Most people have experienced walking into a workplace and immediately feeling the unhappiness in the air. There is no way of pinpointing exactly what is wrong usually, but the discontent is almost audible and the staff give bad service or don’t do half as much work as those will who are happy in their workplace. Sometimes even the staff themselves don’t know why they are not happy at work, but often there are very clear reasons and, if addressed, can improve the quality of life for staff and customers alike.
A stuffy room quickly becomes very depressing and with a low oxygen level everyone’s mood is worse and their productivity low. When this is caused by bad ventilation there is usually a reasonably quick fix available in the way of fans or ducting. If an office refurbishment is on the cards, then incorporating good air conditioning is a real investment because although it is not inexpensive, it nevertheless can decrease casual sickness substantially as well as being a mood enhancer and productivity increasing change. In an open plan office there are often windows on both sides of a room. Fixing the amount a window can open is a wise precaution to prevent papers flying everywhere and also of course there is a safety implication if the windows are large.
Lighting is very important in an office because it is very tiring to be constantly peering to see paperwork or small parts. Just because people work mainly on screen they should not be asked to work in poor light because they can get quite depressed if they don’t get enough light in a working day. Using the day length is important to keep in touch with the seasons and a human being is hard wired to different behaviours at different times of year – mess with that at your peril. It is also important to make sure that there are no strong shadows. Working in your own light is very frustrating and no one will be happy in the dark. An office refurbishment is a great opportunity to look at lighting and it is a real treat to staff if due attention is paid as to who is right and who is left handed – this can make a huge difference in regards of where the light source comes from.
This is very hard to deal with but essentially bullying flourishes in offices where there are opportunities for the bully to be alone one to one. It isn’t always easy to identify who is the bully – often when the situation reaches boiling point and someone is uncovered the reaction of most people is surprise. Any employer who feels that there may be bullying in the workplace should weed it out as soon as possible but thereafter it is a good plan to make sure that there are no opportunities for this behaviour. Having an open plan office is often all it needs but also having good communal facilities will help eradicate the problem. An unhappy office doesn’t keep staff long and they often are off sick before they leave, so keeping everyone smiling makes good financial sense too.
Article by Rebecca Fearn, freelance copywriter who often writes for Fraser Projects.