When people go to work, they don’t expect to relax like they’re on vacation. Some career-related stress is inevitable, but the work environment shouldn’t cause distress too. This guide explains how to make your workplace more comfortable for all employees without requiring a big budget.
Big and small businesses can use these tips to welcome every new and existing team member. With a little planning and consideration, any office can foster lasting happiness during the busiest times.
1. Find the Perfect Temperature
Co-workers who passive-aggressively change the thermometer setting add tension to the workplace. The issue is backed by science more than you might assume. A recent study found that men and women completed cognitive tasks better at different temperatures. Men did better in colder environments and women did well when it was warmer.
Settle the office thermostat war in the mid-70s to please both crowds. Everyone should feel less tense right away because they won’t feel too cold or hot while they’re on the clock. If you’re not sure which temperature would work best, take a survey and keep the thermometer at the setting that gets the most votes.
2. Emphasize Natural Lighting
Move planters away from windows to let the sunshine in. Researchers discovered that daylight improved overall office mood by regulating human physiology. People feel comfortable when they’re at ease, which is easy to solve with a little sunlight.
While you determine which windows get the most natural lighting, make sure you keep your blinds. If anyone sits directly in the sun’s glare in the afternoon, they can pull the blinds so they don’t overheat.
Don’t have any good windows? Allow everyone to work outside. Set up a few benches or tables so they can get some fresh air when they feel too cooped up. It’s another way to access sunshine and give employees more control over where they work.
3. Use Allergen-Free Cleaners
Some standard cleaners have allergens like ammonia and formaldehyde. Even if a cleaning crew wipes down the bathroom at night, the odors could still irritate someone’s skin and lungs. Switch to allergen-free cleaning products to ensure that they aren’t why people feel uncomfortable or sick at work.
4. Learn About Common Triggers
Every office manager or business owner should learn about overcoming common triggers that could affect addicts in recovery or people with mental health diagnoses. Anything from feeling lonely to dealing with workplace stigma ostracizes anyone in recovery.
Offering social activity programs and even routine mental health days is a simple way to make everyone feel welcome without pointing out who’s a former addict.
5. Educate Leaders About Inclusive Vocabulary
Words are powerful, especially if someone hears discriminatory or prejudiced conversations. Some people will mean what they say, but others might not realize the impact of their words. Educate company leaders about using inclusive vocabulary in documents and meetings to make every space comfortable for all team members.
6. Treat Employees to Lunch
There’s a reason most promotional marketing campaigns include free or discounted food. People love a tasty snack that doesn’t cost a dime, so treat your employees to lunch. Ask a local restaurant for their most popular dishes and any that tailor to food sensitivities like gluten, nuts, or seafood. Everyone gets a free meal that turns into increased workplace happiness.
7. Create an Inclusivity Representative
Even if you have the best intentions and spend hours researching, you might miss something that makes someone uncomfortable at work. Unless you share their specific experience, some forms of discrimination or tension could slip under your radar.
Creating an inclusivity representative is an excellent way to give team members a voice. If someone feels too nervous or embarrassed to address issues directly with their supervisor, they can reach out to their representative about specific experiences.
An anonymous message or quick email will call your attention to ongoing issues and point towards solutions that make your workplace welcoming for everyone. A trained representative will also have the professional knowledge to handle tough situations without seeming dismissive or confrontational.
8. Support Workstation Creativity
Some offices have strict rules about what employees can put on their desks. Even if the intent is to streamline the overall interior design, it stifles creativity and makes people feel like they can’t be themselves. A recent study concluded that employees who have control over their work environment experience more job satisfaction because they feel at home.
Give them the freedom to decorate with plants, pictures, and work-appropriate knick-knacks. It won’t hurt the interior design scheme to have personalized desks, especially if everyone feels more comfortable where they spend 40 hours out of their week.
Make Your Workplace More Comfortable Today
Use these tips to make your workplace more comfortable for all employees. Consider their experiences, preferences, and what makes them unhappy right now. You’ll come to the best solutions for everyone and make the office a welcoming environment for current and future team members.