an idea that is completely outside of the box, and see where the discussion goes from there. Ask your team to write something on an index card that is related to the idea. Collect the cards, and then pass them out to the team, making sure that no one gets their own. Have your team read the ideas, and respond to them. Create an environment where everyone is free to contribute, and where no-one is singled out for ridicule nor made to feel too embarrassed or scared to speak. Your rewards will be a more confident, articulate workforce who can and will bring valuable ideas forward for the benefit of the company.