Just during the past century, office designs have radically changed several times. Each period has its own interior design quirks, as eco-friendliness, energy-efficiency, and ergonomics are the buzzword of today. Sophisticating your office isn’t easy, as there are numerous steps to take before the work environment starts appearing more professional to employees and clients alike.
Promote green commuting
Most employers don’t care much about how individual workers arrive to work. However, if they all drive a car, they leave a huge environmental print, which can hardly be called a sophisticated method of commuting.
A conscientious employer should take an active interest in the way workers arrive to work and offer then alternative means of commuting. One such option is ride sharing: one person can give a lift to at least three of his/her colleagues.
Furthermore, the company can lease bicycles for free, if the city they are located in is bike-friendly. Finally, a pass for the metro or the bus shouldn’t be that expensive to provide for every worker, especially if you run a small business.
“Do not print this e-mail!”
Another way to reduce the environmental impact of your office is to stop printing e-mails altogether. When you come to think of it, there are countless other documents that don’t have to be printed.
Modern administration means that every document comes in the electronic format, so there is no real need to print it. Moreover, your archive can be entirely digital, without those bulky file cabinets.
Also, there are online bulletin boards where you can share info, leave personal messages, and share all types of files, including video.
Office supplies have gone green too
Trying to save money on office supplies procurement can easily backfire. Cheap staples, pens, and memos don’t last long, so your office will generate a lot of waste. Luckily, there are green office supplies that are biodegradable or they can be reused multiple times.
Some of the examples include recyclable binders, compostable refreshment cups (both for water and coffee), and one-sided copy paper used to make notepads. The more supplies you reuse, the less you will have to order, actually saving money while saving the planet.
Custom wall art
Sure, you can head to a yard sale or an art gallery to buy decorative artwork for the office. However, it much cheaper and morale-boosting to have the employees paint something and display their art.
As an alternative, you have wall art and mirrors that are perfect for offices where the employees are big fans of visual arts.
Even then, there might be poets who should be encouraged to hang their lyrics on the (virtual) notice board. In fact, every single employee that approaches you with an artistic idea should be given a chance to express themselves.
Keeping the workers motivated
We’ve mentioned how workers’ morale should be high at all times. However, sustaining motivation isn’t easy, so employers have to introduce various stimuli to help the staff keep going. The most usual incentive should be rewarded for excellent performances and dedication.
Monetary incentives might sound nice and no workers would turn them down but their effect is short-lived. Keeping morale high is a continuous effort that should span years, if not decades. Once people notice there is a tangible system of rewarding, they are more likely to work harder.
Finally, keep in mind that incentives should be personalized. For a single parent, a day odd is what they crave for, while an aspiring new hire would be happier to get project ownership. There are even workers who would be thrilled if you bought them pizza for lunch.
Since workers have different needs and requirements, you shouldn’t force anything on anyone. However, a smart employer knows how to capitalize on his/her staff’s interests and hobbies. For instance, if you have a green thumb working for you, they should be provided with the means to start a garden.
Once the other employees realize how much fun gardening really is, they too will want to nurture plants. A green office is a concept that everyone benefits from, as the color green soothes the nerves and houseplants purify the air.
Don’t waste energy
A truly sophisticated office doesn’t tolerate energy waste. For example, leaving the printer on during the holidays when there is no one in the office is out of the question. The toilets are equipped with motion sensor lights, so they turn on only when someone is actually using the restroom.
Then there are programmable thermostats that ensure the office is warm in the morning, although the heating had been off the previous night. Finally, employees should be educated on energy-efficiency, so they understand why leaving the lights on after leaving the room is not cool.
A sophisticated office is an elusive concept but definitely attainable. By promoting cycling to work and encouraging employees to be creative, you help the company grow sustainably. Workers are the ones who should suggest design changes, while the employer’s duty is to facilitate these alterations.