11 April 2017

Answer these questions to improve your office environment


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Employee engagement Health and wellbeing Strategy culture and values


Is everyone in your office happy and productive? A good office environment’s a difficult and time-consuming thing to get right but is one of the most sought after requirements where talent’s concerned.

Asking yourself some straightforward and often obvious questions can help you to understand and will help improve office environment for both you and your employees.

Is there an atmosphere (of any kind) in your office?

office atmosphereIs the office environment one of dead silence where you’d hear a pin drop? Bustling offices are more productive, more inspiring, more collaborative and, more often than not, happier places to spend the day.

As well as ambient noise which is known to increase productivity, discussions spontaneously happening throughout the day will inspire ideas. If conversations or even debates are simply part of the normal office day, then there’s less of a need for scheduled meetings which, as we all know, can be counter-productive.

Sitting in a silent office for any length of time is soul-destroying and isn’t conducive for creativity or inspiration. One of the most important things that talent is now looking for is a real company culture, where being in the office has purpose and meaning. If your offices are devoid of any sort of culture, then why would anyone want to work in it, present or future?

Are people in your office passionate about their role?

employee-passionNatural passion is something that every recruiter and employer will look for and often use as a deciding factor when choosing a new employee. If passion dwindles once an employee’s been working for the business for any length of time, then instead of pointing the finger at that employee, ask yourself, as a business leader, why has their passion begun to wane?
If employees aren’t passionate about what they do and their beliefs, then maybe it’s your office environment that’s to blame. Do you encourage people to put their suggestions forward? Do you really listen to suggestions from employees and act upon them when appropriate?

If it’s all one-way traffic from above and employees aren’t allowed a say in the future of the business or how it’s run day to day, then they’ll start to lose interest. Lack of passion is also a sign that an employee is probably looking (or at least thinking of looking) elsewhere for a job.

Does creativity thrive in your office?

Is innovation commonplace in your business? Are there sketches, diagrams, charts or doodles of ideas on whiteboards and pads throughout your offices? Encouraging creativity from every person working in the business will drive innovation and push your business forward – ahead of the competition.

Everything, from the lighting you use to adding plants into the office can improve the environment and encourage creativity.

Are employees honest with their opinions and suggestions?

Are your employees confident that their suggestions or opinions will be listened to and heard by leaders? Are suggestions acted upon by the business or simply ignored and treated as a way of allowing employees to think they have a say?
Your workforce is on the shop floor, the ones speaking to customers every day and the ones using your business tools constantly. If anyone knows what works and what doesn’t in the day to day environment then it’ll be your employees.

Not listening to the people who have the most experience in these areas is madness and will have an adverse affect on your office environment, not to mention trust, respect and productivity.

Are leader’s decisions respected or just obeyed?

leadership trainingThere’s a big difference between a manager and a leader. A manager simply delegates and oversees the work being done by their employees to make sure deadlines and objectives are met.
A leader inspires their team and strives to improve how things are done and the working lives of those people doing them.

Are people in the office simply taking orders from their manager or are they part of the workings of an energised and happy team?

Are employees rewarded (or even recognised) for their accomplishments?

Offering sincere thanks for a job well done is a simple and very effective way to reward employees. Showing genuine gratitude for the efforts people make on the brand’s behalf will inspire similar efforts from others and illustrate that your people are truly valued.

If employee’s efforts continue to be unnoticed or appreciated, then why would they go above and beyond in the future?

Do you know what motivates your employees? If you do, then tailoring rewards for individuals is a very effective strategy to encourage and inspire them and promote a positive work environment.

Do all employees work toward the same business goals and share its values?

Business values and brand messaging are important elements of marketing for any company, but your employees also need to be of the same mindset. What makes a good team? If your people don’t believe in, or simply ‘don’t know’, your core values, then how are they supposed to show through in the services you supply or the products you make?

An effective onboarding process can improve this alignment, however, existing employees also need to be ‘on board’ with what your brand stands for and is trying to achieve.

Is everyone given the opportunity and tools to collaborate?

employee-collaborationDo you supply the best tools to enable your employees to collaborate and work as a team? Are the various departments within your company aware of what the each other is doing?

Central hubs of communication and regular discussions (not necessarily meetings) help to keep all employees up to date on what everyone is working on, achievements and where extra work might be required to meet a deadline.

In a world where we can work from any location and at any time, collaboration tools are more important than ever to remain productive and effective as a team.
By ensuring that there are solutions available to your employees that allow them to be effective from wherever they choose to work, it’ll not only benefit them, but your brand too.

So, take a look around you, is your work environment a hive of activity and productive discussion or a silent void where, on the surface, nothing appears to be happening?