Many people find that office spaces are rather uncomfortable, boring or sterile environments. The pressure of upcoming deadlines, urgent tasks and working overtime is regularly observed. This leads to stress which can negatively affect the productivity of everyone and the quality of the work produced. It can cause the overall atmosphere to feel unpleasant.
There are ways however in which you can make an office a more peaceful and supportive place (one where you would happily return)! Many companies are paying a lot of attention to detail when creating the right conditions for self-development, relieving stress, improving focus and increasing the work satisfaction of employees.
Many modern ‘Google-like’ spaces are quite extensively equipped but you don’t have to spend as much money redesigning your whole office. Do you really need three football tables and a slide? We doubt it. We’d like to share some cost efficient tips on how you can improve your space whilst minimising costs and maximising results!
Organise yoga or other exercise classes
Yoga is known for its ability to relax the body and mind, positively impact our strength, flexibility and balance. It has a wonderful combination of deep breathing exercises that deliver more oxygen to our brains, static posture training that improves our blood circulation and refreshes the body, as a result yoga can significantly boost our energy levels.
When should you organize the class? The best time to organize a class is in the morning before work. The sessions can last between twenty minutes to one hour. Start from one class a week for a month and see how you feel. Later you can increase the frequency. Exercises should be quite simple so that everyone can do them.
We recommend starting with breathing exercises and after that add some strength developing and stretching postures. Include positions that can be done in pairs, as this may have a positive effect on the level of collaboration inside the team.
What should you wear? We advise that people take a change of clothes or wear comfortable casual outfits to work. The exercises could be also selected in a way that those who wear jeans or a dress can feel comfortable doing them as well.
Where do you find a teacher? Some employees would happily lead a yoga session themselves from time to time, if not you can ask your friends who do yoga and offer them some form of payment. You can also lead classes yourself or if the budget of your company allows, hire a proper yogi.
What equipment will you need? Yoga mats aren’t too expensive, especially if you’re buying a few. They can be used for outdoor integration parties too. If you don’t want to buy them, rent them, there are many options.
Depending on the size of your company and office, you might require some space to cater for all of your employees. It could be an open space room where you clear the tables, or an empty conference room, the hall, a rooftop or garden. We’re fortunate enough to have great spaces.
Organise a spot for meditation
Even fifteen minutes of meditation can calm the mind and significantly boost productivity. Try to engage your employees to meditate alone or arrange a group session within the working day. Make sure you have a quiet space in the office, where you can meditate or simply take some rest.
To conduct a proper session you need space and a person who can lead. You can ask employees if anyone practices it, if they could teach others or if they’d lead a guided meditation. Alternatively you can use an app such as Mindfulness, HeadSpace or Let’s Meditate.
Prepare calming or refreshing drinks
Stock the office with a variety of organic teas and natural chicory as a coffee alternative to help your employees relieve stress and get back to work with their thirst quenched. Stay hydrated. You can create an alternative to plain water by adding lemon, oranges, ginger, mint and other fruits/herbs you find good to add. This helps to boost energy levels, is refreshing and full of vitamins so that we feel better.
Jam sessions after work
To enhance your teams collaborative nature, consider organizing ‘jam sessions’ after work. Bring musical instruments, board games, puzzles, magazines, etc. and spend time having fun. It helps relieve stress and regain energy after a working day. You’ll see how much more enthusiastically everyone returns to the office the next day with pleasant memories. Having books available within the office for quiet reading can be useful too.
Make use of aromatherapy
Pleasant smells can improve well-being. Essential herbal oils have a unique historic quality and are known to aid anxiety, they calm us. To use essential oils at work, you can buy aromatherapy diffusers, fragrance sticks, incense sticks or just put few drops of oil into the dimple of a candle. Remember to avoid standard room sprays as they may contain chemicals that are actually harmful for our bodies and have nothing to do with aromatherapy!
Bring more plants to the office
Plants are known to improve the quality of the air around us and are pleasant to look at. Consider purchasing some bigger plants or trees for corridors, kitchens and other communal spaces, as well as smaller table plants for the desks of your employees.
Have a source of pleasant sounds
Sounds, as well as smells, can be favourable for our mental health. The right level of noise can change our mood and conduce productivity. The best sounds are natural ones, birds singing, water splashing, wind blowing and fire crackling.
To imitate them, consider installing a fountain or other tranquil sound decorations such as wind chimes, wind gongs, or an electric fireplace. Another, more simple option, is to encourage teams to listen to some propitious sounds online using sound generating apps or sites like noisli.com. There are ‘sound zen decorations’ such as wind chimes.
Gratitude can play a significant role in improving the internal climate within the company. Find ways in which employees can thank each other for doing something nice for one another or for the company. For example, we have created a board on Trello, where we show appreciation for nicely done work or other small things: for sharing food, teaching something new, buying blankets, completing tasks ASAP, etc. We like to show that we appreciate each other.
Add other improvements or decorations
Think of nice soft light lamps, sand decorations, bamboo, framed puzzles, pillows, statues, soothing stones, inspirational posters, etc. They might seem a little silly but they can add few more points to the mood and can be aesthetically pleasing, creating a more home like atmosphere.
Set up noiseless spots
Sometimes office spaces can be noisy and distracting when people are talking loudly, eating snacks or walking around. It is important to have a spot where everyone can relocate for a while, sit and focus at work. For such cases we have a floor with a chill out room, a garden with comfortable outdoor furniture and beanbags on the rooftop area.
Everything we have mentioned above are just some of the ideas that can potentially help you shape the right environment for your office. Remember there are no limitations to your creativity.
Hopefully our tips will help you to favourably reorganize the space in your company. Let us know how your teams have reacted to any new changes you’ve decided to implement and if it helped them to feel less stressful and more energetic at work.
Is there anything you’d like to add, have we missed anything? If you’re interested in sharing your experiences with us or writing a guest post for us, send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org!
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