Everyone wants to be compensated well for the work they do, but is money alone the most effective motivator? While there’s an obvious link between salary and job satisfaction, studies suggest that there are other, far more compelling and effective ways to reward and inspire employees, and work space is high on the list. Instant Offices’ Head of Marketing, John Williams, weighs in on boosting employee satisfaction and happiness in the workplace.
Happiness at work has a significant impact on life outside of work, and employees are generally happier when they feel valued in business however according to Perkbox 2018 Workplace Stress Survey, 45% of employees say their place of work does not have anything in place to help reduce stress levels and improve their mental health.
This can be improved by rewarding employees in various ways, whether it is allowing them to be involved in company decision-making, monetary incentives, extra benefits like company cars, gym memberships, or by offering them flexible hours.
The Fabric of a Happy Workplace
1. The power of choice: According to Gensler’s 2016 UK Workplace Survey, 70% of Employees want a say in when and where they work – this incorporates both in- and out-of-office mobility. The need for relaxed gathering spaces, both indoors and outdoors, is high on the list.
2. Design: The survey reports that poorly designed open-plan environments are negatively affecting more than eight million UK workers. This means that companies need to take a more considerate approach when designing open-plan offices, optimising for productivity and employee satisfaction.
3. Noise management: An open office has more aesthetic appeal than segregated cubicles, and encourages collaboration in the creative space, but noise is one of the pitfalls. To ensure your employees don’t feel the need to work with earplugs or plugging into their phones, we suggest having a ‘quiet area’ where employees can go to concentrate on important work without the distraction of conversation. This allows others in the office to collaborate freely without feeling self-conscious. Interestingly, increasing background noise can prevent distracting noise (like non-work discussions) – adding white noise, or sound absorbing materials can also reduce sound and concepts such as “pink sound”, or ambient noise, is increasingly being introduced into progressive workspaces.
4. Access to people and resources: Utilising technology in your office with suitable devices and machinery will also enhance productivity and allows employees to boost their own job performance, leaving them more fulfilled, motivated and inventive – exactly what your company needs to improve productivity and satisfaction.
5. Diversify for group work: British workers still use their desks for most work activities and this can be to the detriment of performance. Fully utilising Wi-Fi, alternative meeting spaces and accessing outdoor spaces is key. If your business prioritises collaboration then a shared work space is vital as it encourages face-to-face interaction, idea sharing and informal meetings. Introduce fewer assigned desks and offer free choice in a café or lounge-styled area.
6. Empower the whole community: Choice, purpose, and equity should be a focus, so match space to role, not status – strategies that match space to role rather than seniority provide an opportunity to engage and improve at all levels of the company. Matching the space to job needs and not roles is key here. Grouping employees to their functions and teams, rather than hierarchy, results in productivity and higher satisfaction.
Take a more considerate approach when it comes to open plan offices, and remember next time you think about modifying your office space: over 8 million UK employees work in open plan environments. Open plan offices can be just as effective as enclosed ones, if not more so – on the condition that employees have a variety of spaces in which to work more effectively, such as a designated space for collaboration or concentration.