Power. Control. Authority. Everybody needs to feel like they have the capability to assert their own opinion and have it be respected and—depending on the circumstance—yielded to. In one’s personal life, for example, being a parent gives you authority. In one’s professional life, however, you can feel unempowered, especially when you’re not the boss.
This does not make for a happy employee. A person who feels like they have no say begins to feel inferior, undervalued, not important. And productivity takes a dive. Employees feel like they should be able to have some control over some aspect of their job, no matter how trivial. Believe it or not, this even goes for how their office is decorated. If they come to work and hate the color of the walls the moment they sit down, it’s a guarantee you’re not going to get their best performance.
So what décor factors make a happier, more productive employee?
Companies put in a lot of time and research as to what colors would be best for their website presence. It should be the same in the office. A lot of employees have gray cubicles to work in every day. Gray is considered a color of intellect and wisdom; however, studies have shown that the color gray makes people feel depressed and isolated, explains Empower-Yourself-With-Color-Psychology.com. If you sit in a gray office all day, you probably don’t care about anything but getting out of there. So paint the office!
Blue has a calming effect on people and green lowers anxiety and is easy on the eyes. These are colors that inspire employees and improve their attitudes about their job, states Chron. While yellow, orange and red have been shown to be stimulating, they can get to be a bit much. Plus, red can bring out anger and orange can make you hungry. Dark colors can depress employees, as well.
Ask your employees what color they would like their walls painted, and see the difference in their job performance.
Whoever thought gray cubicles were a positive influence on an employee’s workspace clearly has never worked in one. It may be a tough change cost-wise, but companies should seriously consider doing away with them. Employees need to feel like they have room. Think about a trapped animal. All it wants to do is flee, so why would it be different for an employee?
Along with the gray cubicles comes the inevitable florescent lighting. Studies have shown florescent lighting to be the cause of many health ailments in the workplace such as migraines, stress, problems sleeping and lack of energy. Now you have a depressed employee that has migraines and can’t sleep at night. Not the greatest prescription for top performance.
The fix is simple. Put an employee’s workspace next to a window for natural lighting. Make the windows feel homey by installing drapes, light solar shades or mesh shades that provide glare control, save energy and slash costs. All three of these are viable solutions that will provide an employee subliminal comfort and help produce top-quality work.
It may sound crazy, but plants have been shown to raise productivity, improve attendance and increase job satisfaction. Anything nature-oriented has a soothing effect on a person. When people get back to nature, they’re doing it to relax; if your employees have a plant in their office, it will do the same thing. Putting it simply, plants make you feel better.
No matter where you are, it’s always more comfortable if it feels like home. When employees have framed pictures of the grandkids on their desk or have certificates for “You’re the greatest mom!” hanging on the wall, they feel much more peaceful and empowered. Any little bit helps, as the saying goes.
So now you know: an employee-decorated office makes for a happy employee, which in turn makes for better productivity and company worth. It’s time that employers let their staff take charge of their personal workspace. At worst, you’ll be stuck with unattractive offices. At best, you will be able to count on happy employees that are ready to do their job well.
A plant and some paint is a small price to pay for that.