Have you ever walked into someone's house and thought, "How can they live like this?" Well, your employees may have similar feelings when they come in to work.
Granted, your office probably isn't a pig sty with days-old dirty dishes piled up in the sink and flies circling the garbage can like airplanes waiting to land at LaGuardia Airport. But every workplace could benefit from some improvements, and you could see huge benefits after implementing these changes.
1) Get the team involved
I involve my team in every aspect and every decision at LexION Capital, including office decor itself. Your staff doesn't have to repaint the ceiling or demolish the drywall, but they'll like the environment a lot better if they have a say in it.
Your employees aren't kids anymore. Let them choose what color to paint their room!
2) Ditch the annoying lighting
When I started my company, one of the first things I did was run to the hardware store for "real" lighting. Yes, fluorescent lighting lasts longer, but it gave me splitting headaches at my old Wall Street office and put a damper on work overall.
Lest you think I'm being nitpicky, science is on my side. Numerous studies have linked fluorescent lighting to headaches, among other negative effects, and it also just plain looks bad. Changing out this kind of lighting for something pleasing to the eye may seem like a small change, but it will have a big, positive effect.
3) Motivate everybody
Do you have a place in your office where employees can post anything they find inspiring and motivational? If you don't, you should create one.
My team has a "motivation wall." We gather there every time something new is added to it, and we'll discuss how the team can best use the ideas in the new picture or quote that's been posted. It makes for more than just a pretty-looking wall -- it serves as a mission statement, built by the team.
4) Get some new perspectives
You can't expect employees to stay creative if all they do is stare at a computer screen for eight hours (or more) every day. A couple of couches, or separate desks, can allow your employees the flexibility to stretch their legs, and also help them escape their brain freezes and writer's blocks.
When you experience new views and sensations, it opens up new synapses that aid creativity. So a change in scenery could be just the thing your team needs when they're in a rut.
5) Get a life
Another tip that you can file under "so simple it's brilliant" is this one: Get some plants for the office.
Plants will make your office look great, and they can breathe life into a stuffy room, figuratively and literally. There are thousands of studies out there that explain the benefits that plants bring to the workplace, including one showing that they boost productivity by 15 percent.
6) Crank it up
Refusing to turn on the heat in your office might give your business low heating bills, but the upsides end there. It will also drag down your team's productivity, so crank it up.
Studies have shown that a temperature ranging between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit will boost efficiency, and will even reduce the amount of spelling errors in your office. So don't be shy. Crank it high.
7) Get healthy
Google is frequently cited as a company that values its employees' health and well-being. For example, its campus cafeteria features a rock climbing wall, so employees can get healthy on breaks from inventing new search algorithms.
You don't have to outfit the break room with Nautilus equipment, but putting something in there besides instant coffee wouldn't hurt either. I provide healthy snacks, which boost my team's effectiveness, and you should too. You'll see a difference in short order.
8) Furry friends
It sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at least a recipe for a bad sitcom script, but it's my advice and I stand by it--bring a dog to the office.
One study showed that bringing dogs to the office led to a whopping 70 percent reduction in worker stress, and I can personally attest to the stress-relieving properties of having my rescue pup Magic at my side while I'm at work.
Get yourself a furry friend, not only for yourself, but for the sake of your whole team. If you can, consider implementing a weekly pet day at work, too.
9) Go green
As I've said before, employees want to work for companies that make a positive difference, and I expect it to be the norm in the next few years. Your office should capitalize on that, and start by going green.
It's not only a good life practice, but your employees will feel much better, and they'll work harder when they step into an office that's helping the environment.
10) We're all in it together
If your team is just meeting at the water cooler, you might want to reconsider your office layout. I've found that dividing teams up will cause divisions, literally and metaphorically, and I'm always surprised at how people fail to notice this.
I ditched the conference rooms and my whole team sits together, regardless of their role. Having all your different teams together boosts teamwork and office happiness, and it can help you avoid the formation of accounting cliques, marketing cliques, and so on.