Improving employee productivity is a crucial, and increasingly confusing goal of businesses everywhere. As technology advances, workplaces are becoming more flexible and less traditional. Plus, recent research shows that today's younger professionals may value office perks overpay.
With these workforce trends shifting, many business leaders are left wondering how to find the balance between flexibility and productivity. But these two aren't at opposite ends of the spectrum - in fact, they can go hand-in-hand.
Productive employees are happy employees, and vice versa. Here are a few productivity-boosting upgrades to consider for your office.
1. Upgrade your employees' chairs
It's hard to overstate the importance of a good office chair. We now know the vital role ergonomics play in employees' wellbeing - and consequently, their productivity. After all, most traditional office employees spend seven hours or more parked at a desk. One of the biggest threats to productivity is employee absence due to injury, and many office injuries are caused by repetitive strain - ex. Your web developer hunched over his laptop in a dark corner.
In addition to protecting your employees' physical wellbeing by correcting posture, providing quality chairs delivers a huge morale boost. By investing in your employees' daily comfort, you're showing them that you care.
2. Add some greenery
Spending most of our day indoors is a fairly recent development in the span of human existence. We evolved alongside nature, so it's no surprise that being around plants and green space can improve productivity at work by 15% or more. Introducing just a few houseplants to your office - everyone should be able to see one from their desk - can improve memory, reduce stress and absence due to illness, and even boost creativity.
3. Get a quality office coffee maker
Let's be honest: there's a lot of great research on "office hacks" to improve productivity, but there's nothing quite like our old friend caffeine to boost your energy level when you really need it. Is your office coffee maker on its last legs? It's probably time for an upgrade. And as the millennial workforce grows, you might consider investing in a specialty machine since millennials value high-quality coffee experiences at work.
4. Make it easy to stay hydrated
Of course, while your employees are going nuts over their fancy new coffee maker, you need to make sure they're drinking enough water to stay hydrated and healthy. About 75% of Americans don't drink enough water throughout the day. Dehydration can negatively impact concentration and your immune system - bad news for your team's productivity.
Tip: gift employees with refillable water bottles sporting your company's logo to encourage hydration, reduce disposable cup waste and get some easy brand exposure.
5. Invest in speakers
Whether your office environment is energetic and collaborative, or the only sounds are typically paper shuffling and the occasional cough, consider getting some speakers. Recent studies suggest a connection between music, productivity, and wellbeing. Listening to music at work can improve your employees' focus and motivation, as well as reduce stress and improve performance.
There's a wide range of options and price points, from small Bluetooth speakers to in-ceiling systems. In general, music selections without lyrics are the best choice to motivate employees without distracting them. Hubspot recommends classical music, video game soundtracks and the occasional "pump up song" when the time is right.
From a big investment in ergonomic office furniture to smaller upgrades like buying a new coffee maker, showing that you care about your employees' comfort and wellbeing goes a long way toward improving productivity. Get to know your workforce to understand which of these perks will make an impact in your office, creating an environment that attracts top talent, and keeps your people happy and productive.