The 8 Best Ways to Optimize Your Office for the New Year

Office Space Improvements for a New & Better Year

Take a good look at your office just the way it is. No really, take a real hard glance at what your office looks like on a day to day basis.

What do you see?

Does your office need a little sprucing up before the year is out? Or does it need a hardcore makeover?

Sure you could play interior decorator if you don’t like the physical layout of the office. That’s not all we’re talking about though.

We’re also talking about what your employees are doing and how they’re interacting. What’s the vibe like, is there a lot of cohesive thinking going on or is everyone mostly doing their own thing?

Let’s go over some ways that you can prep your office for the new year.

Start With Your Physical Work Space

We’re starting this off simple by saying think about your physical workplace layout. Does your office look more traditional like this:

Boring Office Space

or does it have more of a modern startup feel with an open desk layout?

What you want to do in either case is optimize the room to fit with our senses: sight, touch, smell, and hearing.

Don’t focus so much on our sense of taste right now. When lunchtime rolls around we’ll bring it back to our tasting senses.

Many underestimate the impact that a few changes around the office can have on our work.

Even the smallest of changes to the lighting or adding a splash of color will positively affect the physical environment in which you work.

There’s always room for improvement so here are 4 crucial ways to improve your workspace.

1. Get Better Lighting

Proper lighting is best for the office

Try and get some natural lighting in as much as possible. Open the windows, move the desks so you get better light without creating a glare on the computer screen.

Also, try and make the lighting as uniform as possible.

The last thing you want to do is spotlight your desk. What this means is you don’t want to have a bright light trained on your desk when the rest of the room has normal light.

Bright lights can cause eye strain and headaches so it’s best to steer clear of that.

On the other hand, you don’t want to have the light too dim. Otherwise, people are going to get drowsy and lose their motivation to work.

What you can do is create a mix of both natural lighting during the day and incorporate an even-toned light later on.

No dim lighting and no spotlights!

2. Make it Feel Like Room Temperature, NOT the North Pole

Room temperature office space

It’s the middle of the day, 77 degrees Fahrenheit weather outside. It’s a normal day. It’s sunny out, but you still see everyone wearing their layers to ward off the chill.

Or maybe it’s the other way around. All you see is everyone trying to take their layers off.

Perhaps it’s time to give the temperature system a go, right?

At the very least find the person in control because there’s no use hiring employees if you’re paying them to be uncomfortable.

Aim for 72 degrees Fahrenheit (or 22 degrees Celsius) for optimal task performance, according to a study done by Helsinki University of Technology.

There’s no pleasing everyone, but you can please the majority.

3. Let There Be Smell

Smells can enhance your work space

Smells can pack quite a punch.

In fact, smells are indirectly linked to our memory and emotions. This is why some smells can make you feel nostalgic or reminiscent of a time long ago.

Similar to colors, different smells can trigger different states of being.

26% of participants in a study demonstrated more hits in a Snowball Fight video game when exposed to peppermint.

Suffice to say, peppermint keeps the mind alert and engaged.

Lavender reduces stress so it’s best to infuse it in break rooms or more relaxing areas for people to unwind. Citrus scents also help to alleviate stress and reduce mental exhaustion.

All you have to do is buy a couple candles, get a couple incense sticks, or invest in aromatherapy. Your employees and their noses will thank you for it.

4. Switch Up the Environment

Stop staring at the white walls. It might be the case that you or your employees are more inspired by a meeting room with lots of windows.

Some people might consider some areas more calming than others for working like the cafe around the block, a different room, one’s own couch, etc.

Encourage a change of scenery every once in a while since it can help spark your employees’ creativity.

Other ways that can help spruce up your office is just by creating better visuals.

Adding in some inspirational decor, a pop of color, and plants can make the slightest difference in a person’s workspace.

Plants are a great option since they improve air quality and overall well being. Some great office friendly plants to consider are Devil’s Ivy, Snake Plant, and Peace Lily.

Start Focusing on Company Culture

Corporate culture can give the company a competitive advantage

Now that we’ve got out physical workspace squared away, we’ve got higher mountains to climb.

We’re talking company culture here which is not as simple as adding in a couple plants and calling it perfect.

