Tips for Creating a Happy, Healthy Office Environment

The most successful companies tend to be ones with the happiest employees. Employees who are happy are more motivated, productive, and creative – and will often go the extra mile, not because they have to, but because they want to. In fact, research shows happy workers are 50% more likely to stay with a company, which reduces costly turnover. On the other hand, staff who don’t enjoy coming to work costs U.S. businesses $300 billion per year in sick time, days off, and on-the-job mistakes.

Unfortunately, a happy workplace is not something that happens by accident. It’s the product of both physical and intangible factors that makes a harmonious workplace. One’s work environment not only includes the structural surroundings but also the people and the atmosphere surrounding employees. These tips can start you on the way to creating a happier, healthier work environment.

  • Bring in natural lighting – Not only does natural lighting look better, but there is a strong connection between natural light in the workplace and employees’ quality of sleep and energy. Neurology researchers at Northwestern University found that people who work in offices with windows receive 173 percent more white light (i.e. light from the sun) during work hours and sleep an extra 46 minutes every night. Workers were better rested and therefore in a better frame of mind.
  • Create a clean and comfortable space – It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that when you are in an area that is attractive, comfortable, and pleasant, you feel better. This is true of both the home and the work environment, so be sure to clear away clutter and broken equipment, and mend flickering lightbulbs and temperamental air conditioning or heating units.
  • Have an open-door policy – Employees report higher job satisfaction and are more likely to stay at a job where they feel listened to and appreciated. Make it known that you are always available for questions, comments, and concerns. And “open door” should be taken literally; keeping the door open encourages friendly communication.
  • Outside-the-box benefits – It may sound crazy, but several companies, like Netflix, have started to experiment with unusual benefits like unlimited days off. Researchers find that people who have access to unlimited time off actually spend more days at work than those with structured PTO

Every company is different and there’s no one-size-fits all solution to workplace harmony. How-ever, by fostering a positive office environment, you can help employees be happier and your business will enjoy the rewards of greater commitment, longer retention, and increased productivity.