7 Steps to a Healthier Office
How to create a happier office full of healthy employees
We have all read the tips and tricks to improve lagging employee morale or to drive productivity. Why don’t the concepts stick after we try to apply them? Why does it seem like increasing employee engagement is tantamount to shooting at a moving target?
Too many good business improvements fail because the change is not managed properly, or because results do not meet expectations. This is why created 7 simple, measurable, sustainable ways to increase the health and wellbeing of your employees. You will find stress-free and satisfied employees much easier to engage.
And not just for the appearances. The office needs to be a safe, clean, healthy place for every employee. While one person might find a week old sandwich in the fridge to be a bit funky, another employee finds it repulsive. Worst of all, you probably have an employee who’s allergic to mold.
Don’t just have the cleaning staff up their game. You need a staff that takes responsibility for cleaning and maintaining their own space and equipment. To avoid becoming the “wellness police,” you might consider appointing a small committee of employees to share helpful tips about cleaning and maintaining the space, while also instilling them with the ability to hold others accountable to the new office standard.
Productivity and efficiency are vital to the success of every organization, and both suffer when employees cannot find what they need. Every time you watch your sales lead hunting for an old file or digging through the copy room for the right paper, you get that sick feeling that money is floating out the door, because it is.
Don’t just put like-items together. Assign your employees (or have your committee assign them) to a particular area that they will organize and maintain, but most importantly, this is an area that they will teach others to navigate and understand. When someone needs something they cannot find quickly, the person in charge of that area should be consulted. Don’t waste time. Someone already has the answer.
3 Set Expectations
You wouldn’t spend time and money training your sales team just to send them out with no goals or expectations. Employees need boundaries and they need challenging goals. People want to know the nature of the environment in which they are operating, and they want to grow and succeed.
Set clear, sustainable objectives regarding how each room or space around the office should be maintained. What is or is not acceptable in the office, at the desk, or in the break room? Save a little time by having your committee crowdsource the standards. When the staff feels like they had input, they are more likely to adhere to the new objectives.
4 Measure and Assess
We’ve all had a boss who never cared what we were doing until things went wrong. Don’t be that person. Create measurable ways of analyzing the health and cleanliness of the office, then regularly assess the office. Report your findings to your staff in a no-nonsense, emotionless manner. Are they meeting goals, or is there work to be done?
You might consider formalizing your rules on how long paper and digital files are to be kept. It can be done similarly to the way you establish refrigerator rules. If it’s past a certain date or it’s a project no one is responsible for any longer, it’s time to delete or recycle. It’s a repeatable method that can be applied to most organizing and cleaning situations.
5 Hold Everyone Responsible
Don’t let high performers get away with sloppy desks. And don’t rely on your employees policing each other. When an employee sees that a coworker is allowed to keep their empty coffee cups on their desktop for two days, they will start to bend the rules in their own little way.
Rather than making a mountain out of a molehill, simply create a system that everyone agrees to. Have them sign a simple pledge, and keep everyone accountable by making a game of it. Every time your desk is clear and clean, you get a raffle ticket. At the end of the month, raffle off a simple prize. If you get caught with the old coffee cup sitting on the desk, you lose a raffle ticket.
This step is far too often overlooked. Reward the behavior you want to see repeated. Remember that everyone feels rewarded differently. Some folks don’t care about a modest compensation increase –– they would actually rather have a pat on the back.
Reinforce the behaviors consistently and regularly. Don’t just reward your successful office manager. You have to reward the employee who is struggling to succeed when they adhere to the cleanliness rules too. That’s how you get the behavior to become sustainable and repeatable.
7 Share Your Results
Take photos of the clean space and the organized desktops. Share your space on LinkedIn, where your employees can see that you are proud of the space they helped you create. It’s not just a reward. It’s a way of getting other offices to up their game. A healthier, happier workforce is better for all of us, isn’t it?
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