The workplace atmosphere can play an important role in the productivity, satisfaction, and overall happiness of employees. If you work in a high stress industry, making the workplace as pleasant as possible can even help reduce employee turnover, and given that research shows that workplace stress can increase turnover by almost 50%, this might be a top priority for some companies. How you surround yourself at work can play a huge role in this -- if you have a cubicle, put up pictures or decorations that make you smile. Office wall art and plants can make a big difference. Employers can put up wall graphics that reiterate company values or that simply add a pop of color and cheer to the office. Simple touches such as wall graphics or plants can make a big difference in the way employees feel about working in the office.
What's the Problem?
When we spend eight to 10 hours of the day (and in some cases, many more hours) in the workplace, we want to feel comfortable in the office. It's never going to be your living room, but there are ways that employers can make the workplace a more welcoming and friendly environment.
Unfortunately, Steelcase, an office furniture retailer, and research firm Ipsos sent out a survey that showed almost 90% of workers globally were not satisfied with their work environments. Almost 65% of males and almost 75% of females said that how their workplace was designed had an effect -- whether positive or negative -- on their work day.
When workers are disengaged or stressed, their productivity suffers. The discontent can build up and cause feelings of resentment, which can often lead to strife between coworkers. Studies done by the Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization showed that workers who were disengaged had an almost 40% higher rate of absenteeism, almost 50% more accidents, and about 60% more errors or defects in their work.
These numbers show that being unhappy or tuned out in the workplace can have safety risks for the employees and those around them and that their quality of work also suffers, putting the company's reputation at risk. The company may also have to spend more money on insurance costs, redoing the badly done work, and trying to compensate for the missing workers.
What's the Solution?
Luckily, there's a way to combat this problem and help workers feel more comfortable in their environment and enjoy coming into work! Windows and natural light can certainly help. A study from RIP showed that workers who had windowed offices stayed about 15% more on task than their colleagues who didn't have windows in their office.
Office artwork, wall graphics, or other creative visuals can help make a workplace more colorful and fun. An office wall mural might be a great collaborative project for employees to help them bond with their coworkers. A collaborative survey by the Business Committee for the Arts and the International Association for Professional Art Advisors showed that having art in the workplace helped reduce stress (almost 80% of respondents agreed with this), increased productivity (almost 65% agreed), and encouraged employees to express their opinions (over 75% agreed). These are often three main challenges that businesses face, and something as simple as adding art can go a long way!
Plants can also be a nice touch -- a pop of green and seeing living, colorful things over the course of the day can be soothing for many people, and the extra oxygen never hurts. Indeed, a study found that people who worked in places that had art or plants were almost 20% more productive than those who worked in more barren workplaces.
Invest in plants or artwork, such as wall graphics, to make your business a more productive venture. You'll see a return on investment and hopefully increase employee happiness, decrease employee stress, and infuse a little culture and zen into the workplace.