For your business to grow and succeed, you need to focus on the things that will move the needle. Your people and your company’s ability to execute fall high on that list.
That means not only investing in top talent but also paying attention to how you can help your employees work at their highest potential.
It’s true that even the highest-performing employee can sometimes feel stressed, overwhelmed, or unmotivated. But as a leader, you have the ability to create working conditions that will set your people up to be able to give you their best.
From employee well-being to office design, here are five things you can focus on to increase productivity in your workplace:
1. Make wellness a part of the work day
Exercise is often associated with the goals of weight loss and improved physical health. But a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise (and a nutritious diet!) can actually improve your brain’s ability to function as well. This includes strengthening your memory and thinking skills.
Research shows that nearly any type of exercise, from walking or running, weightlifting or participating in organized sports, can contribute to improved cognitive performance.
Meditation also offers a wide variety of positive effects. Both physical exercise and mindfulness training helps boost focus and work performance, improve quality of sleep and mood, and decrease anxiety and stress.
It’s no surprise, then, that wellness habits can help make employees more productive. In fact, a UK study revealed that those who have access to and use a company gym are more productive during the day. But you don’t need a company gym to incorporate wellness into the work day!
Many companies choose to support wellness by offering employees a personal spending account for fitness expenses, such as the Honeybee Allowance Account. A fitness allowance makes it easier for employees to invest in healthy exercise, and it also demonstrates that you care about their wellbeing.
2. Let there be (natural) light
How much sunshine does your office space get?
Sunlight boosts serotonin, a hormone that helps lift your mood and keep you calm and focused. If you don’t get enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip. That’s why people are likely to be more depressed during the winter season, when the days are shorter.
In fact, one study shows that those who work in windowed offices that provide exposure to sunlight are able to sleep better at night, have more energy for physical activities, and their overall quality of life is better than those who don’t.
If employees don’t get enough sunlight throughout the day, their brain cannot produce enough melatonin to help them sleep better at night and focus during the day.
Not producing enough melatonin can put people at risk of developing a sleep disorder, headaches, depression, shorter attention spans and memory loss. That means that they’ll likely be more tired, stressed, and less productive at work.
If moving to an office with more windows isn’t an option for you right now, you can get creative! During the summer you might suggest employees take their meetings outdoors, either walking and talking, or sitting at a patio and have your discussion over coffee. You could also consider changing your light bulbs to full-spectrum LED lights. While they’re not the same as natural light, they’re the closest thing to it!
3. Encourage continuous learning
Consider this: making time for learning in the workplace can have a pretty amazing return on investment, both mentally and professionally.
Research conducted by LinkedIn has found that professionals who identified as “heavy” learners—those who devote more than five hours a week to things like reading, taking classes and watching online courses—reported being happier, less stressed, and more productive and confident than those who spent less time learning.
As an added bonus, LinkedIn also found that a whopping 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.
So encouraging your employees to take the time to learn should be a no-brainer. This could be with the goal of mastering new skills, such as learning a new software program or a tool, or it could simply be to read widely about their industry.
But if you want to let your employees know that you’re really and truly invested in them, providing them with an education allowance is the way to go. Honeybee’s Allowance Accounts can be set up to easily reimburse agreed upon education expenses like books, online courses, professional development events, and more.
4. Decorate your office space with the right colours
Did you know research shows that employees who work in a white workplace are less productive than those in offices with coloured walls? Too much white, bland grey or beige can even inflict feelings of sadness and depression.
But if you’re not ready to paint the walls themselves, don’t fret! Sometimes little pops of colour can have a big impact. Consider the colour of your office furniture, accessories, and other decorative pieces like artwork.
Colour has a significant impact on our moods, so when you’re designing your office space, keep in mind what hues you’re using. Low-wavelength colours like a calm green or blue help improve efficiency and focus. Green is also the easiest on the eyes, and it can spur innovation and creativity. Meanwhile, blue is said to promote communication and trust, so it’s a great colour for boardrooms and collaborative spaces.
On the other hand, high-wavelength colours, like red, tend to create a sense of urgency and can even elevate heart rates upon sight. But if your goal is to create a high-energy work environment, consider incorporating orange in your office decor. Yellow is also a great option, as it stimulates and promotes a sense of optimism.
Think of the different nooks and rooms in your office and how you can incorporate colour to enhance their purposes!
5. Provide a variety of work settings
Another design-related factor that can have a significant impact on workplace productivity is your office plan. There was a point when open-plan offices were all the rage, with claims that they help boost morale and collaboration. But now there are studies finding open-concept workplaces may actually be hindering interaction and collaboration.
So, what gives? The reality is that people don’t all work the same way, and different tasks may require different types of environments. An office brings together all kinds of people from many different departments – Marketing, Accounting, Customer Service, Engineering, etc. – and each of these people will have different tasks which are likely to require different types of working environments.
The key is to do your best to create an office plan that has a variety of settings for employees to work in. Many of today’s offices have casual areas with couches, open spaces and closed areas like little booths for private working or making conference calls, meeting rooms that spark inspiration, and other unique settings for employees to work their best.
Honeybee Allowance Accounts are a great way to support a productive, happy, and healthy workplace culture. Simply decide how much to offer per employee per month and choose which expense categories you’d like to offer, like fitness, education, transportation, childcare, and many more. From there, Honeybee makes it effortless to manage account balances and reimburse employees.
If your business has at least 10 employees and will be funding your Allowance Accounts with $50/employee/month or more, you qualify for our FREE plan. Book a demo to get started!