Ensure that your office is conveying the right message – cultivate a friendly and welcoming office environment.
It’s not unusual for people to spend more time in the office than they do in their own homes. So, it makes sense that if the office experience is a comfortable and welcoming one, employees will feel more content and, as a result, more productive.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of resources or time to create an office experience that is warm and inviting. If you’re an employer wondering how you might improve morale, satisfaction, and efficiency in the office, it may be as simple as some changes to your office decor.
Make a great impression on newcomers and long-time employees alike. Here are a few easy tips for creating an environment that is inviting and welcoming to help enrich everyone’s experience in your office.
Changing up the colours in your office might be one of the most budget-friendly ways to transform your office experience.
We respond to colours in so many wonderful ways — it can have such a profound influence on our mood and state of mind. Given that, colour is profoundly vital in a work or office environment. Consider the impact, or lack thereof, of a row of colourless cubicles or institutional gray walls, and consider how you’ve felt spending time in that kind of environment.
As you consider the colour scheme of your workplace, explore the principles of colour psychology before you bring in the painters. Try to coordinate the colours you choose with the kind of work your employees perform. For instance, if yours is a creative agency, incorporate purple. If the work is more analytical, consider shades of blue.
The colours you choose can help to create working conditions that are far more optimal to the performance of your team. Color is an easy way to transform a drab and boring conference room into a more welcoming space encouraging more inspired collaboration and brainstorming.
As well, adding punches of colour with accent furnishings or details is a great way to communicate your company’s vision, culture, and brand.
Vary flooring materials
Depending on your budget, consider a variety of flooring materials. Varying materials – rug, tile, hardwood – throughout the office can be an attractive yet effective way to add a more inviting aesthetic while at the same time, defining the space according to task.
For example, use sleek, durable, and long-lasting hardwood to define your high-traffic reception area – it provides high impact and visibility of your culture and brand. Opt for sound-absorbing carpeting or an area rug in the conference room. Define sections of open spaces with punchy, graphic, or colourful area rugs to help identify task areas.
Bring nature indoors
Humans are innately drawn to nature – it has a profound impact on our state of mind and mental health. So, it makes sense that one of the best ways to create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere to your office is to incorporate natural elements, particularly those that are living.
Potted plants are an easy way to bring living nature indoors. Hugely therapeutic, houseplants are known to help relieve stress and promote calm, wellness, and productivity.
Psychologists from Exeter University discovered that employees were 15 percent more productive with the addition of only a couple of house plants into the office. In one study, when researchers simply added one plant per square meter into a London office, memory performance and other tests improved significantly. According to the lead researcher of the study, Craig Knight, “what was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk.”
Another way to bring nature indoors is to allow for natural light. Most of us experience an adverse reaction to a space that is devoid of windows and light from outdoors.
Whenever possible, allow for the presence of natural light from windows to help your office feel inviting and pleasant. Indeed, some offices and buildings don’t have that option. If you don’t have access to window light, the best alternative is to provide lighting that imitates that from a window.
Natural light, or a good imitation, will help make your office experience much more pleasant, and your staff will be in a much better mood because of it.
Create gathering spaces
Encouraging your employees to gather and interact, regardless of the employment hierarchy, is an essential factor of an inviting and productive office.
When your teams have comfortable, inviting spaces in which to get together, either spontaneously or planned, they are more creative and inspired – ideas and collaboration are encouraged to flow.
This may be an ample open space central to all the individual offices, or it could mean moving away from an entirely open concept in favour of casually furnished “breakout rooms” where workers can comfortably hang out and brainstorm.
Add art to your decor
A fantastic way to encourage a sense of welcome is to include artwork in your decor. It provides the space with personality and character, not to mention communicating a lot about who your company is.
Art is known to enhance creativity, so it is particularly helpful if your team does creative work.
Custom artwork is a beautiful way to convey your brand and message as part of your office interior design. Look to graphic imagery, photography, and other media to help capture the spirit of your brand and culture. Keep in mind that original artwork can include logos painted on walls with engaging typography and complementary visuals.
Consider a conversation piece to provide an instant impression of your workplace. Not only can it make a bold statement, but it can help define the space and offer creative inspiration to your team at work nearby.
Organize your clutter
Consider clutter public enemy number one when it comes to productivity. A cluttered and disorganized workspace can take up attention, even unconsciously. Our brain interprets clutter, piles, and mess as something that needs managing, and in time causes restlessness and lack of focus if it isn’t.
We work better in a tidy space. An organized and clean environment makes the workplace more pleasant and inviting for employees and makes a good impression with visitors and clients.
To encourage office organization, set up a system for managing clutter, and ensure you provide the appropriate storage space to help keep things in order.
Personal items – flowers, framed artwork or photographs, that silly coffee mug, a special greeting card from a loved one, drawings employees’ kids made at school – can go a long way, creating an inviting and comfortable workplace.
When workers bring tidbits from their life at home to the office, they feel more connected to the space. Additionally, personal items can provide a source of comfort when they encounter workplace stress, helping them cope a little better when faced with the demands of the job.
Have coffee brewing!
For generations, coffee has become ubiquitous with the workplace. For many of us, it’s the drink of choice at work, and is an integral part of any break, rest, or socializing that happens during the workday.
A hot cup of coffee can warm us up on a cold winter morning, and an iced coffee refreshes on a hot summer afternoon. There is an endless selection of office coffee machines for just about every budget, so there’s no excuse not to provide one for your employees. It’s become an office essential and will help boost office morale. It also has a delightful, inviting smell that, when it fills the office, helps contribute to the comfort of the space, even for those who don’t drink coffee.
Similarly important is providing a kitchen area or snack bar. People love to nibble on treats or have a place to keep their lunch fresh. It can also be a source of comfort, knowing they don’t have to leave for the store to find nourishment on breaks or during lunch.
Provide fun treats but also plenty of healthy alternatives, so your employees don’t have to work on an empty stomach. A convenient snack area will help increase workers’ productivity, in addition to job satisfaction.
Some companies have the budget to build a large, central cafeteria or coffee station. Offering such a space for your workforce helps to create a more cohesive office culture that better engages new hires and retains your existing employee roster.