• How engaged is your workforce

How engaged is your workforce?

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Engaged staff feel that they are part of a community, and this sense of belonging improves motivation and productivity. Accent Furniture offers some tips for creating a business where staff feel more engaged, drawing inspiration from Anetta Pizag’s book, Create a Thriving Workspace.1

Find ways for staff to come together in small groups

Staff will naturally talk more intimately if they are huddled together in small groups. This leads them to form friendships and become more engaged in their work relationships.

One option is to add office meeting pods to your corporate office furniture range to encourage collaboration time. Pods generally seat 4-6 people and have an integrated table and built-in power and data points. Staff can charge their phones or tablets and even watch training videos if you add a monitor to the meeting pod.

Breakout zones promote casual interaction because staff go there to relax, get a coffee or have informal meetings. Encourage staff to make use of breakout zones, rather than making staff feel that they are wasting time there. A lot can be achieved during informal collaboration. Casual office furniture is great for these areas: office lounges, ottomans or even beanbags. Height adjustable workstations are a good option for casual meetings or chats over a coffee, as laptops can be used easily if the need arises.

Be family friendly

Pizag writes about the ‘Best Places to Work in Australia’ awards. Free lunches and family friendly policies were common factors in all companies that performed well in these awards. Flexible working (e.g. remote working, flexible hours) is one way of being family friendly. If you have space, a child-friendly room that allows parents to bring their children to work, even for just a few hours, can boost productivity and engagement. How about adding a parent and child customised workstation to your office furniture range?!

Avoid hierarchical office furniture

Pizag writes that we may “need hierarchy on an organisational level, but not on a human level”. Staff understand that some managers need private spaces or particularly large offices to do their jobs effectively. However, if office furniture, workstations and ergonomic chairs relate purely to seniority, this can erode trust in the company’s leadership. It shows inequality at a human level, which is certainly not engaging!

Create engaging spaces

Pizag recommends creating naturally engaging spaces within the office. For example, add areas into the office that make it feel like a neighbourhood, such as a café or a gym. You can make a room multifunctional by installing custom designed office furniture for storage. Who would have thought a storage room could be fun?

Let people be themselves

When staff come to work, they will feel more engaged if they don’t have to leave their real self at the door. Different personalities and cultures enrich a workplace, and companies that find ways for people to bring their authentic self to the office will reap the rewards. Pizag suggests a visual cue system to let co-workers know when somebody is deep in thought or open to discussions. Another of her ideas is for staff to stick “cartoon graphics on the wall to express if they felt ‘sunny’, ‘cloudy’ or ‘stormy’ about their projects”. This lets people be themselves and creates a sense of teamwork.

Personalise the workplace

Pizag refers to the trend for people to adapt their workplace to their needs so that they feel engaged with their space. This is an interesting point, as many of Accent’s clients are adopting activity based working models, where people move to different zones/workstations during the day, so there is a trend for less personalisation. An increase in working from home has also led to less ‘ownership’ of individual workstations. To get the balance right, the team at Accent Office Furniture recommends individual pedestals with personal belongings that can be wheeled to different zones.

In another chapter of Pizag’s book, she looks at a potential disadvantage of flexible working: moving around to different desks can make people feel that they do not belong. She suggests creating dedicated team rooms or groups of workstations partially separated from each other so that team members have a ‘home’ place to return to, where they feel part of a group. Ergonomic office furniture in a particular colour scheme or style is a great way to personalise team areas.

To find out more about Accent’s modern office furniture for the engaging business, please call Accent on 1800 044 044.