3 Quick Hacks to Keep Your Office Fresh & Employees Happy
We live in an incredibly fast-paced culture where the latest technology drives our processes, and fashion, food and fad trends pop in and out of vogue as fast as whack-a-moles at the arcades of your childhood.
So why is it that we still cling to some frankly dated workplace traditions, just because we know of no other way? How can we change to keep up with the fast pace of life outside the office, inside the office?
Kick the long meetings
Firstly, kick the long meetings. Any office worker will know the feeling of being in a never-ending meeting, where your colleague who could be an understudy for David Brent won’t stop filling the room with their endless case studies of corporate jargon. In the midst of playing buzzword bingo with their speech, you realise that this isn’t even relevant to you, so why are you even here?!
This is at the crux of the problem - in a quest for greater transparency and communication, we have taken a step backward to super long meetings which cover every topic and angle possible. However, in a recent research into the culture of meetings, it was found that the time waster was not the extra from The Office, but the chairs. Although sitting in a meeting has become an established expectancy, these types of meetings take, on average, 34% longer than standing ones, with no damage to the ideas being generated.
Long meetings can feel like the mental equivalent of this
While some innovative companies have swapped desks for beanbags, many are still yet to follow suit. Adam Kingl, the Executive Director of Thought Leadership for London Business School Executive Education, has conducted a big study on the changing modern workplace. He commented that “due to the ever faster pace of business, competition and technology, business models are no longer ‘set’ for decades. They need to be evaluated on a fairly regular basis.” Although companies may find it hard to buck the trend, Adam’s comment asks businesses to see where they can make big incremental changes and small experimental switches to the pre-existing culture in order to keep up with the fast pace. Trying the standing meeting is a quick hack which ticks this box. Standing has been proven to keep us more alert and focused, which, in turn, can produce more creative ideas. While it may seem a little confrontational at first, it will promote better concentration and, ultimately, better health.
Flexible working hours
A second way we can keep up to date with the changing face of the workplace is by allowing staff members flexible working hours. While as a manager this may seem like a daunting prospect as staff members could start to stretch the boundaries of what is acceptable, research has shown that flexible working will make employees happier and more productive. Adam comments that “a lot of research demonstrates that trust is the fundamental quality that a team must possess if it has any hope to be characterised as high-performing”. With this in mind, handing the trust back to employees by letting them govern their working hours could very much be in the wider interest of the company.
In one of the largest global workplace surveys of its kind conducted by Vodafone, 83% of respondents said adopting flexible working had resulted in improvements in productivity. Results from the research with 8,000 global employers and employees, also concluded that 61% noted that it had helped increase company profits.
Modern lives are messy and the spill of class assemblies, doctors’ appointments and house maintenance can seep into the daily drill of 9-5. Director of Student Life at the University of Manchester and keynote speaker, Paul Redmond, says, “for the first time in industrial history there are 5 different generations rubbing shoulders in the workplace, each with their own way of thinking, of speaking and their own approaches to things”. With this statistic in mind, we can’t expect everyone to fit the traditional desk approach to work life.
Paul continues to say that the newest generation in the workplace, Gen Y search for “seamless integration across digital workspaces." The collaboration of the work and the home environment is what helps them develop, learn and work most productively, so this is a quick hack companies should adopt in order to increase productivity and trust with their employees.
Down with email bureaucracy
The last hack is to break down email bureaucracy. Email itself is a necessary evil that we have all lived with for so long, but let’s try not existing by the constraints it puts on us. How many times have you found yourself writing out a lengthy preamble that contains about 10 perfunctory questions about how your colleague's health is; how the event last week went; and whether they'll be enjoying the weather this weekend celebrating their cat’s third birthday? As you can tell, things have gotten a little out of hand. So, how about we take things down a level and limit our email responses by adopting the ‘four sentences method’. Follow this link to check out the premise: http://four.sentenc.es/ simply just copy into your email signature and join the club. You’ll be keeping things efficient, short, and, most importantly, sweet.
Following this, make a bigger effort to talk to your colleagues in the office, raise the issue with your team and make a rule together to limit internal correspondences to confidential issues. By getting away from your desk to talk through problems and projects, you limit the admin faff of an email, create stronger interpersonal relationships and, above all, you have created an elegant solution to a simple problem.
Talk to your colleagues - the next best thing for morale after a team skydive
Try these speedy hacks to keep up the fast pace of this modern world and to achieve a fresher and more harmonious working life.
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