Imagine the benefits of a supportive office work environment where you enter in the morning knowing that you’ll face challenges, and as you head to your workstation you get a comment from a team member, “Let me know if you get stuck and I’ll be glad to help.”
You smile. Just think how great it’d be if the comment came from the person you’re reporting to, or even the CEO.
You adjust your desk to the height where it’s most comfortable, settle in your ergonomic chair, and get started on the day. Your responsibilities require close attention to detail, but you feel assured that others are sharing in the experience.
Is that scenario filled with wishful thinking or can it be a reality?
Defining a Supportive Office Environment
Let’s start with the positive elements of a helpful office and supportive office work environment.
- Staff is asked to participate in setting realistic goals that are achievable.
- Company leaders know that challenges are ahead, but rally their team in a promising way like, “If we sail through this storm then we’ll have bonuses to share and a stronger market position.”
- The right accessories and equipment are available for workstations, breakout rooms and lounges.
- Deliberate thought is given to planning the office space for both comfort and productivity, with attention to details like maximizing natural light and ensuring that ergonomics play a key role.
- Personal space is provided so employees are free to move around if that helps them work productively. They’re given respect to make decisions and take ownership of their situations without fear of reprisal or punishment.
- If staff runs into a problem, they have team members or upper management willing to listen and problem-solve together.
Why Workplaces Break Down
Life isn’t lived in a vacuum. A company by nature has to interact with vendors, customers and is staffed by employees who experience personal ups and downs. People get tired and fall ill or their career goals have changed. They may want positions with more responsibility – or less.
A business has multiple moving parts.
Even a solo professional has to remain up-to-date on not only core strengths, but handling taxes, finding new clients and keeping current ones happy. A business with 20 to 50 employees or a corporation or university faces even more complexity.
Business strategies range from improving a business’ core, gleaning data from financials and knowing the latest technologies to leverage.
The external world is complex, too. Every industry has hundreds or thousands of competitors.
Many, although not all, are looking to improve and gain new customers. The digital age makes it easy for customers to do their own research to find new brands and suppliers. Maintaining brand loyalty and keeping current customers happy is an on-going task.
Navigating the daily ups and downs means that wrong decisions are sometimes made, competitors make breakthroughs, and a myriad of outside forces impact local and international economies.
Think back to late 2019 when companies were planning for 2020. No one would have had Covid-19 on their radar. You can’t plan for every emergency but you can maintain a supportive office work environment in good times and tough times.
Leaders Impact Workplace Culture
The attitudes and behaviors of a CEO, vice president, and even a mid-level manager can determine if a workplace is supportive or filled with uncertainty and tension. Leaders truly have to understand and evaluate their own capabilities—and that’s not easy.
Photo: OFS Obeya
Strong personalities can easily take credit for what others have done; leaders can make poor decisions, and those who are insecure will pass blame. Autopilot can work well for airliners, but companies don’t have that option. They just can’t hit a button labeled Forward, and then sit back and relax.
Every day is new.
How can leaders develop a positive office? Start with the basics.
Make sure the vision of the company and its mission statement are clear, and then follow through with the team so they understand and adhere to the organization’s overall goal and direction.
Positive leaders also invest in the internal environment and understand that satisfied employees are key to the brand promise.
No operation, no matter how large, has unlimited funds, but corners shouldn’t be cut in terms of obtaining the most effective office layout and furnishings. Today’s modular workstations and accessories for lounges make it possible to create an uplifting interior while keeping the budget under control.
Photo: OFS Yelly
Leaders know that decisions like cutting expenses and allocating resources are difficult. Getting counsel from trusted outsiders can give much-needed space to reflect and evaluate. These are key in creating a supportive office work environment
Foster Employee Communication
People who are loyal to the company are the greatest asset to any operation. Create a personal system where they’re allowed or encouraged to make their goals known upon hiring. Do performance evaluations, but also get a sense of how they’re doing in their personal lives and where they’re headed professionally.
Your organization may be a large university or a manufacturer so the personal input and any type of counseling you provide for employees will be quite limited. But you can make your team aware of resources available like nearby counseling centers, gym memberships or other outlets that benefit both physical and mental health.
Supportive workplaces don’t just happen but are developed through an office that’s well-laid out, people who commit to doing the best for each other, and leaders who offer the same respect they would like to have.
Create a Supportive Office Work Environment
Take a step in creating a supportive office work environment and bringing positivity to your workplace. Consult with the team at 2010 Office Furniture about space planning and furnishings that bring out the best in your staff.
Contact them with your needs.
2010 Office has nearly 50 years combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, nonprofits, universities and emerging small enterprises.