Creating a Comfortable and Effective Work Environment
Posted on: August 16, 2017 by Signature Insurance Group
Reducing Employee Error > Creating a Positive Environment
A happy employee is a hardworking employee, and a significant amount of employee discomfort could stem from your workplace itself. A Warwick study has shown that employees who are happier are 12 percent more productive at work, while employees who referred to themselves as “unhappy” where 10 percent less productive than the average worker. While some of this could be a result of circumstances in their personal lives that are out of your control, as a business owner it is your responsibility to create an effective work environment that will make your employees feel happy, comfortable, and ready to work. You should protect your business from disgruntled employee lawsuits with our Management Liability policy, but you can improve employee satisfaction and productivity before that point with these tips for creating an effective work environment.
Maintain a comfortable temperature.
Yes, something as minor as the number on the thermostat could be having a significant impact on your employees’ moods and output. Whether you are over-air conditioning during the hot summer months or cranking the temperature up to sweltering levels to combat cold winters, you could be making your employees uncomfortable, which could be affecting their performance. According to an ergonomics study from Cornell University, a thermostat that was gradually increased from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit over a monthlong period saw a 44 percent reduction in employee typing errors. When surveyed, the employees in the study reported that in addition to feeling cold, they felt distracted from their roles. Research has found that the optimal office temperature is between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, but regularly check with your employees to get their opinion on the office temperature. Temperature preferences can differ from person to person (and especially between men and women), so you should make sure that everyone is comfortable.
You should also regularly have your temperature control devices inspected. Consistently uncomfortable temperatures could be the result of an internal malfunction, and getting that fixed as quickly as possible will allow you to maintain a comfortable office temperature, and could prevent a potentially dangerous future problem.
Design it around your employees’ needs.
When designing your office space, keep in mind your employees’ needs and the overall atmosphere of the building. A small, cramped office space with low ceilings and work areas jammed tightly together will likely make your employees feel claustrophobic and anxious, which could impact their work habits. One major feature that you should include in your workspace is windows. According to a study done by researchers from Northwestern University’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience program, employees of offices with windows reported higher results in vitality, sleeping time, and daytime performance. In addition to the natural light, allow your employees to get some fresh air, as it will prevent them from feeling trapped. If your workplace is poorly organized to the point that it is causing discomfort or even safety hazards, you could be guilty of an OSHA violation.
Noise is another common distraction in the workplace. According to a recent survey of high-performing employees across multiple industries, 58 percent of employees feel that they need more private workspaces to perform their tasks and solve problems, and 62 percent of respondents felt that their office environments were too distracting. Noise levels are a common source of interruptions, and are common in open offices. Employees can wear headphones to block out the noise, but there is plenty that you can do to improve conditions for them. Try to place employees with heavier workloads that require more quiet and concentration away from those who frequently talk on the phone or make noise in any way, and lightly encourage other employees to be respectful and refrain from excessive noisemaking. If you are in an office building with other businesses, consider keeping your door closed or insulating your workspace from outside noises. It can take an average of 25 minutes for someone to regain their concentration after an interruption, and those 25 minutes leave room for errors.
Promote workplace wellness.
Stress can have a major impact on employee output, in terms of how much they can produce as well as the quality of their work. If an employee has a lot on his or her mind or has not been sleeping well, it’s only natural that he or she may not be devoting his or her full attention to their tasks at hand, and could be making mistakes. While you obviously don’t want employees to make mistakes, creating a work environment where employees are terrified of the repercussions for errors is likely to only lead to more stress and poor performance. In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst employees, you can create a positive, effective work environment by:
- Encouraging a friendly, supportive office climate
- Communicating well with your team
- Providing positive reinforcement and incentives for your employees
About Signature Insurance Group
Signature Insurance Group has been working since 1969 to provide comprehensive insurance solutions to individuals and businesses across the United States. We offer a range of insurance products and services in risk management, employee benefits, business insurance, and personal insurance, and we pride ourselves on our commitment to creating “Signature Relationships” with our clients where we commit to providing the best, most comprehensive service possible. To learn more about our goods and services, contact us today at (800) 464-3606.