June 2, 2014 | Jennifer Goodwyn
Whether you're renting consistent office space or utilize the services of a virtual office, neglecting your office environment is a mistake. As an entrepreneur, you may think all you need is an Internet connection and a laptop in order to build your business but, the truth is, you and any employees you may have will thrive in a creative and inspiring space.
As a business owner, it's important to create an office space that reflects the core values of your company. In doing so, you'll be able to attract top candidates and motivate employees. Additionally, working from home can drive productivity. Some companies allow employees to work from home one to two days a week, and find that productivity noticeably increases and employees seem happier across the board.
Get in Touch with Nature
Studies show that natural light has beneficial health effects, and can boost creativity. If you have the option, create an employee garden where employees can meet, converse, and eat lunch under natural sunlight. If adding an outdoor space to your office is not possible, encourage employees to take time out of their workdays for walks around the block, or purchase live plants to scatter throughout the office. Some of the more progressive companies have an office pet (usually a cat or dog), and encourage employees to spend time bonding with the animal. It's been scientifically proven that spending time with an animal can elevate serotonin and dopamine levels, which can calm and relax an individual.
Add a Personal Touch
Allowing your employees to bring in personal items should not only be allowed, but encouraged. Mauria Finley, CEO of Citrus Lane, an e-commerce service geared towards parents, babies, and kids, encourages her employees to bring in photos of their children, which are then displayed on accent walls throughout the office. If your company revolves around animals, consider allowing employees to bring in photos of their pets, or even their pets themselves! Not only does incorporating these artifacts into an office brighten the ambiance, but it allows your team to be themselves and build a community. When you build trust and comfort in work relationships, employees will be more likely to take creative risks.
Think Outside the Box
Think you need one desk per team member? Think renting a full-time office space is mandatory for a start-up? Think again. Mobile technology, such as lap tops and cell phones, have rendered some ideas useless, which is good news for cash strapped entrepreneurs, as it frees up money for other business expenditures. Some start-ups prefer open office environments, where employees work closely together and can move from room to room and desk to desk, while others utilize virtual offices and allow employees to work from home the majority of the time.
Whether your start-up is large or small, ensuring your office environment promotes creativity and comfort is a must. So, splash some color on the walls, say hello to an office pet, or work on your green thumb – your employees will thank you with the smiles on their faces.