Comfort at the Workplace – Strategies and Tips
Groshan Fabiola – July2017
As this generation is slowly being replaced, a new work culture is taking over. Younger, tech-savvy employees demand the improvement of working conditions and to their help come a series of HR studies showing the link between comfort and productivity.
Far from being a trend or a luxury, employee comfort is becoming an attribute of the modern workplace, one that can boost satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. With that in mind, every informed business owner wishing to keep up with modern workplace requirements should understand the influence that comfort has and take measures to increase it in a cost-effective manner.
The connection between productivity and comfort
Some building managers and business owners postpone comfort improvements because they lack the funds and they choose to spend their available money somewhere else. However, employee comfort is far from being inefficient. Although it does require an investment, it pays off. Neglecting it has the opposite effect; when they work in an unpleasant and uncomfortable place, employees are distracted. They cannot focus on doing their job, as they are focusing instead on what bothers them. Whether it’s a poorly ventilated room or a dirty office, discomfort can lower their productivity and, as a result, waste money in the long run. Needless to say, it can lead to absenteeism and employees who are unsatisfied with work conditions will eventually quit. On the other hand, making an effort to increase comfort will influence staff loyalty and boost their morale.
How pleasant is the building design?
People go to great lengths to improve their home design and make the living place more welcoming and comfortable. The same principles should be applied to the workplace. If the building is not properly designed, the staff will be in a bad mood and they won’t be able to perform. When assessing the productivity levels of their staff, managers should determine whether certain flaws in the building design have a negative influence.
For example, if employees have to work all day in very small offices or if the rooms are empty expect for an office, then it’s normal for them to be affected and perform poorly. To boost morale levels, managers should add more personality to the building by placing a few decorations, repainting the walls or refurbishing the floors.
The importance of break areas
Depending on company policy, employees either have a few minutes of break every hour or one full hour to get their meal. During these minutes, it’s important that they feel like they’re in a comfortable space, not a cold and impersonal environment. Setting up break areas is a great way of making the workplace more enjoyable and allowing staff to relax. These spaces don’t have to cost a lot of money. If you’re on a budget, you can set up a room with a TV, a comfy sofa and some bean bags. For buildings that have access to an outdoor space, creating a green corner is a good idea. In case the budget allows you, you can create something even better and get inspiration from some of the world’s largest companies. For example, Uber has nap rooms for their employees, Google offers shower rooms and bars and Microsoft break areas include multiplayer games to promote team spirit.
Cleaning should never be skipped
Investing in decorations and high-end break areas will not make a huge difference if you do not cover the basics of comfort: cleanliness. Every respectable company should have a contract with a commercial cleaning service in order to provide a safe and clean space for their employees. After all, the staff should focus on their work and should not have to worry about how much dust is on their desks or the questionable smell coming from the bathroom. No matter where your offices are located, commercial cleaning services are an absolute must. Working in a dirty space not only influences the mood and productivity levels of the staff, but also poses health risks and may cause workplace accidents. For example, if people work in an area with persistent mold, they can develop respiratory conditions and this makes you liable as an employer.
Details that can make a difference
Sometimes, even a building with a friendly design and good air quality can become stressful and, in that case, managers can work on a few details to increase comfort:
- New chairs – spending eight hours a day sitting in a chair with poor lumbar support cause lower back pain and increase the risk of other conditions later on, according to research. If you have the budget for office upgrades, then new ergonomic chairs should be included on the list.
- Temperature – the office should have a thermostat and workers should be able to change the temperature as they see fit. In seasons when temperatures hit extremes, heating and air conditioning units should be available.
- Lighting – employees should have as much access as possible to natural sunlight. If not, artificial lighting should mimic sunlight and not put a strain on the eyes.
- Uniforms – in companies where wearing a uniform is compulsory, managers should try to make the clothes as comfortable as possible, so that employees can move freely.
Is Building Relationships Important In Business?
Marc-Eddy Drouinaud Jr – 5 May 2017
You cannot do business alone. You need people around you to help you. Therefore, building relationships with people and sustaining them is very important. This is a fact in business. This article attempts to throw light on the art of building relationships.
Become genuinely interested in other people:
This is golden rule to follow in building relationships. As an employer, inquiring about the well-being of others without having any kind of selfish motive can go a long way in cementing relationships. People will find this trait of you being genuinely interested in them as very endearing. A businessperson can close many deals by evincing a genuine interest in the client rather than extolling the benefits of his or her products or services.
Give the credit where it is due:
Business is teamwork. The hallmark of a great leader is that he or she should appreciate teamwork and give the credit for any success to the team. In this way, he can ensure the loyalty of the team members towards the company. When you have loyal employees, your business’s profits can sky-rocket.
