Business leaders would never be expected to give staff the gifts in the 12 days of Christmas song (maids-a-milking and lords-a-leaping are wholly impractical), so commercial furniture specialist, Sketch Studios, has come up with 12 practical tokens of appreciation employers could give.
Day 1 – better tea/coffee/refreshments. Fundamental to the wellbeing of every worker, isn’t this what gets us through the day? Adopt the same cafe-style culture as those on the high street and invest in some decent beans/tea and equipment. It’ll make staff feel valued and will draw them back to the workplace for their refuelling.
Day 2 – plants. As well as great health benefits – they generate oxygen and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, aiding concentration and lifting spirits – plants are a calming influence and great to look at.
Day 3 – a height-adjustable desk. One size will not fit all – it creates poor posture, a major cause of back pain, stress and repetitive strain injury.
Day 4 – a decent ergonomic chair. Humans are not designed to sit all day, so invest in chairs that aid posture. It may be tempting to invest in trendy tub chairs or modular seats to spruce up the office/reception, but they will not help those who are desk-based.
Day 5 – more flexible space. Today’s workers are expected to multi-task so create environments that help them do this. Tasks may include undertaking focused work, reading, attending meetings and collaborating with colleagues. Then there’s a need to squeeze in a break away from work and have some social interaction.Those with a variety of spaces to choose from will be more productive (who wants to sit behind a desk all day?).
Day 6 – headphones. Noise can be a major irritation. It prevents concentration and adds to stress levels. If you’re unable to provide appropriate spaces for the task in hand, such as a quiet room for reading/individual focused-work, these may do the trick.
Day 7 – better temperature control. If it’s fine for men but too cold for women (as the recent gender debate suggested), set the temperature between the two and adjust to the daily outside temperature as opposed to what it should be for the season. Otherwise winter woollies will have to suffice.
Day 8 – improved lighting. Access to natural light is a must, particularly during the sun-starved winter season. Shift furniture tomake windows more accessible and where natural light is limited, invest in office lamps to prevent eye strain.
Day 9 – a computer upgrade. With more people using mobile technology it’s easy to overlook the fixed desktop equipment, yet for those who are office-based it’s their professional lifeline. A revamp will make staff more productive as they’ll spend less time waiting for their machine to perform tasks.
Day 10 – more storage space (less likely to be found in agile-working environments). Staff who bring in their own equipment need somewhere to put it. The same applies to those who exercise; set aside a storage area for kit, it’s more secure and keeps the place tidy.
Day 11 – an office clean-up. Initiate a tidy campaign and give staff 30 minutes or so to clear up their working areas. Office-based workers can un-clutter desks, file away paperwork, clean-out draws, move items from the top of filing cabinets, smarten up those wilting plants and remove out-of-date food from the fridge. Flexible staff may want to check the leads/chargers they borrowed for theirlaptop, tablet or mobile are back where they should be.
Day 12 – pimp the small room. Spruce up the toilets/washroom for Xmas; give them a lick of paint or re-tile, pipe in Christmas music, add a plant or two and some decent accessories. If there are high-level water tanks, turn them into min-aquariums or encourage employees to contribute to their mural.
Sketch managing director, Justin Bass, commented:
“While the partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, gold rings etc, may be a step too far, a bit of tinsel and a tree is not enough. Even if one of our suggestions were taken on board, it would have a huge effect on the morale and productivity of staff. Although pipers piping and drummers drumming may have the same short-term effect, they would not work in the long-term.”