4 Ways to Give Employees More Control Over their Workspace
Control isnΓÇÖt just for bosses. As a 2013 workplace study concluded, having control over their physical working environment is a key factor for employee happiness and productivity in the office.
If handing over the decision-making to your team sounds like a whole lot of hassle, it doesnΓÇÖt have to be. Here are four simple ways to give them more control over their workspace.
1. Let them personalise their workspace
WeΓÇÖre flying in the face of popular thinking on clean desk policies with this one, but have you ever considered encouraging your team to personalise the office?
When we say ΓÇ£personaliseΓÇ¥ we donΓÇÖt mean letting staff clutter up their desks with week-old doughnuts and novelty promotional giftsΓÇª But we are in favour of a more considered and structured approach.
At PinterestΓÇÖs US HQ, employees are encouraged to bring in and display their collections in the office ΓÇô a kind of real-world version of the curating platform itself. Pinterest also has a Lego wall for employees to build out their own designs, while over at Mind CandyΓÇÖs Shoreditch offices thereΓÇÖs a ΓÇ£colouring in wallΓÇ¥ where employees can fill in the wallpaper design with felt pens. For a less quirky solution, you could simply allocate employees a small budget to add artworks or office plants to their space.
2. Let them choose the seating arrangements
YouΓÇÖve spent hours carefully mapping out that new seating plan for your office. What next? How about crumpling it up ΓÇô and handing over the responsibility to your team.
Let them negotiate among themselves to decide who sits next to whom; who gets the window seat and who sits nearest the air conditioning.
Interesting patterns may emerge ΓÇô and you may discover that what you think works and what your team thinks works are very different. Conversely, you may find that your ideas are very similar. Either way, the important thing here is that youΓÇÖre empowering your team to choose for themselves.
Not convinced? Why not give it a try and see what happens? You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
3. Use breakout spaces┬áto create┬áchoice
There are very few people who actually enjoy sitting in the same spot for seven or eight hours a day, five days a week. So it stands to reason that giving your team a variety of spaces in which to work would be a popular ΓÇô and very smart ΓÇô move.
Think funky breakout space, comfy lounge areas, and even call booths for extra privacy when making important calls. You could even incorporate some quiet pods for when workers need to get away from the background buzz.
By offering a range of spaces within the workplace and allowing workers to choose when to use them, youΓÇÖre placing them in control of their physical working environment and enabling them to varying their routine.
4. Moving office? Get them involved in the search
As with letting staff choose the seating arrangements, this one might seem daunting and complex at first ΓÇô especially if youΓÇÖve got a large team to accommodate.
However, weΓÇÖre not suggesting you take all fifty of your staff out on office tours ΓÇô that would be impractical. Rather, itΓÇÖs a case of letting them have an input during the planning stages and as you draw up the specification for your new premises.
If a whole-team meeting is too tricky to arrange ΓÇô or moderate ΓÇô then consider sending out a simple questionnaire: How do they feel about your current offices? How far would they be willing to commute to work? Where do they commute from right now? What features would they like to see in a new office?
As with all workplace issues affecting your staff, moving office is a balancing act and youΓÇÖll need to make it clear that itΓÇÖs unlikely youΓÇÖll be able to meet everyoneΓÇÖ s requests.
But even if you canΓÇÖt please everyone, hopefully they will feel listened to and appreciate that youΓÇÖve asked for their opinion. Moreover, you may also collect some useful information which informs and changes the focus for your office search.
What do you think? Have you tried any of these techniques for giving employees more control over the office? Or would you be willing to give any of them a go?