Updated: Oct 14, 2019
(BPT) - A product or service can undoubtedly define a brand and drive its popularity with consumers. However, most successful employers would acknowledge that their employees are the most important asset and a critical element - the backbone - that shapes and gives a company purpose.
Given the role that employees play in defining a company and its culture, employers looking to strengthen the workforce, bolster brand reputation and attract and retain top talent would be wise to consider the importance of work-life integration. Simply put, that's employees' happiness at work. According to Staples' 2019 Workplace Survey, employees, more than anything, want to feel heard: They crave choice, support and connectivity.
Looking to support work-life integration in your own organization? Here are a few ways companies can use connectivity, design and wellness to elevate the workplace from transactional to transformational.
Flexibility. Ninety percent of employees Staples surveyed agreed that allowing for more flexible work arrangements increases employee morale, but oddly enough, only 24 percent said their employers actually have formal work-from-home policies. At the end of the day, employees want to feel empowered to choose where they can get their best work done, and a dedicated work-from-home policy is one of the most effective ways employers can introduce the flexibility employees crave. A flexible workplace breeds happier, more loyal employees who are inspired to support their organization as much as their organization supports them.
Connectivity. As the remote workforce gains traction across industries, connectivity is more important than ever before. When thinking through ways to improve your office's connectivity, consider what kind of technology your employees need to be able to work wherever they are, such as instant messaging services, collaboration apps and cloud-based file management. You can find these kinds of tools at every price point, including free and subscription-based services - so all organizations can find options that fit their budget.
Wellness. While 78 percent of employees surveyed feel their employers have a responsibility to keep them mentally and physically well, only 42 percent said their employers actually offer wellness programs. Be an industry leader and make it a point to foster a happy and healthy workforce. A wellness program need not be expensive, either; you can always start small by providing healthier snacks and sharing information about local health resources. If your company can support it, consider offering incentives for healthy behaviors or look into a gym reimbursement program. Wellness programs are scalable to fit your resources and employees' needs.
Design. The workplace should go beyond just encouraging productivity; it should inspire employees to do their best work. One way to inspire employees is through color and light. By conducting some research on how certain color schemes or light elements affect performance, there may be small changes you can make that will have a substantial impact on employee morale. For example, studies have shown that employees thrive in well-lit environments with an abundance of natural light and organic elements - so think about procuring some plants for your office space. If you're thinking that an open floor plan is the right move for your office, you might want to reconsider - 52 percent of the workers Staples surveyed found their open office to be distracting. Instead, consider a modular office layout that is neither fully open nor fully closed, but rather a combination of both collaborative and private spaces, giving employees the option to choose what workspaces work best for them each day.
Whether you implement all or just one of the tips above, by leading the charge in work-life integration, you are reinforcing your company's investment in its people and helping to build a more inspiring, productive and happy workplace.
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