Having recently got the keys to our shiny new offices in Glasgow’s Savoy Tower, which now closer reflects our stunning Edinburgh offices, we’ve been thinking about the importance of a positive work environment.
Gone are the days of stuffy offices with a background soundtrack of keyboards, photocopiers and David Brent making cheap gags by the water cooler! Work environments really matter and we believe that offices should be an exciting space for employees.
After our first week in our new offices, we’ve identified the following benefits of working in a modern environment.
1) Collaborative Spaces for Better Teamwork
Communication is important for any team. Companies can’t run smoothly if employees don’t communicate properly and the layout of a workspace can have a huge impact on how a team operates.
If employees are hidden behind computer screens and separated by cubicle walls, they can’t collaborate effectively. Creating spaces where coworkers can talk and share ideas can boost productivity and improve staff relationships.
We’ve designed both our offices to have a combination of open-plan desks and semi-private meeting rooms with glass walls, so employees feel connected to the rest of the office and relaxed in the knowledge that someone isn’t looking over their shoulder.
This open environment encourages more communication and collaboration which we think produces much more exciting work. Research has found that this collaborative environment encourages employees to have higher levels of physical activity throughout the working day as well as reducing stress levels in the workplace.
Despite these benefits, some argue that open-plan offices can actually harm productivity as employees may require privacy to complete certain tasks. To avoid any loss of productivity, it was important for us to offer semi-private comfortable breakout areas and private meeting rooms to keep a healthy and balanced work environment.
2) Private Hideaways for Peace and Quiet
While collaborative workspaces are important, we also know that from time-to-time, everyone needs some private workspace. Peace and quiet are essential for important calls with clients or casual meetings with coworkers.
Our new Glasgow office has four different types of private spaces to support employees’ acoustic, visual, spatial and personal needs. It’s important to offer a range of spaces which facilitate each of these characteristics to avoid employees feeling uncomfortable or unable to complete specific tasks which require privacy.
Comfortable Break-out Areas
Our semi-private breakout areas give employees some privacy whilst still being connected to the rest of the office. We’ve found that these are perfect for internal meetings if a few team members need to brainstorm ideas or for conference calls with international clients.
- Acoustic needs. Booths offer a level of acoustic privacy so that employees can chat comfortably without disturbing the rest of the office.
- Spatial needs. These breakout areas help to satisfy the spatial needs of employees by creating a comfortable place away from the main office without feeling too disconnected from the team.
Private Meeting Rooms
We also have some private meeting rooms which can help to satisfy the visual and personal needs of employees for important client meetings or phone calls.
- Visual needs. Our private meeting rooms are tucked away from the central office space to give employees visual privacy during important meetings. Employees need to feel comfortable during high-pressure situations so we don’t want them to feel like they’re being watched by the entire office!
- Privacy Needs. Our employees understand that if a colleague is in a private meeting room, they should not be disturbed. These rooms give employees the personal privacy they need to focus on important work, free from distractions.
3) Break Out Areas for Improved Productivity
Work hard, play hard.
We all know that keeping your head down and working for eight hours straight is a bad idea. Taking regular breaks can improve productivity and the quality of work you produce.
Research has found that taking breaks can improve your decision-making abilities, recharge your batteries for better motivation, increase your creativity and even increase your memory.
As with all things, there’s a fine line between taking breaks and avoiding the task at hand but we believe it’s important to encourage people to take some time out and to get away from computer screens. Studies show that for a healthy work environment, employees should take at least 5 minutes away from their screens every hour to avoid eye strain and poor body posture.
4) Time for a cuppa
There are plenty of options for our team if they want to take time out to make some food, chat with co-workers or make themselves a drink. We encourage everyone to enjoy their lunch away from desks and to take time out of their day to sit around a dining table, relax, laugh and switch off so that they can go back to their desks feeling refreshed.
5) First Impressions
We’ve loved showing our clients around the new office over the past week. We take great pride in welcoming our guests and making sure they leave with a smile on their faces.
It only takes seven seconds to make a first impression so a spacious workplace with plenty of natural light and social atmosphere helps to create a positive first impression and reflects our company culture. K2 Space says that your work environment is “one of the first ways that people will take their cues about what really matters to your business” so it’s important to get it right.
If you’re in the area and fancy popping by for a tour at some time, the kettle is always on!
6) Happy Faces
Last but certainly not least, a nice working environment helps to keep people smiling. Researchers estimate that the average person spends 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. That’s a long time.
If people are spending most of their waking lives in offices, it’s important that these spaces are designed to be as comfortable as possible. A study using 700 employees confirmed that a happy work environment can improve productivity by up to 12%. We believe that a happy work environment equals happy employees.
At Change, we take employee mental health seriously and believe that every possible step should be taken to create a positive work environment. SAMH explain that despite one in four people experience mental health issues and many of us choose to completely ignore the subject.
We hope that by listening to our employees and creating a work environment that works for them, we can promote a healthy company culture that keeps people smiling.
How could you improve your workplace environment?
Before you get the paintbrushes out, the most important thing to do is to talk to your employees and find out what they actually want. Try to identify areas that need improvement and ask employees for their own creative input.
We’ve come up with three simple steps that you can do today to improve work environment:
- Office Plants - Natural plants are a simple and affordable way of creating a calm office environment. A study has found that natural plants can help to reduce headaches and sore throats by improving air quality over time.
- Lighting - simply swapping the LED light bulbs in your office to halogen bulbs can have a significant effect on employee productivity. Studies have found that the blue light in LED bulbs can change our body clocks and make us more tired.
- Puppy Love - if any of your employees have a dog, why not get their furry friend suited and booted for a day at the office? Pets have been found to be a great stress reliever and will be sure to put a smile on people’s faces. Once a month we have a ‘bring your dog to work day’ which is always a highlight in our calendar!
Just a few simple changes can make a world of difference for your employees. We’re delighted that we can offer our team an exciting place to work each day and we encourage you all to do the same.
Recruit or Work with Change
If you like what you’ve seen and fancy having this as your place of work, take a look at some of our current job openings and learn about our company culture here. Or, if you’re looking to add some exciting new talent to your company, speak to one of our dedicated recruitment consultants to find out how we can help.
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