Every boss wants their employees to love coming to work every day, and for good reason — happy employees are harder-working and more productive than miserable workers.
Studies show that many Americans are unhappy with their jobs and their work environments, and that low job satisfaction can be a prediction of bottom-line performance, The New York Times reported. If your business is in need of a company culture makeover, it may be easier to achieve than you think. From small decor changes to benefits like schedule flexibility, there are plenty of ways to increase employee happiness and improve your business.
Here are five simple, scientific ways to improve your company's culture.
Use color psychology
One of the best ways to add personality to your office is by adding a little color. With a little paint, you can turn your workplace into a more inviting and beautiful space that will definitely impress your employees. But a new paint job can do more than just beautify — if you use the right hues, you can actually inspire and motivate your employees, thanks to a little color psychology.
Colors can actually evoke emotional responses in people in different ways, according to Forbes. For example, green is often associated with nature and growth and can spark creativity in employees, whereas red is more likely to reduce employees' analytical thinking abilities, and pink has a calming effect. White tends to lead to boredom and a lack of stimulation, however, so if your office is full of plain white walls, it's probably time for a change. If you're looking for a color that pleases everyone, blue is the most popular, Forbes reported. Just avoid yellow, as it tends to be the least popular color option.
Decorate with plants
If you're trying to perk up your employees, adding a little green to the office can help. Sprucing up your office with flowers and other plants might just be the boost your workplace needs, and not just to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Research shows that offices with plants often have happier, more productive employees.
According to a study from the University of Exeter, adding plants to an office can increase productivity by 15 percent, ScienceDaily reported. The study examined the effects of putting plants in real offices and found that these green additions led to increases in workplace satisfaction, perceived air quality and self-reported levels of concentration among workers.
Provide a work-free lunch space
If you have the space for it, try creating an area in the office where employees can eat lunch together without being bogged down by work and assignments. Doing so might do more than just facilitate valuable office friendships — it can lead to harder-working employees, too.
According to research by management services business Sociometric Solutions, the more people an employee interacts with at lunch, the better that person's performance is at work, Phys.org reported. Employees who sat at larger tables with more people in a cafeteria setting were 36 percent more productive during the week and 30 percent less stressed than those who sat at smaller tables with fewer people.
Giving employees a lunch space can also giveworkers a chance to get help or feedback on their projects. According to Phys.org, sitting with other employees also allowed workers to talk about what they were working on and reach out to others with questions.
Offer schedule flexibility
It seems like more and more companies are offering benefits like telecommuting options and flexible work schedules to appeal to employees, and for good reason — allowing employees more flexibility in their work schedule can actually help them be more productive, because they can work during times that suit them best.
A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that both flexible work schedules and shorter workweeks had a positive impact on businesses. Researchers found that compressed workweeks improved supervisor ratings of performance and satisfaction, and that flextime was effective in increasing employee satisfaction and productivity. Flexible work schedules had the added benefit of reducing employee absenteeism, however — which shorter workweeks did not do.
Allow pets in the office
If it's a feasible option for your business, making your office pet friendly could have a bigger positive impact than you might realize. Having furry friends around could keep your employees feeling less stressed and more satisfied at work.
A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that employees who brought their dogs to work were significantly less stressed by the end of the day than those who did not bring their dogs to work, and those who had no pets. These employees all had the same baseline stress level at the beginning of the day, but the groups without dogs saw increases in their stress levels, while the groups with dogs saw decreases.
If you're thinking about allowing pets in the office, Entrepreneur suggests stocking up on things like pet water fountains and treats, adding a pet policy outlining acceptable and unacceptable pet behavior, and creating a pet-free area in the office for employees who have allergies.