Designing Workplaces for Employee Happiness

Workplace values are changing, and for the better. In many of today’s top corporations, productivity is being replaced with engagement as the primary driver for employee policies. Companies are wising up to the idea that happiness can translate to productivity, and that they don’t have to drive with force in order to get things done. Employees who are happy at work are noticeably different from employees who simply show up in order to earn a paycheck. While a certain salary may be able to get people to work longer hours or apply to jobs they aren’t otherwise interested in, it can’t make them committed to a company’s mission or steer them away when a more lucrative opportunity comes along. Plus, studies show that happy employees are 12% more productive than those who are not. In many cases, a higher salary is not a motivator once a specific economic threshold is met. Once people’s basic needs and lifestyle are met, money can’t make them happier. However, creating a workplace where work-life balance is valued, people’s talents are celebrated, and employees can see the difference they’re making can help create a loyal staff. Offering these intangible benefits can motivate employees to work harder and stay at the company longer. If you want to weave happiness into your company culture, there are several ways you can change your building’s infrastructure and policies:
  • Offer comfort – Office spaces are often designed for aesthetics rather than comfort, which makes employees miserable. There is no reason you need an office to look a certain way if it doesn’t serve the person in the chair. Make comfort a priority when choosing furnishings and general building design.
  • Create inviting outdoor spaces – Being trapped in a sterile, artificial office all day is the fear of many modern employees. They want to feel not only mentally engaged but physically cared for as well. Providing places outside where employees can walk, get fresh air, and enjoy a little sunshine can help them feel less trapped and isolated at work.
  • Support work-life balance suited to individual needs – Culture is adapting to all types of lifestyles and all types of work schedules, from the part-timer to the workaholic. By allowing people to choose the rok-life balance they want through part-time, work-from-home, and accommodating vacation options, you can engage employees at the stage in life they’re currently experiencing.
We spend a third of our lives at work – making the office a place where that time can be enjoyed is the key to employee retention and productivity over the long haul. To learn more about ways you can improve your facility for employee health and happiness, visit our Resource Center.

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