How You Can Improve the Office Experience for Employees Post-Pandemic

Last Updated: 

October 12, 2023

The most successful companies all tend to have one major thing in common – satisfied, motivated and loyal employees who enjoy their job and want to make sure that they are helping the company that they work for get the best results. Employees who feel this way will often go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping out and they don’t have any problem with recommending the company that they work for to their family and friends even when they are not on the clock, because they are proud of working there and want to see the business do well. Happy, satisfied workers are around fifty percent more likely to stay loyal to their employer which in turn can help save money on restaffing and make it easier for you to choose from experienced and dedicated employees to promote from within when a position comes up.

Since employees spend around forty hours per week each week in the office – at least pre-pandemic – the office environment is one of the major factors that can contribute to their happiness and satisfaction. Employees will feel freer, more creative, happier, and more relaxed in a spacious, well-lit office that has plenty of storage space, good organisation, and comfortable furniture. On the other hand, if they are stuffed into a corner of a tiny room with a rickety desk that’s piled with papers, they probably won’t stick around for long no matter how much you pay them. So, whether your company is still in the office during the COVID-19 crisis or you’re planning to welcome your employees back to work soon and want to surprise them with an office makeover when they return, here are some ideas to help them enjoy the office experience more and encourage satisfaction at work.

Key Takeaways on Improving the Office Experience for Employees

  1. Safety Measures: Position desks further apart or use plexiglass guards to maintain social distancing. Provide hand sanitising stations at entrances and personal bottles on desks.
  2. Increase Natural Lighting: Employees exposed to natural light tend to be more positive, motivated, and experience better-quality sleep.
  3. Control the Temperature: Install air conditioning for a comfortable working environment.
  4. Invest in Ergonomic Furniture: Supportive chairs, desks, wrist rests, and footrests can improve employee comfort, focus, and productivity.
  5. Provide a Recreational Area: Encourage breaks and foster employee relationships by offering a comfortable break area.
  6. Provide Quiet Areas: Designate separate quiet spaces for employees to focus on their work.
  7. Open-Plan Layout: Promote collaboration and interdepartmental communication with an open-plan office design.
  8. Do Something Daring: Consider offering unlimited days off to increase employee satisfaction and loyalty.
  9. Offer Flexible Working: Allow employees to choose between remote and in-office work to accommodate individual needs and preferences.
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Safety First

After the events of 2020 with an unprecedented pandemic and several UK lockdowns, it is understandable that many people might be feeling worried about the prospect of returning to the workplace, even if they are eager to get out of the house and want to get back to normal life quickly. While many people are happy to get back into the office and to be able to see their co-workers in person once again and get out of their makeshift home office, there is always the risk to their health that comes with being in a confined space filled with people.

To minimise anxiety and help put your workers’ minds at rests, there are several safety measures that you can take to improve the office experience. Consider positioning desks further apart so that employees can easily social distance while working or add plexiglass guards between desks for an extra layer of protection. Hand sanitising stations at the front entrance and personal bottles of sanitiser placed on desks is a nice touch that shows your employees you care about keeping them well.

Of course, you shouldn't forget normal health and safety procedures, so ensure your risk assessments and fire safety systems are up to date, and ensure your staff are trained in Emergency First Aid at Work (1 day) so that they know what to do in the event of an accident.

Increase Natural Lighting

Natural lighting not only looks much better than artificial lighting but there’s a big connection between natural light and employee energy and motivation. Studies have found that employees who work in offices with large windows and are exposed to a lot of natural light tend to be more positive and motivated in the workplace. These employees also tend to get an extra forty-six minutes of sleep per night and experience better-quality sleep than employees who don’t get natural light in the workplace, which impacts their mood and focus.

Control the Temperature

If you have ever worked in an office that was too hot or too cold, you will know just how uncomfortable it can be. Since many employees in the UK are expected to be returning back to the office during the summer of this year, one of the main changes that you can make for a more comfortable environment for them is to have air conditioning installed. Air-con is much better for comfort and climate control than strategically placed fans – and much less dusty, contributing to a cleaner and less cluttered environment overall. After working at home in houses that aren’t usually fitted with air conditioning, your employees will definitely be grateful for this change. Get in touch with air conditioning experts in Leicester for more information on fitting air-con in your office. Chillaire LTD are air conditioning experts in Leicester who have over twenty-five years of experience providing air conditioning installation, repairs, and more.

Invest in Ergonomic Furniture

Cheap office furniture might be the most economical and budget-friendly option for your business, but this could backfire on you in terms of rising staff turnover costs if your employees keep leaving because they are in physical pain. One way to enhance the workspace is by incorporating a corner desk that not only optimises space but also provides a comfortable working environment. Sitting at an office desk for eight hours of the day can wreak havoc on your body, which is why making sure that your employees are comfortable and supported throughout the working day can make all the difference to their performance.

Employees who are suffering from back pain or joint pain from cheap and unsupportive furniture in the office are unlikely to be as focused, productive, accountable or creative as those who are pain-free. Ergonomic and supportive chairs, desks, wrist rests and footrests can keep your employees comfortable throughout the day, allowing them to better focus on the work that they are doing. You might want to consider investing in sit-stand desks for your employees which can transform between a seated or standing desk to help them combat the adverse health effects of sitting for long periods.

Provide a Recreational Area

Every employee needs a break from time to time, and sometimes taking a few minutes away from work to go and do something that does not require as much brainpower can help the employee return to their task feeling refreshed and ready to take on the challenge. A comfortable break and recreational area isn’t just a great way to encourage employees to take short breaks when needed, but it can also be ideal for building employee relationships since it provides employees who work in different teams or departments the chance to get to know one another when they are on a break together.

Provide Quiet Areas

Some work can be done while chatting to a fellow employee or listening to music, while other tasks might require some more focus and a quiet space. To make sure that all employees are catered to when at work, consider providing some quiet areas that are separate from the main offices where employees can take their devices when they need to be able to think and focus on the work that they are doing.

Have an Open-Plan Layout

Boxing different teams and departments into different rooms or having designated seats for employees that they cannot choose themselves is quite an old-fashioned way of running an office today. And after a year of working from home, most office workers are looking forward to a little bit more flexibility and freedom when returning to the office, since they’ve gotten used to that at home. Open-plan office layouts are becoming more and more popular since they are ideal for allowing employees to collaborate and get to know one another. Members of staff can easily walk over to ask fellow employees on a different department or team some questions without having to go through different rooms, making it easier for everybody to work together and build good workplace relationships.

Do Something Daring

Many employers are scared to do something daring like offering their employees unlimited days off. But the truth is that the employers who’ve been brave enough to do this, like Netflix, tend to get great results. When you have been generous enough to allow your employees complete freedom with their time off, research has found that they are likely to ask for fewer days off overall compared to employees who have a limited number of days off and often feel like they need to use them all in order to make the most of them.

Offer Flexible Working

Finally, no matter how awesome your new office environment turns out to be, bear in mind that some employees might have really taken to the idea of working from home. Parents, for example, will often prefer working from home since it gives them more freedom and time in the morning to get the kids to school without having to worry about commuting to work. Continuing to offer flexible and remote working opportunities is something that many companies are looking into doing even after the pandemic is finally completely over and it is no longer needed to stay at home. This will give your employees the option to choose when they would like to work from home and when to come into the office, which can boost productivity by creating a better work-life balance and a schedule that employees can tailor to fit their other commitments.

With office workers set to be back in the workplace in a matter of months, now is a great time to consider what you could do to improve the office environment and experience for employees after a year of working from home.

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