This week Spacio would like to share with you the most effective ways that you can change the mood in your office quickly and without much cost.

The office is where we spend a considerable percentage of our adult lives and far too many people are reporting that they are feeling negative and stressed-out resulting in them being unproductive at work and unhappy at home. Stress can be contagious and when you have a number of people feeling frustrated and being openly negative in an office on a regular basis, that energy will inevitably spread to other staff and eventually bring everybody down.

Of course, our work lives will always be filled with challenges and when tough workloads and tight deadlines collide with the ever changing delicate balance of human emotions, you cannot escape the fact that individuals will have their ‘up’ days and their ‘down’ days. While there is little you can do to control or eliminate these peaks and troughs, there are some things that you can control and they have the power to make a big difference to the overall mood of your entire company.

What follows is a list of ‘quick wins’ that are simple to implement and will make a noticeable improvement to the level of happiness in your office.

1. Get in touch with nature

We start things off with an easy one…adding plants into the workplace.

The advantages of introducing colourful plants into the office are numerous. Being in close proximity to plants can promote a sense of wellbeing and studies have shown that an increase in concentration and ability to focus can also be attributed to their presence.

The bright colours help to make the office more vibrant and engaging and remind people of nature and the outside world away from photocopiers and the water cooler.

2. Create a culture of continual improvement

One of the best ways you can promote a more positive feeling right through your company is to make every employee feel that their opinion is valued and that it counts.

Staff suggestion boxes have become very popular over the years but in far too many cases the suggestions are not followed up and debated in an open and public way and support for the idea declines over time.

The secret to doing this well is to make sure the process of approving or dumping an idea is completely transparent across the company. All ideas should be featured somewhere visible within the office with a clear view of whether they are being taken forward or not. A good idea would be to make the process diplomatic and let staff vote on the ‘approved’ ideas. Perhaps the four or five ideas out of ten that get the most votes will then be put into action and each idea’s author is then rewarded.

The best thing about this idea is that all of your staff are continually thinking of new ways to make your business better.  

3. Healthy treats

It has been proven that healthy employees are more focused and in turn more productive.

By making healthy snacks available to staff every day of the week you will not only increase productivity and clearer thinking but you will see a lot of positivity and appreciation come back as a result of the gesture.

Snacks like nuts and raisins, various fruits, low-fat yogurts and a selection of green teas etc would all work well and do not cost a huge amount.

You will find that staff will state this new perk as one of the great things about working for your business and will boast about it to their network of friends.

4. The ideas area

Create an area where staff can sit together and discuss ideas and issues that they are currently working on. Perhaps lay out bean bags and some of the healthy snacks mentioned above and promote this as a space for a 20 minute catch up and brain-storm with colleagues.

Suggest employees get to know members of the team that they have previously not worked with and encourage them to develop solutions together.

If these sessions are limited to 20 minutes only it creates focus and drive and staff will find that they come up with creative answers quickly and come away feeling uplifted, supported and more socially connected.

5. Reach for the paint pot

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Take a look around your office, do you see an inspirational space with a pleasant mix of calming and engaging colours or a bleak lifeless expanse of white or grey leaving you feeling uninspired and bored?

The colours you feature in your workplace may seem an irrelevant and secondary detail but the science around it says otherwise.

Different colours have been shown to stimulate different parts of our brains. For instance, blue can be used to create feelings of calm and stimulate productivity, with yellow conjuring up feelings of optimism and creativity.

If your industry is particularly demanding, then you should add some shades of green to your workspace as this colour will help to calm employees and relive stress.

Want to attract people to a certain area or make them passionate about an idea? …colour it red and you will get pulses soaring and high levels of engagement.

6. Introduce a little play time

Research shows that without adequate breaks to recharge themselves, employees will lose focus and their productivity will dive through the floor.

If you are interested in getting the most out of your employees, then you will need them to be working smarter not harder or longer.

This notion may sound outlandish to some but having your staff tied to their desks producing small amounts of low-quality work is not doing anybody any good.

Create an area for downtime and relaxation and include some games, books, magazines and maybe a few iPod shuffles to enable staff to have a space to switch off for 15 mins…the positive effects will surprise you.

Let’s sum up

Wherever you find employees that are proud of their company and the place they work, you will find increased levels of performance, happiness, and loyalty to the business. Those progressive thinking companies that are exploring new ways of working and keeping staff motivated are attracting and retaining the best talent from across their industries and enjoying huge growth and success within their marketplace.

So now you’ve got some ideas to get you firmly on the road to a happier workplace, we just have a couple of points that you should consider before getting started…

Firstly, it may be tempting to want to surprise everyone with the positive changes that you have made by perhaps making the additions at a weekend or in an evening. This is a very bad idea and should be avoided at all costs. If you are going to achieve the right kind of results, it is vital that everyone feels included in the process and has a say on the details of each part. This ensures that employees buy into the ideas as all parties feel involved and consulted.

Secondly, you need to remember that even if you create the workplace to beat all others, individuals are still going to have their down days where they suffer from bad moods, low energy, and less than optimum productivity. This is called being human and, until the introduction of human 2.0 robots into the workplace, will always be a part of any company.

Good luck with your transformation and don’t forget to let us know how you get on.

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