On average, we spend over 92,000 hours at work or in the office. For many of us, that means sitting behind a desk, in rooms that are various shades of beige. Are we happy with this? Increasingly not.
The Millennial generation – now the majority of the world’s workforce – is particularly sensitive to their office environment. Inspired by stories of indoor slides and mandatory massage breaks, younger employees seek out modern workplaces and expect a perfect balance of work and play.
So how can you compete in a world where the line between art gallery, nightclub and meeting room is becoming increasingly blurred? Before you order in the bean bags and beer fridge, know that there a few less drastic options that can instantly make your office a more attractive, productive and fun environment for your team.
It’s been shown that office plants can improve employee satisfaction, and raise productivity by 15%. Dotting a few pots around the office is an easy and inexpensive way to liven up functional spaces, and quickly add a “homely” feel. Ferns, cacti and spider plants all require relatively little maintenance, or if you’re really stretched for time, invest in some quality fake plants.
More sunlight during the day means we sleep better at night, making us more energised for work the next day. Maximise the natural light from your windows by rearranging furniture, and removing clutter from windowsills. A commercial blinds specialist can help you pick attractive and functional window dressings to prevent glare from bright sunshine, and keep out prying eyes after hours.
In our climate, we often can’t rely on natural light alone to illuminate our desks. Overhead commercial lightboxes are functional but uninviting, so complement them with hidden spotlights and wall fittings if you can. Freestanding lamps look warm and welcoming in reception areas or breakout rooms, but make sure you keep busy walkways free from trailing wires.
Even budget hotels have paintings in their rooms, so you had better make sure that your office has some kind of wall decoration. Wall vinyls are a playful, inexpensive way to cover large spaces, or if your budget allows, you could commission a mural. For a more sophisticated feel, opt for some elegant framed prints hung in prominent locations. Many modern offices use chalkboard paint, or whiteboard paper in meeting rooms for sharing ideas – just don’t forget to supply the chalk and pens!
A pop of colour can add personality and vibrancy to an otherwise ordinary office. You can (but don’t have to) stick to your brand hues, just make sure the shade you choose doesn’t clash with your carpets if you’re keeping them. You don’t even have to paint every wall – sticking to a “feature” wall can have just as much impact, and be less overwhelming if you want a particularly bright shade.
An office doesn’t have to become an extension of our living rooms, but surrounding ourselves with a few small personal items will make us feel more relaxed and comfortable. Encourage your workforce to bring photographs, mugs and pen pots into work, and reap the benefits of a less stressed team.
A few small adjustments can make a surprising difference to your office environment without breaking the budget. If these small additions whet your appetite for bolder changes, a quick online search can offer plenty of whimsical and striking inspiration.