What can you do to improve your office workspace?

A new UK-wide survey has lifted the lid on what Britain’s workforce would change about their office space, given the chance.

When it comes to choosing a place to work, the office environment plays a big part in helping you decide. Claustrophobic, poorly lit cubicles have become a distant memory for many businesses who are striving to make their workspace welcoming, open and inspiring to their staff.

When you consider your own office, what are the first features that come to mind? Is it well lit with natural light? Does the furniture look comfortable and relaxing? Is the space welcoming and friendly to a newcomer?

These questions often don’t enter your thoughts when choosing an office as space, particularly in large cities, comes at a premium and it is often simpler to pick an office space for pragmatic reasons over aesthetic.

But research shows that Brits take their environment seriously, as more than half of job hunters say they would actually turn down a position if they didn’t like the workspace.

Restricting your options when recruiting is never good, so consider these simple steps to help improve your workspace.

Personalising the workplace

It appears that seemingly insignificant factors can have a dramatic impact on how we feel about our workspace – and atmosphere in particular plays a significant part. Consider allowing staff members to take design and personalisation into their own hands.

Staff will feel like they have ownership of the space and feel like they have made decisions that impact the company, so it is never a bad idea to encourage some creative discussion amongst employees when designing your office.

If you have a younger workforce, consider an art wall to encourage staff to make their mark on the office with graffiti or pictures. It goes without saying that you will need to remain vigilant on what is put on the wall, but encouraging group design will make it feel personal for you and your business.

Want a brew?

Amenities are also on the agenda when it comes to improving UK offices. It might add an extra cost onto your business, but adding a coffee/snacks machine or a water cooler to the office is shown to be extremely important to workers. The humble kettle is vital to many businesses, but splashing the cash on a dedicated coffee machine can make all the difference to a caffeine driven workforce.

Overhauling office design

Small, strategic changes could mean big improvements for working environments across the UK – as some Brits lay blame on less than luxurious office furniture and uninspiring workplace decor.

With many office workers spending upwards of eight hours a day in their office chair, employees can be forgiven for desiring more comfortable sitting arrangements. There are a wealth of ergonomic office chairs that can help improve posture for workers and also match with your colour scheme – for those who consider interior design as a must.

Spending all day cooped up in the office can be demoralising for staff members, remember that natural light is enormously beneficial to morale. Larger windows that allow light to flow through the space can open up the area and make rooms seem less claustrophobic.

Shall we go for lunch?

We are often told not to eat where we sleep because it encourages our brains to associate sleep and relaxation with food – a decidedly unhealthy habit to pick up. The same can be said for where we work. Having a separate area where employees can take a break from work, relax and eat, will help them cut down on bad habits such as continual eating at the desk.

A social area for staff to move to and recharge their batteries, catch up with each other and eat their lunch is vital to creating a welcoming and refreshing office workspace.

Owen Gough

Fred Morissette

Owen Gough is a reporter for SmallBusiness.co.uk. He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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