Written by: James Ponds
Improving your workplace can mean upgrading the furniture and technology, rearranging teams for better dynamics or working on personal goals to make the day more enjoyable. Some of the improvements you can make to the office will seem too small to make a difference, but sometimes those small changes are just what you need to thrive.
In-Office Traffic Flow
The design and layout of your office space will determine the flow of people walking between tasks, getting to their desks in the mornings and heading out. There are other ways you can streamline your workspace and optimize the flow of traffic around the office, such as in aisle printing, grouping employees by teams or projects, or even increasing the number of remote work positions. By watching for impediments like bottlenecks and ensuring that there is enough space in your office for both workstations and generous pathways, you can improve the flow of people and the efficiency of your daily efforts.
Goals and Visual Aids
Working on a large project can mean months of work and hundreds of little jobs that show little progress. Setting goals for yourself and your teams is an excellent way to keep everyone engaged in the job and meeting deadlines, but the system you use to track your progress and explain where tasks fit into a larger project will make those goals more easily attained. When grouped in a flow chart or other visual aid, it is easier to see how one sale or one email each day can add up to meeting company goals. These visual aids can help employees feel more connected to the company and more invested in success.
Appreciation and Recognition
Another small change you can make to increase employee investment and retention is recognizing the hard work of those around you and showing appreciation for that work. This recognition does not mean that you need to throw a pizza party for employees each month. Still, it does mean acknowledging good effort when it happens and rewarding exceptional effort on occasion. It is difficult to be excited about your job and easy to burn out when you feel like your efforts are in vain or unnoticed. Saying thank you to your team members helps build trust in the workplace and helps workers feel seen and valued. This, in turn, will fuel a commitment to your company and increase employee retention, productivity and innovation.
After decades of the same tropes representing stifling offices and tyrannical bosses, corporations realize that allowing more personalization in office space and autonomy in tasks offers employees the freedom they need for efficiency and innovation. Offices full of de-personalized cubicles with standard-issue equipment and decorations are becoming more off-trend each year. However, personalization is not just about how many nick-nacks you can have on your desk. It is essential to find the balance between enough personalization to maximize efficiency for one person and enough uniformity to limit visual clutter for everyone else. Offering employees the option to personalize the balance between in-office days and remote work or to personalize their benefits package with an al-a-carte approach can work better for some.
Sometimes minor improvements make the most significant impact. Telling a co-worker that you appreciate their input during meetings or recognizing your team's hard work by having a party after projects are completed can help those around you feel valued and build trust. Putting the latest artwork by your kids up in your office by visual aids showing you how your work is contributing and how close you are to goals can keep you enthusiastic and smiling. You can even streamline your day by locating equipment like printers and copiers closer to your desk.