Hiring the best talents for your startup team is just the first step. The question is: how do you keep them engaged and productive in the long run?
The environment in which one labors is very important to the output and outcome of their work. In setting up your business in Singapore it is important to consider the ambiance and style of your office. Choosing the right space for your business not only benefits your employees but also makes your office appealing and attractive to visiting patrons and potential clients.
The steps to making your office conducive for work may vary depending on your business industry and line of work. However, there are general principles that can be followed to help make sure your work environment is welcoming and inspiring to anyone who enters.
Here are some points you should consider in order to create a friendly and favorable work environment.
1. Create a clean and comfortable physical workspace
Keeping your office clean and comfortable is very important in making your workspace conducive for work. It is not only practical to keep your environment organized and clean but it can have many positive effects on the labor itself. Mike Canarelli, CEO and co-founder of Web Talent Marketing says, “Working in a clean, attractive office can have tremendous effects on the interactions between co-workers and managers…make an effort to provide a relaxing atmosphere with comfy furniture, working equipment and a few extra-mile amenities. It might not seem cost-effective at first, but the change in attitude is visceral among staff members when they know you care enough about them to invest in their well-being.”
Another way to make sure your workspace is comfortable is to make sure it is well lit. The weather and landscape in Singapore usually ensures plenty of natural light during the day. Depending on where your office is (i.e. inside a building, on the ground floor etc.) that may not always be the case. It is a good idea to make sure there is ample light within the office. Business plan expert of BusinessPlanToday, Taylor Johnson suggests, “If natural light isn’t an option in your office, then try to use light fixtures with adjustable filters.” He says, “A well-lit office can keep your employees energized throughout the day.”
2. Favor a friendly work environment
A practical suggestion to making your work environment conducive and friendly is to put a dry-erase board wall or a space where open communication and on-the-spot brainstorming is encouraged. This is much more applicable to creative offices rather than those of a more corporate strand. It can also work for sales offices or departments and the like, to keep goals and tasks in mind.
“Employees [can] take photos on their phone of the board to refresh their memory of action items when they meet in smaller teams; it keeps important work front and center, and the [enthusiasm] flowing,” says founder of ZAK Products Vic Keller.
Another suggestion is to make room for a relaxation or unwinding space. The Google Company is well known in having relaxation spaces. Many creative offices like ad agencies have also followed the trend of having rooms meant to alleviate stress and help employees unwind. Payce Chief Information Officer, Josh Lindenmuth says, “Employees need breaks and need to have some form of social interaction. Providing a location for employees to unwind without disturbing employees at work will help morale tremendously.”
Having a relaxation space also goes hand in hand with making it clear to your employees that you value work-life balance. When employees are assured they can give attention to and not neglect other aspects of their life (i.e. family, friends, religious beliefs/spiritual pursuits, personal growth etc.) will improve their job satisfaction. When they are able to fulfill other goals and needs in life, they can come to work confident and perform better. Also, when work moral is down a win in another area of life can help in motivating a person.
3. Encourage Training and development
Have a clear roadmap for training your employees. Make sure they know there are several opportunities for growth and development available to them. Being able to focus on their strengths and develop new skills can do wonders for your work environment. Likewise, the work environment itself affects the ability for your employees to grow.
A positive work environment should have routine trainings focused on improving efficiency and fostering positive attitudes about work in employees. Make sure you focus on developing both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are those that impact work productivity directly (i.e. knowledge of a new database management system). Whereas soft skills focus more on developing interpersonal skills which could impact the morale of an organization.
In developing these skills and carrying out these training sessions it is important that they are done in a comfortable and conducive environment.
4. Commend Hard Work
It is also important that your employees know their work is recognized and appreciated. One suggestion is to have a system of monetary rewards in place to award those who perform at work. Personal daily interactions can also be a good conduit in recognizing efforts. Therefore, make your office accessible to such interactions between superiors and subordinates and encourage this attitude in managers.
In the book, Strengths Finder 2.0, author Tom Rath mentions a study that states employees were 40% more likely to be disengaged in their work if their managers ignored them. Whereas the chances of an employee being disengaged were only 22% if their managers focused on their weaknesses. Hence, interaction between subordinates and superiors is key.
Another suggestion has to do with the physical space of your office. Have a bulletin board or a space where top performers can be recognized. This is helpful in fostering a drive and lets your employees know their superiors are aware of their work.
5. Build Team Spirit
Building up an employee individually may help to spur them on in their work, but it is equally important to build your team as a whole.
Foster unity and team spirit within your workplace culture. Make sure you have a space for team activities, brainstorming and bull sessions in your office. In order to cement your team to each other, also make time for team building activities away from your workplace. This will prove valuable in making a positive work environment and will even be conducive to your tasks as a team. When you build a strong team spirit, its will be predisposed to support decisions that are made as a team without raising too many personal or preferential objections.