What makes a great workplace? Safety. Productivity. Engagement. But comfort? If you have any associations with comfort and laziness, get them out of your head. The notion that your employees have to have their noses forced to the grindstone and exist in some level of compelled urgency is toxic and is going to harm your business irrevocably if you’re not careful.
Here, we’re going to look at not only how to make your team’s work environment more comfortable, but also why it makes sense.
Stress at work isn’t something to aim for.
As mentioned, there is a toxic notion that employees in the workplace should feel a certain degree of stress. The concept is that it can act as a kind of pressure that encourages them to work harder and be more productive. However, the truth is that stress reduces our ability to be creative, to find solutions quickly, and to focus on a task. As such, helping your team find inner peace is usually going to be the more productive answer in the end.
Physical comfort isn’t the only thing that can help this happen, but it should certainly be considered a part of the puzzle. Anything you can do to reduce workplace stress, you should look at more closely.
It can prevent injuries.
When we talk about comfort, we’re not just about the sensation of being cosy and relaxing in the workplace. You also have to consider how comfort affects us physically. In most office environments, we spend a lot of time sitting, and sitting in an uncomfortable chair with bad posture can begin to affect our health. In particular, it can be a cause of or exacerbating factor in back and joint pain. Ergonomic seats are designed to make sure that the body of the worker is supported at all the crucial points, making sure that their weight isn’t pushing down on the parts that can start to suffer pain and inflammation as a result. Ergonomics goes into more than just what chairs you use, however, desks, computer accessory placement, and more all contribute to it.
Your team needs places to relax.
Your team shouldn’t just be comfortable when they are working. They should be comfortable when they’re not working, as well. To that end, it’s a good idea to make sure they have a separate break space from their desks, or that any collaborative and joint-creative spaces are built more to keep them comfortable and help the conversation flow. This can mean finding those more comfortable options available at places like Bean Bags R Us instead of your standard office chair. A little more space is also typically associated with break spaces. It helps them take a moment to refresh so that when they return to work it’s with more energy and resolve.
Cubicles do not work.
There are times that your team will need some privacy as well as the ability to block out distractions from the outside world, making sure that sights and sounds don’t break their concentration with their work. However, this should not be the kind of workspace that they are spending most of their time in. The cubicle crush has been found to long be disastrous for their productivity and motivation at work, not to mention making it harder to foster connections with their teammates. You can use things like modular privacy zones that workers can use as and when they need them. Otherwise, however, you should consider allowing for a more open-plan working arrangement with fewer divides and boundaries between them.
Light it up.
Comfort isn’t just about where you’re sitting or what you’re feeling with your sense of touch. Making the workplace more comfortable applies to all senses, and few are more important than your sense of sight. Keeping a well light workspace with the help of tips from sites like Design Nation improves the safety of the workspace, but it can also fend off those long-term symptoms of discomfort. For instance, if your team spends a lot of their time looking at digital screens, then they can begin to experience eyestrain as a result of poor lighting contrast. Making sure that they have good ambient light, with natural light being best of all, can help prevent that.
Comfort is cleanliness, too.
Your employees aren’t going to feel comfortable where they work if they’re surrounded by mess, to put it simply. Trash, spills, and clutter around the office can be a real safety hazard. However, even if it’s nothing particularly dangerous, the sight of stains, marks, and other aspects of uncleanliness can make it feel like the workspace is little cared for and that they, by virtue of working within that space, aren’t very well respected. Working with cleaning teams such as Clean & Clean can help you keep the office in a much better condition, ensuring that it’s hygienic and a much more pleasant environment to spend time in. Of course, you can also encourage employees to follow cleanliness protocols such as not leaving clutter lying around and maintaining their own workstations.
Poor comfort leads to poor retention.
If you’re not able to create a work environment that your employees want to be in, then they are going to find ways out of that work environment. This includes looking for other kinds of employment. A poorly kept and ill-designed workplace makes it look like an employer does not have the best interests of the team at heart. This kind of sensation can greatly decrease the productivity and morale of your team, two factors that can contribute to your ability (or lack thereof) to retain your best team members. Comfort is not only good for your employees, by that logic, but for your business, too.
If comfort isn’t already a priority for you while you’re designing your team’s work and rest spaces, it should be. The tips above can help you start putting the elements in place needed to bring a touch of cosiness to your work environment.