The most successful companies in the world attribute some of their achievements to the vibe of the office. If the working environment is interesting, aesthetically pleasing and has a relaxed atmosphere, employees are more likely to be their most creative, productive and satisfied selves. If you enjoying spending time in the office, sickies won’t be as rife and Reed will no longer be at the top of your search history…
Breathe… (And Munch)
At Google, no one is allowed to be further than 200 feet away from food (amazing). Unilever is all about quiet rooms where you have space to relax as you please. Whilst these huge corporations might seem like a world away from your small office of 25 people, that’s not to say that inspiration can’t be drawn from the big boys. All you need space for in a relaxation room is a yoga mat, some comfy seating and soft lighting: it’s not going to break the bank. Chances are, the refreshed, unwound, reset employees that emerge after 10 minutes in the downtime zone will be far better prepared to tackle anything that is thrown their way; boosting productivity, and ultimately profits.
Google’s want to feed their employees as much as your grandmother doesn’t stem from the same want to “fatten you up”, instead, a satisfied tummy = a satisfied employee. A more manageable expectation would be a well-stocked fruit bowl and nutritious snack drawer, giving you the fuel to last till lunch time, and the end of the day. What’s more, the kitchen can become a hub of conversation (not just for gossip). If you get up for a wander and a banana, you can come into contact with people who aren’t in your area of the office, spark up conversation and maybe come up with an idea together which wouldn’t have been thought of otherwise.
Give me all the Cacti
Humans are made to connect with nature and other living things, yet, the average working day is 9-5 (and they’re the lucky ones); that’s 8 hours indoors. It should come as no surprise, given our genetic make-up, that plants and other natural things contribute to our wellbeing and increase productivity. Respectively, you should bin that blindingly artificial lamp and get some natural light flowing into your office. The fancy word is biophilic design, in other words, throw a few cacti and a plant or two into the mix, and get ready to have a far more emotionally, psychologically and emotionally well workforce.
Similarly, smell has the power to affect the overall vibe of the office, and I’m not talking about that one selfish colleague that decides on tuna for their lunch. Pine is said to increase alertness, whilst cinnamon will improve your focus, and any form of citrus will have the whole office on a high. These scents all connect us to nature, and studies have shown that a connection to Biophilia in the office boosts cognition and improves overall health. Essentially, get the all-natural, soy, hand poured candles in, and go greenery galore.
Time to Get Off Your Arse
The likelihood is that the most exercise you get done during your working day is the vigorous tapping of your fingers on the keyboard. We shouldn’t be sat from 9-5, in fact, it has been suggested that our bums should only be in contact with chairs for a maximum of two hours. Being stood in the office can not only improve posture, but the projection of your voice that is enabled through the position allows you to sound more confident than if you were seated. Better circulation, the opportunity to stretch and you sound as though you know your shit? It’s a no brainer.
So, grab your peace lily, find a chill out playlist on Spotify, get ready to be on your feet and you’re well on your way to making your office somewhere you want to be.