Never criticize anybody especially in front of others:
Your employees are human too. They can make mistakes. Some of the mistakes can be detrimental to the interests of the company. If the intention of the employee is not suspect, it is always advisable to forgive the mistake and move ahead. In any case, you should never criticize him or her in front of others. You can speak to the person in private about the issue and make him or her realize the damage.
Call your employees by their first names:
Every person in the world is proud of his or her first name. Calling him or her by that name can have a tremendous effect on his or her psyche. It creates a special kind of bonding between the employee and you. As much as possible, try to remember their names even after they leave the company. This is one of the best ways of building relationships.
Understand the difference between flattery and praise:
Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he or she thinks in order to get benefits. For example, if you were the owner of a clothing store, flattery is telling a woman she looks nice in a dress in order to get her to buy it. Praise is what you think of him or her. Knowing the difference is the key to building effective relationships. Praise is handing out complements for no gain, praise is genuine. You need praise in order to build lasting business relationships.
10 Superstar Networking Tips to Grow Your Business
1) Rock Your Appearance. Let your outfit be a conversation starter. Wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks and helps you radiate confidence.
2) Prepare Yourself Mentally. Know your purpose for being there. Be passionate about what you do and let it shine. What do you want to learn?
3) Show Up Early. Arrive with extra time so you can grab a coffee and get to know a few people before everything starts to get busy. Be on the lookout for people with whom you feel you can connect with and strike up a conversation with them.
4) Be a Giver. Have you ever met someone whom you feel wants to get something from you? It gives off a bad negative energy, doesn’t it? Avoid this from happening to you by shifting your energy to one of abundance and ask yourself how you can best serve others.
5) Ask for Their Business Card. It is always better to ask for the other person’s card. Asking for their card feels better than shoving yours in their hand.
6) Share the Event Socially. Social Media is a great tool for building and maintaining relationships. Take plenty of pics at events to share on social media.
7) Switch it Up. Try sitting with different people. Sometimes the chit-chat that occurs before and after the event can lead to the best connections.
8) Step Up to the Mike. If there is a Q&A opportunity, step up to the microphone and let your question be heard. You’ll get a chance to introduce yourself to the whole room and get expert answers to your question.
9) Give a Testimonial. If you loved the event or a service, be vocal about it. Tell the event coordinator / service provider and offer a testimonial. You can also place recommendation on LinkedIn, Facebook or your networking site. Email a written testimonial to the event host / service provider. They may post it on their website and give you exposure!
10) Love ’em Up. There is a Chinese proverb that says “A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.” When you get back home after the event, the most important part is following up with and nurturing relationships you made. Here it’s a strategy of quality, not quantity. Narrow them down to the few people you had a real connection with and send a warm, genuine email.
Attending networking meetings, industry conferences or seminars keep you up-to-date with the latest changes that are occurring within your sector but equally valuable is the chance to meet other like-minded individuals and build connections that can last a lifetime.
The Importance of Team Building In The Workplace
Edmund Brunetti – 5 April 2017
Team building is crucial when you want to ensure that your organization is operating smoothly. When staff members dislike each other or are in constant conflict, working together on projects can become difficult and you may find yourself with employees that aren’t very productive. Having a facilitator come in to share relevant exercises or inviting a team building speaker to address these issues can make the difference between your organization underachieving or being a success. The main thing that professionally led team building events allow you to do is open up and improve the channels for communication. In a collegial environment, your employees can openly discuss what they find to be a hindrance to their team work and many employees will also recognize that their own behavior has been an issue that can be easily improved.
Once the team issues are out in the open, respectful dialogues can be had and from there the relationship between employees as well as between management and employees will improve. With improved relationships, comes better and more productive team work, which means the quality of the work being done will improve as well. The events also help to motivate employees to become more pleasant to work with. By recognizing the assumptions and issues in their own perspective or approach, employees can target these areas and fix the way that they interact in a team. Once they start to work better with other employees, they will become more confident in their abilities and they might discover that leadership comes easier when they get along with their team. This could open many doors for them and motivate them not to back down from challenges.
Having an experienced team building speaker present will definitely make thing easier during these events. With a speaker present, there is an impartial and engaging third party that will be able to better motivate employees and give them a fresh perspective. Team building activities run by a speaker will also force your employees to think creatively, since it will be something new outside of the usual office tasks. Once your employees learn to work together under these new circumstances, they will find it much easier to be cooperative when they’re working together on work projects.
Employees will also have new skills and insights in their back pockets after listening to a team building speaker. They will learn new problem solving skills and learn to think about problems in team work in a different way, making them more valuable to your organization. Developing these skills will help them a lot in future endeavors as well as future team projects. Another good thing that comes from attending team building events is that it by opening up communication channels your employees start to trust each other more as well as their management. If you get the feeling that your employees might not feel very connected to you and that the gap between management and employee is too wide, it might be time for all of you in the office to work through a few team building exercises together.