By Isabelle Smith
So you’ve got a strong team beneath you and the keys to your shiny new offices, but what are you including in your work space in order to keep productivity high and make your staff comfortable on a day to day basis? Whilst it probably isn’t at top of your list when it comes to growing and developing your agency, making sure that the office/ workspace that you provide for your team is a good working environment is key when it comes to ensuring they are happy and productive. It’s also important to have a good office environment to boost the image of your agency to potential clients and candidates, especially if you tend to conduct meetings within your office itself.
This is not to say that you have to spend a lot of money buying expensive items in order to improve your workspace; there’s a lot of research out there that shows small, inexpensive implementations really can make all the difference. We’ve had a look at a wide range of these and have selected a few of our favourites:-
Bad lighting exposure over an extended period of time cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches and overall irritability – not the kind of vibe that you want in your office. Although it may seem fairly basic, having natural light stream through your office has been proven to reduce feelings of tension, isolation and stress in the workplace. It will also make a major difference to those who are pulling long hours in the office; exposure to natural light can improve your sleep patterns at night and will likely make your team feel more energised during the day. Try to ensure that you have at least one window in your workspace to allow for this. After all, working in a dull, windowless office isn’t particularly appealing and could have an adverse effect on your sales.
In an energetic, sales-based office, it can often feel like there’s no escape from the constant hustle and bustle. Whilst it is important for your consultants to be working hard to make those all-important placements, from time to time they will also need a break from the fast-paced office to catch up on a few bits here and there that can often be neglected when closing deals. Your non-billing desks (operations, marketing, accounts etc..) would also benefit from having a quiet space within the office. This can be as simple as setting aside a meeting room for a few hours where you staff can sit in and catch up on work that requires more quiet, focused concentration away from the noisy sales floor.
Recent studies have shown that workers are 15% more productive in offices that have green houseplants in them because they engage more with their working environment. By adding a few plants into your workspace, you could see a 15% rise in billings as a result. This is an incredibly inexpensive yet effective way to positively boost your office environment. Not only will green plants make your employees more productive, but they have also been proven to reduce sickness in the workplace, reduce noise and also make the office air cleaner to breathe. A nice way to incorporate this into your agency could be to buy each employee a small desk plant either when they join your agency or on a work anniversary/ milestone.
THE OFFICE SMELL
Strange as it may seem, the overall scent in your office can make a difference to how productive your employees are. Our strong sense of smell affects our mindset, which in turn affects mood and productivity. There have been some ‘suggested scents’ which show increased productivity within a workspace. Pine is said to increase alertness, whereas Peppermint has been shown to lift your mood and increase energy. Any form of citrus scent will wake you up and refresh those Monday morning blues, while Lavender is useful for relaxing during a stressful day. Managing the smell within your office will be difficult, mostly because not everyone will appreciate the various scents you could choose from. It’s probably best to go for the more normal, subtle smells such a citrus but it’s important to make sure that these aren’t overwhelming.
…or lack thereof. There’s nothing worse than an entirely cluttered workspace, both for having happy employees and ensuring that everyone is being as productive as possible. Having lunch wrappers, paperwork and old coffee mugs lying across the desks doesn’t look good, and doesn’t contribute to a good working environment. Try to ensure that your staff are being as clutter free as possible (and tidying up after themselves!). Having a good amount of storage and an organised filing system (both physically and digitally) are all good steps towards achieving this. Make sure that the tools to be organised are available to your staff, such as various pieces of stationery and facilities to keep the office itself fairly clean during the day.
As I said, these may seem like insignificant things when it comes to running your agency, but actually the time and cost it takes to implement them is a drop in the ocean compared to the positive effect it could have on your staff, and therefore your billings. Also, taking small steps to improve your office environment will show your staff that you care about them and hopefully contribute to retaining them within the company. Taking good care of your office and having a really nice workspace can also be good for marketing/ branding your agency – posting photographs from around the office onto social media will show both clients and candidates alike that you are a professional agency and likely make you more desirable to work with.