Company culture is the vibe that employees create together when they’re at work. It’s the feel they get when they’re with each other that influences them to do their best.

Creating an awesome culture serves 4 purposes:

  1. Attract new talent
  2. Keep employees happy
  3. Positive productive workspace
  4. Competitive advantage

You want people to come to work not only because of their paycheck but because they genuinely enjoy what they do.

Without further ado let’s talk about how you can improve your company’s culture.

Choose the Right People for the Company

It all starts even before you start looking at ways to improve the synergy amongst your own team.

When looking for new talent, don’t just look for the talent part of the individual. Think about how they would vibe with the current team you have now.

Think about their personality. How do you see them interacting with others? What’s their attitude like?

A great way to figure out if they’re a good fit for your company is to bring them on as a temporary employee. Bring them on as an intern even.

Call it a trial period of sorts. Use this time as a way for you and your existing team to determine if they fit well in the company.

One bad strawberry ruins the whole bunch so make sure you add people to the team that you feel can work well with each other.

Ensure that Employees Understand Company Values

There are many ways to maintain a culture that fits within the company. One key way is to ensure that new and old employees alike understand why they want to work at the company.

That’s why a popular question during interviews is to ask why an employee wants to work at a company.

You’re attempting to gauge their fit with not only existing employees but with the company as well.

Ensure that your team takes the company’s core values seriously.

It’s not enough to simply have core values and hope everyone abides by them. The best way for your team to fully grasp the company’s core values is to lead by example.

Embrace the company’s core values and live by them.

Employees are the ones who represent the company outside of work. When employees share the same values as the company, then they will be more dedicated in the work that they do.

They’ll be more invested in the company, providing higher quality work and ensuring the company’s long-term success.

Find Ways to Build Trust

Think of a generic relationship. To build trust, there must be honesty.

See where I’m going with this?

Same goes for a company’s relationship with their employees.

According to an American Psychological Association Survey, 25% of employees do not trust their employers.

If you want to prevent your company from falling into these statistics, it’s time to start building a healthy relationship.

Look at trust as a two-way road.

Employees have to trust their managers to give them the info they need to feel successful in their positions. Likewise, the company has to trust their employees to work with the company’s best interest in mind.

An excellent way to build trust in the workplace is to promote transparency.

Let your employees know what’s going on within the company. Find ways to involve them in more decision making to encourage problem-solving.

Empower them to speak up about what they like or don’t like about anything. It all really comes down to creating an open line of communication so everyone feels in the loop.

Trends Going Forward

We’ve covered what you can do to improve your own office space, but what will the office setting look like soon?

Here are some things that you can look forward to in the next few years.

1. Remote Work

Trends show more remote opportunities

Thanks to technology, we can be in more than one place at a time. Allowing employees the freedom to work from home allows them more control over their work-life balance.

Millennials especially find the idea of remote work appealing and is something they will look for.

It often is the case that, as companies become more tech-focused, there is more flexibility in terms of where employees work from.

2. Open, Odd, Abstract

Trend show work spaces becoming more open , odd, and abstract

It looks like modern offices will be getting a major makeover.

They’ll be more focused on factors that can improve the ambiance of a person’s workspace. This includes creating a place that is more experience driven.

What this means is that companies are striving to become more than just a place for work, but also a place for play among other things.

Game rooms, meditation areas, bars, etc., are all things that you’ll see more often in the next coming years.

3. Co-Working Spaces

These spaces are innovative as it is, housing many companies under one roof with their own multi-functional areas. Yet, they’re becoming even more innovative.

The norm is that every group has their own allocated area for getting things done. Going forward you’ll see a more ‘free-range’ layout.

The intention here is to create a sense of collaboration amongst these groups while fostering dynamic thinking.

Want more insight into the future?

Get inspired by these up and coming office trends:

Final Thoughts…

In with the new, out with the old. Now try and channel that mentality into the workplace.

The new year calls for some real changes and now is as good a time as any to get started.

Knowing who to bring on to the team, who to keep and who to let go is crucial to maintaining a good culture.

Build a community of individuals that believe in the work they do. Create a space that best supports their needs; one that boosts morale and motivates.

You’ll find that the workplace will no longer be a place to tolerate, but a place to enjoy.


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