Changes to Workplace Environments that Help Staff Fight Winter Blues and Boost Productivity

Office worker with mustache in cold snow. Frosty

A new survey by office design specialists, Peldon Rose, of close to 1,000 London office workers, reveals the changes to the workplace environment, which can help staff to fight winter blues and boost productivity levels. Based on the survey insights Peldon Rose has developed a unique formula to help businesses deliver a happy and productive office.

Survey highlights

  • Motivation: 80% of people say they suffer from Seasonally Adjusted Motivation (SAM) and believe that winter negatively effects their mood and productivity
  • Motivation: 67% feel more motivated in the summer months versus only 7% who feel more motivated in the winter months
  • Boredom: 70% confess to feeling bored sitting at their desks, while 65% wish they had a wider choice of work spaces to break the monotony
  • Home Comforts: while 69% have full kitchen facilities in their office, only 27% saying that they have quiet zones to escape to, and less, 19%, saying that they have free fruit or breakfast
  • Appreciation: 56% feel they are only sometimes or never appreciated in the workplace
  • Appreciation: most important to make people feel appreciated is that they have the right tools/technology (36%), followed by the right rewards/recognition (27%) and training (23%)
  • Trust: 58% wish they were more trusted to manage how, where, and when they work
  • Frolleagues: 83% count colleagues as friends, and 89% say they value the friendships
  • Frolleagues: biggest factors cited as helping create frolleagues were communal social spaces, informal break out areas and in-house social events

Essential psychology of a happy office

Below is an outline of the key actions, based on the survey responses and Peldon Rose’s own expertise, which the firm believes can deliver a happy office:

Motivation: Businesses can counter SAM by maximising daylight to boost serotonin, using bright colours on feature walls, organising office social events and ensuring staff take regular breaks from their desk.

Boredom: Providing diverse work spaces are vital to help counter boredom. By introducing sit-stand desks or standing meeting tables, staff will be more active and move around during the day. For those more adventurous, ping-pong and pool tables can give staff a quick five-minute power recharge, even biophilic design (such as plants) can provide visual stimulation. Boredom means different things to different people, and all personalities must be considered. Improving trust, appreciation, frolleagues and home comforts companies can help eliminate boredom.

Home Comforts: Introducing elements of home comforts to the office makes a team feel happier to be there. Providing fruit, herbal teas, or cereals is a low cost option which staff are grateful for when their energy is at a low ebb. Soft furniture such as sofas and comfy chairs can improve acoustics and also provide a welcome break from their desks for informal meetings, quiet working or simply resting. In addition, other home comforts, such as showers and bike storage, would encourage staff to be more active. By investing in home comforts staff will also feel more appreciated.

Appreciation: Top ranked by respondents to make them feel more appreciated at work are tools and technology which ranked above training and development and recognition and rewards. By investing in the right tools and technology, businesses would receive a double win with staff potentially working longer hours whilst feeling more motivated in the office.

Trust: Businesses can demonstrate trust by giving staff the technology and tools to work efficiently as well as break out areas to free them from their desks. Being seen to work is no longer as important as the output. Trusting staff to meet offsite is an easy way to demonstrate trust and encourage friendships to form.

Frolleagues: Being part of a shared enterprise and liking the people you work with goes a long way to creating a positive environment. Bosses can facilitate this by creating social spaces and communal eating areas to bring people together. In the survey, communal spaces, informal break out areas, and social events were scored highest by respondents in terms of importance to help promote friendships at work. Centralised refreshments, recycling, and printing will also get people up on their feet, helping create social interactions with colleagues.

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The Equation

Below Peldon Rose has devised a formula following the survey feedback, with appropriate weighting given to each factor based on the strength of responses. The company has also applied its expertise of over 30 years in designing award-winning offices, to analyse the data, shape its conclusions and provide business with a guide to creating happy and productive work environments.

The equation of a happy office is:

H = (T9+A8) + (F7+HC6) – B7

 

Frolleagues (F), Home Comforts (HC), Appreciation (A), Trust (T) and Boredom (B).

It was clear from the survey data that having people who believe that they are trusted and appreciated were the most important factors in helping to deliver a happy office, with boredom being the most negative factor. Trusting staff and appreciating them helps to foster more workplace friendships, another critical factor, while improving home comforts also plays a key role in fostering those friendships as well as building trust and appreciation – a virtuous circle.

Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive at Peldon Rose, the office design specialists, said:

 “It’s all too easy for productivity and motivation to become impacted by the seasonally adjusted issues of a cold, dark, damp commute, leaden skies and winter malaise. This is a widespread issue which businesses can easily tackle with a few simple initiatives. Trust and Appreciation must be addressed in an office to maximise happiness and in so doing the other factors of making a productive environment, home comforts, frolleagues and removing boredom will be addressed.”

“To create an office that is an oasis of positivity and productivity, apply the Happy Office equation to get through the dark winter months. To get the most out of your staff you need to get the most of your office, and that includes using every inch of floor space to offer variety and stimulation. A happy office promotes trust and appreciation and empowers the individual to choose for themselves how best to fulfil their role.”