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There are a lot of factors that go into what impacts the performance and efficiency of employees in the workplace. A survey compiled by CBRE suggests that contrary to popular belief, “delivering a workplace experience goes beyond providing an attractive workplace.” This means that, though having a place to work that looks nice can be appealing, there is a lot more that goes into keeping employees satisfied and engaged in their work. There are a lot of variables that impact the rate of employee satisfaction in the workplace, and fitness facilities, on-site childcare, and ping pong tables just are not going to cut it anymore. It’s time to figure out how to create a comfortable and effective workplace environment to decrease employee turnover rates and keep everyone interested in coming to work.
According to the above mentioned survey, “an effective work environment creates an emotional connection between employees and their organizations, making the physical space a destination that supports the physical, cognitive, and social need of individuals.” This means that employees are likely to perform better under circumstances that provide them with a workplace that is comfortable and welcoming. Work should not be a place in which your employees dread spending time. Though it is a place of business first, it is also a place where they spend around forty hours each week. Employees place more value on physical elements that support their well-being and provides convenience for them to do their jobs well. They find this to be more important than the services that have become hot button topics in workplace discussion (like the daycares and on-site gyms). At the end of the day, it all goes back to the basics of a workplace. These basics include: being able to see the outdoors, having access to natural light, and the providing of the right technology and infrastructure. This has proven to ring true for all generations, including millennials and older generations. At the end of the day, a great workplace experience is something that all employees truly appreciate and respond to, regardless of their age or experience.
It is important to understand that the trendy, Instagram worthy workplaces, though appealing, are not all that great. After some time, the trendiness allure begins to fade, while comfort and function stay behind. This is important to understand for organizations of all types, as many companies have begun implementing trendy workplace amenities like pet-friendly workspaces, on-site managers, and meditation/yoga rooms to provide a “different work experience.” These things do have a lot of short term appeal, but they do not hold up over time. In fact, some of the top rated perks and elements that workers appreciate the most are:
- Views of the outdoors
- Natural light
- On-site food
- On-site kitchen
- Open office spaces
- Comfortable conditions in the office
Believe it or not, one of the highest ranked features of a highly ranked workplace is access to food, or the experience with food. There is a lot of range in this, but many employees feel as though the experience they have with food at work has a great impact on how they accomplish their work, and how they feel about the comfort of their workplace. This can be anything from a strategically located drink and snack machine to community kitchens that bring employees together around the preparations and sharing of food. Food has always had a way of bringing people together, and in the workplace it can be incredibly important in determining the overall community within the space. If you are struggling to improve your workplace for your employees, consider offering food. This could consist of bringing in coffee and donuts for everyone or adding new kitchen elements to the break room. Both will be highly appreciated and used by everyone on staff.
The comfort of your employees should be something that is high ranking on your list of importances in the workplace. It has been noted that having access to natural light and views of the outdoors are highly sought after and appreciated by employees. With this in mind, it is safe to say that employees prefer that work not feel like prison. It is just as important, while providing access to these amenities, to consider how you are keeping the temperate climate in your space. Having access to natural lights and windows is not all that great if the temperature is so hot that everyone is sweating (or so cold that everyone has their coats on all day). Ensure that you are keeping employees comfortable physically as well as emotionally. A few ways to do this are: providing employees with fans and space heaters, working with your company to offer air cooled chillers over other cooling systems, and offering easy access to the outside for some fresh air. Though they may seem minute, these things can make a big difference in the everyday performance of your employees.
Achieving the greatest impact on your employees requires a bit more than simply addressing what makes them unhappy; it means creating a relationship between being happy and overall engagement to identify the variables that can have the highest impact on the organization. The elements that have the most impact on engagement show that there has been a shift towards a workplace that fills more emotional needs over simple comfort. Therefore, in order to boost engagement, you need to invest in creating some emotional connection between employees and employers. Let them know that you are listening and that you care. Luckily, changing the physical environment has the ability to create and reinforce those emotional elements, and keep your employees engaged and working hard. If you are able to achieve just a fraction of that, you will see the performance and comfort of your employees change dramatically.