Employees want hybrid work, and for good reason. It offers them more flexibility. It allows for a better work-life balance. It increases productivity. It’s an entirely new perk for employers to provide to their employees. But hybrid work is not without its challenges, particularly for workplace, facilities, and people teams. Your teams have increased pressure to create a workplace that people love—one that employees actually choose to work from. Because when it’s up to the employee to decide where they do their best work, you have to make that choice obvious for them. Here are six ideas to improve your workplace and make workplace days their favorite days.6 ways to improve your workplace:
- Create productivity zones
- Build more collaboration spaces
- Optimize your space for mental health and wellness
- Host company events
- Plan social activities
- Provide snacks, drinks, and meals
Idea #1: create productivity zones
One of the main benefits of choosing the workplace over working from home is that employees can be more productive in an office environment. Many people need peace and quiet to focus. Others just need to be free from the distractions that come from being at home with kids, pets, roommates, or other family members. An easy way to improve your workplace is to create productivity zones that offer dedicated, distraction-free settings for employees. This could be a single meeting room that is far from busy or noisy areas of the office. This could be a quiet corner of the office where you opt not to play music and discourage people from taking calls there. If your team has the budget you could even invest in office pods, phone booths, or other soundproof setups. Productivity zones and quiet spaces help employees think and get things done. They can offer room to stretch out and focus on work while keeping friends and coworkers nearby for a quick brainstorm. Best of all, it can be an easy and low-cost way to show your employees you care about providing them with the space they need on-site.
Idea #2: build more collaboration spaces
While productivity zones offer peace and quiet, collaboration spaces offer the opportunity for coworkers to meet, connect, and share ideas. Collaboration spaces can be as informal as a couch in the break room. They could be more formal walled meeting rooms. Or they could be somewhere in the middle, like a big table where many people can gather.Not everyone can improve their workplace by building out more meeting rooms, and that’s okay. Any area where people can meet and work together is a great collaboration space. Pro tip: make sure you fill these spaces with tools like whiteboards, post-it notes, markers, pens, and remote conferencing tools to support ideation and collaboration.
Idea #3: optimize your space for mental health and wellness
A happy workplace is a healthy workplace. Ensuring that your employees stay safe and healthy on-site with seamless COVID safety protocols is absolutely essential. But mental health is important too. You can improve your workplace for mental health and wellness with some simple tweaks to create a more relaxing, inclusive, and supportive environment.There are small things that you can do to your space to create a shift in your employee's moods and overall well-being. Start with these three simple steps:
- Bring in sunlight: Numerous studies have shown that natural light in office spaces improves worker satisfaction and productivity. You should consider placing workstations near windows, removing heavy blinds or shades, and adding some mirrors around the room to reflect sunlight around your workspace. If you can’t bring in natural light, try adding some bright lighting instead.
- Remove clutter: Clutter can actually have a negative impact on our mental state. To avoid adding stress to employees in the office make sure your space is well-organized and clutter-free. Storage bins, label makers, and donation hauls are your new best friends.
- Add plants: Plants are not only visually appealing, but they also help freshen the air, reduce stress, and increase productivity. The global Human Spaces report has found that employees who work in environments with plants and other natural elements report a 15% higher level of well-being, are 6% more productive, and 15% more creative overall.
Idea #4: host company events
Company culture takes a hit in 100% remote environments. With hybrid work, you can encourage culture-building and show off your organization’s values with company events. This can provide a time for employees to connect, build relationships, learn about company values, and find a sense of belonging.Company events can span from sales kick-offs and company all-hands to onboarding welcome gatherings and holiday parties. Use your company events as a time to show gratitude for your team and express how important they are to the business. Gathering in person at the workplace for these events is crucial for building a connection to the company and boosting morale.
Idea #5: plan social activities
In a 2021 survey that we conducted with Wakefield Research, we found that the number one benefit of working from the office is socializing with work friends. People get excited to go to the workplace when they think of the fun, impromptu social interactions that they could have with colleagues.You can support these interactions by planning social activities for your employees. This could be in the form of a work happy hour once a month. Or you could lean in further by creating social zones throughout the office complete with games, ping pong tables, and the like. While these activities might be most related to startup culture, there’s a reason why companies like Google and Facebook invest in them. Social activities help employees connect. Having dedicated social areas or events foster the kind of rapport that makes working and creating together an energizing experience for employees.
Idea #6: provide snacks, drinks, and meals
In a recent article, Envoy’s own Workplace Manager Dave Park shared the importance of providing food in the workplace. “You can use this as an opportunity to delight your employees,” he says. “If budget is an issue, start small. You can provide one or two meals a week with some snacks and beverages. This can go a long way to make folks feel appreciated and happy on-site.”To add proof to the pudding (great office snack, by the way), LinkedIn conducted a study on the topic and found that when meals were available:
- 55% of employees felt more appreciated by their companies, resulting in a happier culture on-site
- 49% felt an increase in productivity (since meals, snacks, and beverages were readily available)
- The end result of the accumulated benefits of providing meals was a 150% return on investment
No matter your team’s budget, there are plenty of things that you can do to improve your workplace. Sometimes even the smallest gestures, like plants, sunlight, and snacks, can go a long way to make an impact on creating a workplace that people love.