Creating a productive but relaxed company culture and working environment isn’t easy. Fun facilities and social workspaces are especially attractive for extroverts but could soon grate on those who prefer to work in quiet or calmer environments. At the same time, private rooms, individual seating and strict rules could deter those who like to bounce ideas off each other.
In fact, the difficulty of collaboration was reported as the greatest challenge for home-workers in a recent ONS survey. As we move into a new era of work that focuses more on flexibility and employee wellbeing, striking a balance between work and play will be essential for office-based businesses.
If a workplace can play to everyone’s strengths at the same time, the collective will grow stronger as a result. Below are some of the best ways to tap into both worlds and create a balanced workplace.
Provide different types of work areas
As touched on above, different people work in different ways. Some office workers will prefer open rooms with banks of desks and few barriers in-between. Others, meanwhile, will find this noise and visual stimulus overly distracting and may prefer seclusion instead.
If your office layout allows, cater to both camps by offering social and private workspaces. The former allows for easy collaboration on group projects, while the latter enables bursts of focused work when needed.
Keep recreational areas separate
The problem with social workspaces for many people is that they’re often used for relaxing instead of working. To reduce this overspill, try to keep recreational zones such as eating and gaming areas separate in terms of both vision and noise.
Divider walls can do the job if you don’t want to reconfigure your entire office, as can soundproofing equipment. Small steps such as putting up friendly colour posters can then help remind employees of where these zonesy are.
Understand your team’s personalities
Certain industries and professions tend to naturally attract certain kinds of people.
However, aAn office team could still feature a range of personalities, however, so getting to know everyone better will help you make sure everyone feels comfortable. There are lots of personality tests available designed to help businesses understand their employees.
For example, not everyone will want to relax by competing, so table tennis tables and gaming consoles might not always appeal.
Organise team bonding sessions
Nobody likes forced fun. But encouraging employees to meet outside of a work context can help everyone feel more familiar and promote a common understanding.
You could share responsibility around for proposing social events so that everyone can contribute and feel heard. This way it won’t feel as if fun is being enforced by senior management or a certain personality type.
There’s no doubt that businesses increasingly need to offer flexibility to attract and retain talent. By creating a workspace and atmosphere that has something for everyone, employees will feel both able and willing to produce their best output.