Our environment can influence our mood, feeling of wellbeing, motivation and even our loyalty, so it’s an important element to get right.
That’s even more true now many of us have embraced working from home.
If you want to encourage people back to the office, you need to make sure it’s a nice place to be!
Ask any job applicant for their priorities and high on the list will be the working environment.
They will likely mention light, cleanliness, space, social areas, facilities and modernity on their list.
While it’s unrealistic to expect you to provide offices like Apple Park or Google’s Mountain View Campus, the more you can do to improve your working space, the more likely you are to attract and retain staff.
With that in mind, we have a few practical tips you can use to prepare your office for the great return.
Maximise natural light
One thing common in many British offices is poor light. Whether it’s at the wrong angle, hidden by other buildings or trees or diffused by vertical blinds, light is rarely done right.
After so long at home in comfortable surroundings, many of us have become used to as much light as we want without interruption.
The more you can do to improve light in your office, the better staff will feel.
We all know natural light improves our mood, helps improve sleep and reduce eye fatigue, all of which can benefit the business as well as staff.
Space to work and feel safe
Balancing the needs of accommodating a set number of staff within a finite space and the need for space has never been easy.
It’s now more important than ever as we all appreciate that a little distance keeps us healthy.
Set aside quiet areas
Another benefit of working from home was the peace and quiet. For some of us anyway!
Setting aside a quiet area for staff to spend a few minutes is another way to help boost morale and productivity.
Whether it’s to think about a client brief, mentally rehearsing a meeting, email reply, an interview or calming down after a particularly challenging customer meeting, a quiet space will help.
Just make sure you mandate no meetings in those spaces so they remain quiet!
Add social spaces
One thing we have all missed over the past couple of years is social interaction. We all know Zoom meetings are no substitute for real meetings or catching up with friends and colleagues.
Therefore, we would suggest adding breakout areas for catching up. As long as people use their time responsibly, this could add a significant benefit for new employees and a reason to return for existing staff working from home.
Add coworking spaces
If your experience is anything like ours, collaboration and teamwork increased during remote working. There was a real Dunkirk spirit that many people bought into that helped increase productivity across the board.
You could continue that feeling by including simple coworking spaces where staff can sit and work together on projects.
It shouldn’t take much to set up and could give a genuinely beneficial effect on everyone concerned.
Keep the office clean
Hygiene is everything. Everyone knows the value and importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness of the environment.
Build on that with high quality cleaning and clearly visible markers staff can see.
Markers such as cleaners around during the day, tick sheets on the walls of bathrooms showing when they were last inspected or the smell of antibacterial cleaning solutions on desks.
Add some greenery
The link between plants, air quality and mood are well known. So why not use that in your office space?
We’re not talking about random plants in random places. Neither are we talking about expensive horticultural installations. Something in-between.
A coherent scheme of plants around the office to divide areas, cover up blank spaces or provide somewhere to look while you’re on the phone can make a genuine difference.
Hot desking is like Marmite. Some people love it while others really don’t. Including both types of working in your office layout can satisfy both types of people.
Those who like their own space with their own photographs and knick-knacks around them can have it.
Those who like the freedom and flexibility of not being tied to a single desk can work their way too.
As long as the two types of desks are in the same area and there are areas for coworking, meetings and collaboration, everyone should get what they want.
Those are just a few low cost, easy to achieve office ideas that can help attract new talent and retain existing talent.
They don’t have to cost much or be expensive to maintain but they will have a beneficial effect when it comes time to bring people back to the office.