5 Quick Fixes to Improve Your Work Environment

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How often do you pause from your work to think about how you’re slightly cold. Or maybe the lighting above your desk is giving you a headache? You’re not alone, and your work environment could be affecting employee engagement. As Harvard Business Review explains, environment influences mood, and mood is tied to productivity and engagement. The challenge is making sure your office is producing the right mood for productivity.

Here I’ll list a few quick changes that you can make to improve the office environment for your employees without doing a complete office renovation.

1. Add some color.

Color can influence mood and energy. According to Harvard Business Review, “We’re relaxed in the presence of colors that aren’t very saturated but are relatively bright and that aren’t cluttered.” Decide what energy you want to convey in each room and choose your colors accordingly. This doesn’t mean you need to repaint your walls, but be on the lookout for simple opportunities to add color in the space (drawer sets, wall art, etc.).

2. Allow for quiet space.

Open office spaces are great for collaboration, but studies have shown that open layouts are not suited for everyone’s work style. If your office is organized in this way, consider designating a small nook or corner in the office as a quiet space. You can purchase free-standing space dividers to physically separate the area. Employees can go here if they need to recharge from the chaos of an open floor plan.

3. Offer a separate space.

Similar to the previous point, carving out a physical space to momentarily “step away” from your desk can help to refocus employees and keep energy levels high. This could also be a space that encourages productive interactions between employees (see our post about Zappos to learn about culture collisions). If your office is short on space, a coffee or tea cart could do the trick.

4. A little green can go a long way.

A study by the University of Queensland found that plants can increase concentration and employees’ perception of the work environment. As a bonus, plants add some color! Here are some ideas for office-appropriate plants. However, be mindful of potential allergies.

5. Mind the temperature.

You won’t believe how common complaints about temperature are among employees. Temperature is tricky because there are many factors at play– season, building regulations, dress code, individual employee preferences, you name it. There has been a lot of research about the optimal temperature for productivity, and there are some conflicting results. However, most of the research has determined that the optimal office temperature is between 70-73º F, with some other notable sources saying 77º F and 74º F. Clearly, it’s hard to please everyone when it comes to temperature, even the research experts! Therefore, try polling your employees to understand their preferences and make changes accordingly.

Even when we were a small team of five at CultureIQ, we had a green couch in our office. This couch brought some color into the space, promoted internal brand pride, and offered a little space to step away from our desks without going too far. What simple change could you make to improve your office environment?

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