It’s no surprise that office environments have a strong impact on employees’ productivity and overall motivation. When you think about your own office, how do employees typically like to work? Or maybe your people work from home or a cafe?
Here at Reward Gateway, we have an agile workplace – which means our space is flexible, open and collaborative – with spaces for every individual.
In the past two years, we’ve opened up three global offices – our newest office being in Rochester, New York, and I've been the London RG Experience Manager for three years. Working in our headquarters, I’ve learned a few things about creating a positive work environment to help us live our mission to make the world a better place to work. Here are a few ways we make our own office better, by boosting employee connections and engagement:
Embrace open dialogue
When it comes to a collaborative space, it’s key to embrace open and honest communication with employees. By fostering a positive work environment, you can not only help employees feel more involved and trust your organisation, but also feel more connected to your business and one another.
In all of our workspaces throughout the globe, no one has their own office. We all share the same workspace, from the CEO to frontline employees – making it super easy to ask each other questions, share ideas and deepen connections.
And it’s important to make everyone who comes into your office feel included and connected to the space and empowered to spark conversation. In our own offices, we want to create a positive work environment for our people, but also our clients and any industry professionals who come to visit.
Creating inclusive workspaces helps us work towards our mission of making the world a better place to work.
I like to live by the mantra “mi casa es tu casa.” We’re a people-driven business that lives our Be Human company value, and this is especially important for my role. You’ll be on a first-name basis with our full team from the minute you walk through the door, whether it’s Erika, the housekeeper, or our lovely cafe manager, Urszula.
From the moment you arrive in the office and see your company logo or welcome message on our video wall, to taking part in our wellbeing cafe with healthy and delicious snacks or Change Please coffee, you’ll feel instantly “RG.” And that’s the way we want you to feel.
Respect individual preferences
Our specific office provides us with many different areas to collaborate with our coworkers (both within our office and outside). We have our phone booth-style studies which give us a chance to collaborate with our co-workers from our different offices and clients from around the world without distractions. We have the office broken out in “buzzing” and quiet zones so people can work how they need to.
We know not everyone works the same way. Some people need silence, some people like a little white noise and others love to have music playing. On top of that, some people require different environments on different days depending on what they are working on in order to be productive.
Agile working accommodates every type of worker. You can move around based on what your needs are that day, hour, or even minute if you wanted to.
Be open to new experiences
Agile working wasn’t always the case for some employees before joining Reward Gateway. The thought of not having their own desks was scary at first. People were thinking “where am I going to put all of my things?” We were forced to de-clutter, and quickly learned that we didn’t need all of those things.
With such a generous holiday allowance, it would be awful to have an allocated desk empty for all this time. To help, we have open shelving and shared storage linking into our office design. Since, lockers and desk draws encourage clutter and hoarding mentality, we try to stay paperless, which also helps ensure security protocol as well.
Not having a desk = forced to declutter = a clean work area = more productivity.
This is one of the many positives of agile working. It forces you to declutter and stay organised. Having such a clean work area eliminates many of the distractions that we had in our previous office. Creating a positive work environment helps you nurture office culture. We'll next see this with our largest office move yet, in Plovdiv.
Provide employee benefits that your people want
Providing ping pong tables and beer on tap isn’t going to cut it for today’s workforce. People expect meaningful benefits and want to feel a bigger sense of purpose in the work they do each day.
Think about what your organisation does in terms of corporate responsibility. Do you offer volunteer benefits to engage employees? Do you plan social events with a cause? By creating a work environment that focusses on purpose, you demonstrate that you care about your employees’ interests outside of work.
The London office loves volunteering and supporting our local community. In fact, we recently did some volunteer work with My AFK, an RG Foundation Grantee who supports young people with disabilities into paid work.
In the past year, our people have spent nearly 700 hours volunteering in a variety of ways, from gardening to career coaching or even training charity teams in how to engage or communicate with their employees. Outside of our volunteering benefits, RGers donated just over £25,000 to causes that are important to us, such as charity runs, bike rides or bake sales.
Taking a day (or even a few hours) to volunteer in your local community will have employees feeling more motivated to come to work the next day with a renewed sense of purpose, helping to create a positive workplace.
So, what are some ways you create a positive employee experience (both in and out of the office) in order to improve employee collaboration? I’d love to hear more in the comments section below!