As HBIC of a boutique marketing agency, I spend the majority of my time and energy working with my team to help our clients get to where they need to be, elevating their brands and their bottom lines. Our work requires us to be creatives, analysts, and problem solvers and while solving some inefficiencies require ideating creative strategies that are thorough and complex, sometimes the thing that is making the biggest impact on productivity is right underneath our noses (or our bums).
Our team recently moved from our old (but beloved) Studio City office to a shiny, new 3,000 sq. ft. office in Toluca Lake. Usually moving comes with some hiccups, but our new location has been a game-changer. With floor to ceiling windows, kombucha and cold brew on tap, and a wet bar, who wouldn't be excited for Monday? With the extra pep in the team's collective step, our productivity has increased exponentially (or is it the cold brew?)
Of course I love my beautiful, huge new office with its wall hangings coming together, but I find myself spending a lot of my time with my team in what has been affectionately deemed the "femme-pen." It's a collaborative open space environment that facilitates a culture of teamwork and shared ideas.
As a business owner, it's important for me to determine how I can best position my team to learn, focus, collaborate, and thrive. According to a recent study by Gensler, as a general rule, U.S. workers are struggling to work effectively. They attribute this to extended work days, new distractions (I'm looking at you, internet), and smaller workspaces causing employees to lose focus, become less collaborative, and become less productive. Gensler goes on to introduce strategic design solutions that can improve employee experience, enhance performance, and drive innovation and success.
Because productivity is strongly linked to well-being, you have to invest in the physical space your team shows up to, so they can mentally show up for you. If your employees enjoy the environment they are part of, they will be healthier and more engaged, and ultimately they will perform better.
From the Experts
While we were in the process of moving, I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan Sacks, an expert in the field of ergonomics and Managing Director of Beverly Hills Chairs, a leading seller of ergonomic office furniture. I was introduced by Adam Mendler, CEO of The Veloz Group and Chairman of Beverly Hills Chairs, who somehow seems to know everyone in Los Angeles. Ryan explained that by opening up the office and limiting assigned desks, employees would have the freedom to move around during the work day, especially when they work from mobile devices.
The shift in how much ergonomics matter is evident in the purchasing decisions companies are making when it comes to furnishing office spaces. Especially if you employ millennials, it's important to pay attention to details that go beyond just pay rate. For one thing, millennials care about ancillary benefits like working in an employee-centric environment.
While the chairs you outfit your office with matter, standing desks are another great way to provide your team with ergonomic options for getting sh*t done. We have a sit-and-stand desk in our media room that allows my team to leave the femme-pen, stretch their legs, and get refreshed from a change of scenery. More and more evidence suggests that sitting down for prolonged periods increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, giving my team the access to space to move around in keeps them healthy and happy. We take 10 minute game breaks, and go for walks in the neighborhood around the office building. When someone wants to work outside in the shared patio space, they can just take the hotspot for a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air.
Just like with marketing, budgets to furnish your office can vary. While every organization needs an office environment that allows its employees to thrive, not all companies are willing or able to commit to the same level of investment. But like marketing, ergonomics should be top of mind for every business, and companies can furnish their offices both ergonomically and economically. Buy refurbished ergonomic chairs instead of new ones. Save money on standing desks by buying lesser-known, high-quality brands. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business.
The Best Support
Since beginning my journey as a business owner and entrepreneur, I have woken up just about every morning excited to get to the office (which is saying something, given that I am anything but a morning person). I have always hoped that anyone who joined my team would feel the same, eager and excited to start each day. Having an amazing team and amazing clients whom we love working with is key, but as I have learned, something as simple as the right chair never hurts. Give your team the support (the right chairs, standing desks, spaces to move) they need!