After the pandemic hit, a staggering number of professionals around the country had to abandon the office and start working from home. While the first few weeks came with all the challenges of an unpredicted adaptation period, most workers then managed to find a new balance.
Today, almost 60% of Americans work from home for most of the week, and they are planning to keep things that way. Organizations around the world have also enjoyed the benefits of this new trend – especially because they can now cut down on office space, reduce expenses, and tap into a worldwide talent pool.
Nonetheless, there are also some reasons for which companies still want employees to come into the office for a few days each month. And, if you are also trying to make this new hybrid work model work for your company, you need to make the experience of coming into the office productive and energizing. Start with the tips below.
Let Nature In
Spending time in nature is linked to lower stress levels and cortisol, better mood and morale, and higher productivity levels. So, we know that if you want to feel calmer and more serene, you have to spend time in a park, forest, or coastal area.
But how can you reap the benefits of nature while working in the office? Bringing nature indoors! You can do so by decorating with plants and natural materials such as wood, metal, and natural fabrics. Try to leave out cheap, single-use items!
Leverage Natural Light and Fresh Air
Just as important as decorating with natural and sustainable elements is letting in some fresh air and natural light. Over the past years, a rising number of employees have started to suffer from Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). This condition is not immediately evident but, in the long term, it can cause respiratory problems, skin conditions, low morale, excessive tiredness, and mental health issues.
You can prevent all of this by opening curtains and windows and letting fresh air and sunshine into the office. Your teams will feel much happier and more energized!
Insulate the Building
Insulating the building is essential to create a comfortable and adequate working environment while making the whole building more sustainable. Insulation is especially important if the premises are in an area subjected to drastic temperature changes, and it allows you to save over 15% on heating and cooling costs. All this, while allowing your employees to feel comfortable when at their desks.
The building’s gutters and roof are elements that are not often in sight and can be overlooked. However, it is important to inspect them at least once or twice a year. Gutters can get clogged and, with the first heavy downpours, they can cause rainwater to overflow or stagnate, which can lead to rotting of the fascia board.
Maintaining the roof is just as important! Through regular checks, you can ensure that the whole building is structurally sound and insulated. You should also carry out emergency inspections after a natural disaster or if you suspect that something is wrong with the roof.
Read more here about the maintenance, inspection, and replacement options you have!
Keep Up to Date With the Latest Regulations
Your employees are one of the company’s main assets, and it is your duty and responsibility to provide them with a safe and healthy workplace. Whether the commercial building your offices occupy has been recently built or not, make sure you are up to date with the latest regulations and safety requirements.
Invest in Technology
The pandemic initiated some important trends and sped up some that were already happening. But what it has made obvious is that we all rely more on technology than ever before. Make sure your office has all the technology needed to ensure it remains productive and competitive. Aside from industry-based technological solutions that you should have, you might consider investing in:
- Cloud system that helps you with daily operations, waste management, remote collaboration, and compliance
- High-speed internet connection
- The latest cybersecurity features for you and your employees
- Team collaboration software that allows you to switch from on-site to remote working seamlessly.
Allow for Flexibility
As we have seen, over half of all employees in the US and abroad are working from home most of the week. While for some this has been a drastic and uncomfortable change, for many it was a happy change. Whatever your employees prefer, they might expect flexibility from your end. So, you should adapt the office space to welcome this hybrid workforce. If your team is too small for you to have – and pay for – office spaces, you should consider the coworking or shared office model.
Carve Out Green Spaces
Whether it is one of the walls, on the roof, or outside the premises, consider creating a green space where your employees can spend their lunch break and relax away from the four walls of the office. Green space does not have to necessarily be a perfectly designed garden – it could also be a small patch of land or an urban garden on the top of the building.
Make It Easily Accessible
Thanks to the advent of remote working, many companies have opted to move their offices to locations that are less central and, often, more affordable. Since many employees don’t need to commute to the office anymore, this change makes sense for many organizations. However, some of your employees will still travel to and from the office. So, if you want to encourage them to come into the office at least a few days every week, you should make this option easy and accessible for them!
Consider the Benefits of Pet Therapy
Welcoming pets in the office could be a great way to keep your employees engaged and entertained, and this experience can help them develop a caring attitude towards the company itself! Studies have found that there are several benefits to bringing pets into the office premises, including reducing stress, increasing productivity, improving resiliency, and preventing aggressive reactions in situations of stress.
Include Areas for Relaxation and Socialization
The era of the rat race is over. Today, employees want to be valued and recognized for their hard work, personality, and unique touch. Of course, you need them to be in their best shape, energized, and motivated.
However, productivity does not always come from just sitting in front of a laptop for nine hours! New studies have seen that short breaks of ten minutes or less every hour allow the brain to recharge and can significantly increase productivity.
Introducing strategic stations for relaxation and socialization in the office can pay you back in productivity and better outcomes after all!
Create a Range of Workstations
In the past, the focus has always been on finding the best type of furniture, chair, and desks for employees to be comfortable and focus – all while also keeping an eye on the budget. However, today, we know that working in a fixed position does not help productivity, and can contribute to all the issues that a sedentary life can cause.
Instead, make sure to create a variety of seating options and workstations across the office space. These can include benches, conference rooms, quiet areas, standing desks, cafes, and standard seats.
Invest in Activities
Scheduling group activities such as yoga and meditation can help employees better manage stress, feel more energized, and optimize productivity. Whether you can organize weekly sessions or you just encourage your employees to take five to ten minutes out of their day to practice mindfulness, don’t underestimate the power of these activities on health, mood, emotional well-being, and productivity levels. Try it out today!