Comfy Office, Happy Employees: 5 Easy Upgrades

Comfortable office spaces are a must for both you and your employees. A comfortable working environment will make your employees more productive. Whether you’re a retail outlet, a technical service provider, or a warehouse, here are five quick tips on how to increase the comfort factor at your office without breaking down the walls—or breaking the bank.

1)   Have a relaxation space available.

You probably aren’t going to construct a dedicated, glorified nap room like some companies have, but providing a dim, quiet room with comfortable furniture can be a great way to encourage employees to recharge for short periods. Walls painted in calming colors, muted light, and evena gentle noise machine can be great additions. Devise a simple schedule on the door where employees can sign in and out for 20-minute breaks. Short naps have been proven to increase alertness and performance (if you’re concerned about employees wasting time, think of it this way—a bright, alert hour is much better than a sluggish, half-awake hour and a half), but you can also simply dub the spot a site for relaxation, not necessarily sleep.

2)   Keep the office clean and decorated.

A messy, cluttered workspace often leads to a messy, cluttered mind. Piles of papers and unvacuumed floors can lead people to feel overwhelmed and unorganized. But keeping conference rooms tidy and work stations free for use can help make staff feel more focused, professional, and put-together. Plus, having a tidy office can help attract new hires: any potential employees being taken on a tour of the office will appreciate seeing the clean, organized workspace. Décor can matter too—maybe you can’t hire an interior decorator, but a small move like adding paintings or plants can be easy ways to keep employees inspired.

3)   Lighten up.

Studies show that natural light is best, but installing floor-to-ceiling windows isn’t always an option. In a pinch, plan your furniture layout in a way that doesn’t block the windows you do have. Avoid placing tall shelves or cubicles in front of any natural light sources. You also have the option of installing bulbs that replicate daylight or lights with a dimmer option. What’s most important is making sure that every area of the office is properly lit—no office or hallway should be too dark or too bright. Properly spaced light fixtures are a small trick that can make a huge difference.

4)   Celebrate!

Obviously celebrations shouldn’t become distractions, but small gatherings like donuts the morning after a big presentation can go a long way in terms of office morale. Your employees are one of your most valuable assets, so celebrating their birthdays, weddings, and work milestones. can boost feelings of goodwill among colleagues, and make the office a more comforting, friendly spot for them.

5)   Ask for input.

Cubicles or an open-space concept? Music, white noise or silence? These are individual preferences that you can’t know unless you ask. Inviting employees to participate in the office environment design shows that you want their voices to be heard. Only individuals know what will help them be most productive, and no two employees are the same. Pass out an informal survey or hold a strategic meeting to discuss the office environment so that you can make sure your office is a place where people are both comfortable and productive. Then, be sure to follow through on the recommendations you receive.

With a little forethought and a day or two of upgrades, you can make your office a more welcoming spot–that is, a place where employees get more work done.