When you’re running a small business that involves you employing staff members, and running your own office, there are many things that you will want to do in order to keep things ticking along properly and to reduce the risk of undue tension and conflict.
Part of what you need to do will focus around maintaining clearly-defined professional roles within the company in order to prevent people from stepping on each other’s toes, part of it will have to do with treating your employees in an honorable manner, and so on.
Keeping a harmonious office setting, however, is always going to be a major factor in the success of your business as a whole – and the satisfaction of the people who work for you, too.
Here are a few tips for creating a harmonious office setting.
Try to strike the right balance between co-working and private spaces
In his books on productivity and focus, Cal Newport comes to an interesting conclusion about the best office environment for productivity.
Specifically; he investigates evidence that co-working, open plan spaces are good for generating new ideas, whereas private working spaces are the best environment for actually doing high-quality, distraction-free work.
It’s not necessarily going to be possible for you to create a highly-tailored office environment, that features co-working spaces, in addition to focus-boosting “nodes” for undisturbed solo work. But, it may be worth keeping this principle in mind anyway, and including optional cubicles in addition to shared desks, in your office, if you can manage it.
Optimize lighting, and keep the environment “healthy”
Certain physical features of your office will simply lead to better mood and health outcomes among your employees – and that, obviously, is highly desirable.
One of the most important things to get right in your office is the lighting. This might mean installing custom commercial window blinds and blasting high-powered fluorescent lights on overcast days, in order to keep everyone as energized as possible, or it might mean finding an office with plenty of large windows that face in the right direction.
In either case, bright lights lead to higher energy levels and more productivity. It’s a feature of how our circadian rhythms work.
At the same time, it’s important to keep the environment “healthy” in terms of reducing dust and other allergens, and preventing things like legionnaires disease from spreading, via properly maintained cooling systems.
People work, and feel, better when the environment they’re in isn’t making them sick.
Introduce systems and routines that help to ensure everyone always knows what they should be doing
It’s difficult to maintain an office environment where people are happy to turn up to work each day, and are as productive as possible, if your employees are constantly stepping on each other’s toes, and are chronically unsure of what they should be doing.
Introduce systems and routines to your workplace to prevent this from happening, and to give everyone a clear sense of what they should be getting done at any given moment.
Kanban boards are one solution which is potentially very powerful here. Visual displays, around the office, that remind everyone of the task at hand, may well do a lot of good in general.