Studies show the physical environment employees work in directly influences their wellbeing, work performance, and productivity. But even with the best intentions, many Portland business owners are missing the mark.
What environmental factors really matter when creating a positive, productive office environment?
You might be surprised. Take a look at the 6 most common things about your Portland office your employees can’t stand.
1. Noise level and bad acoustics
The quality of acoustics in your office is really important.
A loud office environment is frustrating for Portland employees. Even the most focused individual will start to crack in an environment constantly barraged with audible clutter. Loud noises in an office space are linked with a lot of problems:
- Poor ergonomics
Open office environments are largely to blame for the clamour of the modern-day work environment. An open office layout may inspire increased collaboration and creativity, but there’s no denying it can also be hugley distracting.
If you have an open layout, office noise reduction tactics might include spacing out your employees, adding cubicle walls or other separators between departments, or installing a white noise machine to muffle chatter and ensure privacy.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, avoid making your office too quiet. Some level of background noise is necessary and can help with:
2. Poor air quality
Does your office feel stuffy? Kitchen smells wafting into your workspace? The strong odor of cleaning chemicals after your janitorial team comes through?
Keeping the air in your office space fresh is important. Many people can be sensitive to odors, causing headaches or other physical issues. And there’s nothing quite like cooked broccoli or the smell of tuna or other fish to break your concentration.
Make sure you install an effective air filtration system to keep the air fresh. Oil diffusers can be helpful as well, though you should again be careful with what scents you use.
You should also make sure your cleaning crew is using safe, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies that won’t leave behind a strong chemical odor.
3. Too cold or too hot
No one wants to work (or even can work productively) in an office space that’s too hot or cold.
For years it was thought that colder office environments are better for productivity. But new studies are throwing all this out the window.
OSHA recommends employers maintain workplace temperatures between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. Many Portland employees consider 70 to 73 as ideal for the office. However, a Cornell study found temperatures as high as 77 to be optimal.
4. Unclean space
The average employee loses 9 working days a year due to sickness. Some of these sick days may be attributed to a lack of workplace hygiene and cleanliness. A clean office is a productive office — it’s as simple as that!
A few other happy results of a clean office include:
- Increased focus
- Reduced stress
- Greater profitability
- Less wasted time
- Improved morale
Every office should have an established cleaning schedule. If you don’t have an in-house cleaning team, work with a janitorial company to ensure your space is properly cleaned.
How often should your office be cleaned? Large buildings likely need nightly cleaning services while smaller offices could get away with once a week. And remember that areas like kitchen and bathroom require extra care to ensure employee health and safety.
Whether you do nightly or weekly cleanings, you should also plan larger monthly or quarterly deep cleans to ensure you space stays in tip-top shape. This includes carpet cleaning, cleaning windows, and floor maintenance.
5. No recycling
51% of employees won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong environmental commitments. And 25% say they will look for a new job if they discover their employer doesn’t handle environmental issues well.
There are many ways you can promote a green office environment, but one of the easiest (and most expected by employees in Portland) is a recycling program. Not only is it something many employees want and appreciate, it may also be a requirement.
Most counties expect businesses to provide recycling bins, recycle paper and containers, and separate recyclables correctly.
Depending on the size of your business, it may be beneficial to partner with a commercial recycling service. They can manage your recycling program, make sure its working efficiency, maximize recycling in your company, and answer any questions along the way.
6. Poor building maintenance
You can have the cleanest office building in town, but it won’t matter if it’s falling apart at the seams.
If you own your office building, regular building maintenance and property management is crucial for the happiness and safety of your employees.
There are a spectrum of maintenance tasks to keep an eye on in your office — from ceiling tile repair or replacement, blind cleaning, changing light bulbs, and more.
Anytime you have a maintenance issue arise, avoid the negative effects it can have on productivity, morale, and safety by taking care of it quickly.
Most Portland businesses hire a building maintenance company to handle these issues. You have enough on your plate as it is, don’t add building maintenance to your to-do list.
Happy employees are good for business
As we’ve discussed, creating a happy, healthy work environment for employees is beneficial to your company. Losing an employee due to a poor work environment is not something you ever want to happen: Dealing with employee turnover is a huge waste of time and money!
When you provide a positive work environment, you’ll reap the benefits!
- Better employee decision making abilities
- Increased innovation
- More productivity
- Better employee engagement
- Better customer service
- More sales (happy people sell more!)
How can we help improve your work environment?
For over 50 years, Cascade Building Services has been helping fuel clean, environmentally friendly, and well-maintained commercial properties (and in turn, happy employees) throughout Portland.
We provide services 24 hours per day 365 days per year. We are the city’s trusted source for building maintenance and cleaning — whether you need a one-time cleaning or an ongoing program.