How to Raise productivity by keeping your business attractive inside and out
Many years ago I was taking over as General Manager for Southern Maryland Oil. Profits and performance were down, morale was low, and failure was in the air. Employees anticipated major changes from the new GM that wouldn’t be good for them.
Instead, we refurbished offices and brought them up to date, painted the oil tanks, replaced some computers, knocked a few walls down, got more light into the building, and made the place brighter. The facility update launched an immediate uptick in performance that gained momentum… and ultimately contributed to a successful company turnaround.
Why invest in changes like this for a failing company? To raise productivity.
The more attractive and functional work environment caused employees to see the future potential of the business, to be excited about the company, to embrace and be engaged in the change. The brighter cheerier workspace, with its new desks, livelier wall color, and shiny floors caused them to feel that good things were happening. Their attitude shifted from doom and gloom to things-are-looking-up-around-here. The result was that our changes were more successful than if we hadn’t spent that money.
To raise productivity, make your physical surroundings more attractive, organized, and functional.
Dreary, poorly functioning workspaces breed dreary, poorly functioning employee performance. Numerous studies have shown that “…enriched offices are psychologically advantageous… and are likely to increase organizational identification, well-being, and productivity.”
As a structure ages it can become a frustration… doors that don’t close properly, drawers that stick, computer that’s slow, carpets that won’t lay flat, rusty filing cabinets, temperamental printers, broken chairs, squeaky hinges… these wear on people’s minds and weigh on their spirits. When you remove these frustrations, spirits raise, employees feel more optimistic about the future, they begin to be more proactive vs. reactive. If they think you care, they’re more loyal, they stick around longer, their morale raises… and all that begins to raise productivity.
The same is true for customers. Are you apt to give your regular business to the grocery that’s clean, bright, colorful, and open or the one with filthy floors, rusty signage, dim lighting, and cramped aisles? Clean, bright exteriors and open, well-lit interiors attract customers.
Updates don’t have to be hugely expensive. Start with inexpensive ones—CFL light bulbs and paint can make a world of difference. Here’s a good blogpost from Carson Design and Associates with more ideas about things you can do with lighting, color, noise, office layout, and technology.
How to raise productivity? When people perceive quality, they reciprocate with quality. When employees perceive that things are done in a quality way at your establishment, they’ll respond with quality job performance.