Every workplace should be a healthy environment. This means that your employees should be physically well and safe in the space, as well as feel supported. If you aren’t working on how you can improve your workspace for their mental, physical and social health, start today. This guide can help outline just what you need to make your workplace a safe and happy place to be.
- Start with Physical Safety
The best way to start improving your workspace is to look at how it can be safer and healthier for your employees. Start here because working on improving the physical aspect of your employees’ health is a good way to increase the baseline of their mental health and productivity – it is also where you are the most liable.
You have a lot of responsibilities as a business owner, and those start with (at minimum) being compliant with the law. Though serious regulations only start when you have five employees or more, having a carefully thought out health and safety plan is important. If you don’t already have a health and safety policy, start there.
Don’t worry if you are unsure of where to begin. There are agencies out there that develop great health & safety policies for small businesses. They know what your legal requirements are and how you can go beyond that to offer an environment that is truly safe and healthy to be in.
You’ll also need to audit your workplace and make improvements from that audit, so that the physical space and the policies you implement improve your workspace environment.
- How to Make Your Employees Play Nice
Part of a healthy and happy working environment is having a team that works well together. To do this, you need to create an anti-harassment policy, train your employees to be sensitive to those from other backgrounds (even if you don’t have someone from said background yet on your team) and also create a system so your employees can report misconduct with confidence.
Training is going to play a massive role in your company, particularly as you expand. Not only do you want your employees to be mindful of others’ needs and backgrounds so that they get along better, but you need them to think about these things for the sake of your customers.
- Have an HR Department
Every business should have an HR department or specialist. If you cannot afford one in-house, however, don’t worry, you can outsource your HR needs to an agency that can help you with hiring, onboarding, and even managing employee grievances.
Hiring an HR agency to handle employee grievances is a great place to start, since it puts you apart from the process and makes the entire experience more impartial. They can also help you create a standard policy and steps to take if there is an issue on your side, their side, or between employees.
- Decorate Your Workplace
Everyone wants to work in an environment they like, and a great way to do that is to actually decorate the space. Working in a barren, uninspiring environment can take its toll, but thankfully redecorating is not hard or difficult. You can even get your employees in on it. Have them bring in creature comforts from home to decorate their space and make it feel like they’re working in a cosy home office instead of just a cubicle.
You should also consider painting the walls, adding additional lighting (lamps, for example) and bringing in plants and décor. Making the space feel warm and relaxing can help your employees work more comfortably throughout the day.
- Get Your Employees’ Input
Finally, remember to ask for feedback. Get feedback for everything from the design of the space to your own leadership approach. Sometimes the feedback you get will be how you can make the space safer for your employees. Employees with disabilities, for example, will have their own needs – you should never assume what someone with a disability wants or will require to work well. Instead, ask them and work out strategies together.
If you need to make physical changes to your office to accommodate an employee know you don’t have to pay for it all entirely out of pocket. Go through government channels to acquire funding, grants, or at the very least discounts so that you can make your office or workshop more accessible, for less.
Sometimes a rather rudimentary approach is needed to start with. You may, for example, need to go down to the front door to put a ramp down for a wheelchair user until the building you are in makes more substantial changes.