It’s not hard to understand the attraction of working from home. When you’re working from your home office, you have more control over your environment, meaning you can cut out many of those distractions you typically find in a busy office. Additionally, the freedom to set your own hours and work from a space where you feel productive—not to mention the chance to skip the morning commute—offers employees greater opportunity for work-life balance. This freedom and flexibility is part of the reason why remote employees often report higher levels of productivity and satisfaction in their jobs.
For some businesses, it’s easy to implement remote working policies that’ll both appeal to employees and meet company needs. However, for some industries—specifically those that deal with face-to-face client meetings on a regular basis—it’s just not possible. This doesn’t mean that these companies can’t make fundamental changes that’ll boost productivity and morale, though. In fact, there are many ways in which organizations can update their office designs to make them feel as comfortable as a home office.
One of the biggest issues that comes with an open-plan office is an unavoidable level of noise and distraction. With everyone sharing a communal space, colleagues can easily collaborate and communicate, but this accessibility also means that getting some heads-down work done is often difficult.
Offering quiet areas for employees to use as needed is an easy way to help them concentrate and avoid distraction. Whether that means setting up quiet rooms where your team can focus or investing in office pods that offer the feeling of privacy, ensuring the office has places for employees to escape to when they need to get their work done is a great way to make employees feel more at home.
An easy way to make an office feel more homey is to pay attention to the furniture and decorative pieces in the space. Stay away from picking repetitive furniture that has no sense of personal style. Rather, curate your furniture with care so that the space feels more like home, where each item was picked out carefully. There are a number of office furniture design companies doing big things to transform drab office environments, so prioritize your organization’s furnishings to create a more inviting office vibe. Also, reinvent sterile spaces by adding decor that’s fun and stylish. The particular nature of these items will depend on the office structure and culture of a company, but they should bring warmth and personality to the office.
Not everyone can work from a tropical paradise overlooking beaches and palm trees, but the good news is that bringing even a small bit of greenery into your office space can have a soothing effect. Studies show that having plants in the office has numerous benefits for employees, including boosted creativity and reduced stress.
Recent research by Drayton showed that many people find natural light to have a positive impact on a workspace as well. Avoid unnatural, fluorescent bulbs used in more industrial spaces and incorporate softer lighting— like you have at home—to create a sense of comfort.
A big benefit of working from a home office is the ability to schedule your work around the other responsibilities in your life. If you’ve got other chores to take care of early in the morning—or you’re simply not feeling inspired—you can start late and work into the evening. Luckily, there are ways to implement flexible working hours so that employees are more comfortable at the office and don’t feel confined to a specific space for a long period of time. It can be as simple as allowing them to choose what hour they come in and leave, or implementing a policy that allows for employees to work from home one day a week. You could also encourage team meetings to be held at a local coffee shop or some other off-site location.
The ability to work from home offers employees a number of important benefits, not least of which is greater work-life balance. However, just because employees are required to come into the office everyday doesn’t mean that job satisfaction has to suffer. There are numerous ways employers can carefully redesign an office to make it feel more like a home, thereby creating a welcoming, calming and productive environment for employees. Remote working is not always an option for every industry, but adding a few homey touches and quiet spaces to the office is something just about every company can do.
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