‘A happy workforce is a productive workforce,’ is a mantra that the business world is starting to take extremely seriously.
As major companies such as Google see the benefit of how their staff’s wellbeing can relate to turnover, more and more ‘trend-setting’ ways are being developed to inspire employees. Indeed, a myriad of perks ranging from giving out free ice cream to kitting out offices with ping pong tables is being tried by companies great and small.
Offering freebies and installing office gimmicks seems to be very trendy at the moment, but, rather than having ‘cool’ workspaces, people are putting more emphasis on making sure their offices are functional and practical.
By that I mean that companies are investing more time in reducing frustrations in the workspace. So, rather than pool tables and beer fridges, which can often be seen as providing ‘forced fun’, they want things such as reliable wifi to ensure productivity, and if their systems break down, they want instant access to a customer service support team.
Time lost on maintenance of internal systems can result in delays when replying to customers or clients, perhaps even missed deadlines. Ensuring productivity in your staff can be as simple as ensuring they have the necessary tools to carry out their roles. For example, having your wifi go down is extremely frustrating to staff and it can create unnecessary pressure in terms of reducing the timeframe available to complete tasks.
Location can also be a vital factor for many as their industry dictates that they need to be in a particular area. For example, a lot of creative companies are specifically looking to be based in London’s Soho as the address is something their clients and customers will see and it reflects well on their business.
The value of being in an area traditionally associated with a specific business sector adds more than a level of prestige to a company’s credentials, however, something that applies across the board is that being in a central location can act as a morale booster for your staff. Being in a vibrant, buzzing area and having a wide range of amenities available, such as restaurants, bars and shops, is far better for staff culture than being based on a business park.
One of the main barriers for small businesses is simply the availability of suitable space, as a lot of office spaces are much bigger than small businesses require.
Affordability is the other restriction. Traditional rents are staggeringly high at the moment, which makes having the required covenant strength to secure a space very difficult for smaller businesses, particularly if they are just starting up.
Then there’s the logistical side, and the time and effort required. It takes a lot of man-hours to set up your own company infrastructure, such as your internet and networking, refurbishment, furnishing etc. All these things are taken care of in a managed space and you have a support team at your disposal if anything goes wrong. All of which can save many man-hours, which could have been better spent on growing the business.
By James Barnett and Jonathan Masri, co-founders of WorkPad