Optimising your workplace for engaged and productive staff

That’s why it can be invaluable for businesses to challenge their own attitudes towards the workplace, and turn their place of business from a necessary cost into a competitive advantage.

Location, location, location
A survey by the British Council for Offices recently found that the comfort and location of a workplace can have a huge impact on recruitment, retention, employee happiness and productivity – all crucial for SMEs and growing businesses. And while flexible working may be on the rise, the majority of British employees still see the office as the place where they can be most productive.

Turning factors such as location into a strength can boost your chances of luring the best and brightest talent, who will show a greater willingness to engage and play a key role in growing your business.

Ditch the one-size-fits-all approach
While some people prefer to work in teams and in open-plan spaces, others may need a quiet spot every now and then to focus on one task. Offering a workplace and culture that can accommodate different working styles and personalities will help to engage employees and enable businesses to get the most out of their people.

Think outside the box
In many ways, SMEs are better equipped than their larger counterparts to experiment and innovate – and that is no different when it comes to the office. From a splash of colour to a flash of individuality, there are a number of ways you can spruce up your office space to encourage creativity and productivity.

Embrace the rise of alternative working practices
The rise of coworking is causing quite a stir in the startup community, and it’s not hard to see why: shared workspaces allow startups and micro-businesses to network, collaborate and crucially – keep overheads low. Likewise, the mounting popularity of flexible and remote working is not something employers should ignore; it is rapidly becoming a key motivator for ‘Millenials’ in particular, making it vital for companies to offer a balanced and logistically sound flexible working policy.

Tap into the ‘forgotten’ senses
Considering how much thought businesses often put into how their workplace looks, it seems strange that the other senses have – until now – been so overlooked. Apps such as Coffitivity, for instance, are becoming popular among freelancers and remote workers looking for an aural boost and the ‘intangible’ buzz found in a productive office.

Takasago, Japan’s biggest producer of fragrances, found that people working with computers made 54% fewer typing errors when the workplace was scented with lemon; 33% fewer with jasmine; and 20% fewer with lavender. Avanta’s own recent research also shows a strong connection between the world of work and our sense of smell – over two thirds of British adults believe that how an office smells affects their productivity, morale and attitude, and as many as one in twenty have rejected a job candidate because of how they smelled!

Geraint Evans, Sales & Marketing Director at Avanta and Serviced Office Group. Avanta Serviced Office Group is the leading provider of flexible workspace for growing businesses, offering a wide range of virtual office and meeting room locations throughout London and the UK