As a business owner or manager, one of your jobs is to leverage all of your resources efficiently. And arguably your most important resource, depending on the structure of your business, is your workforce. So in order to run your business effectively, it’s critical that you keep your employees focused and productive.
There are many ways to do this, of course, and for our purposes today we are not going to focus on immediately apparent solutions (such as accountability, motivation, and company culture), but instead on simple, less-obvious approaches. You can have the most well-motivated, dedicated workforce in the world, and a poorly structured environment could keep them from maximizing their efficiency. Below are four steps to ensure that you can get the most out of your employees:
1) Consider changing seating arrangements and your office layout every three to four months. Numerous studies have shown that changes in workspace can reenergize and refocus employees, so take advantage of this by shifting your workspace several times each year. This is also a helpful solution if you feel that your team has gotten stuck in a creative “rut”--sometimes a scenery change can lead to a breakthrough.
2) Change up your meeting routine. Meetings often become monotonous and unproductive--so keep them interesting. Try holding them in an unusual location, or consider a chair-less meeting. Conduct the meeting as usual, except that everyone remains standing. You will likely find that your employees are more engaged and focused than usual.
3) Make sure that your office is arranged in a manner that encourages frequent communication.Many workplaces require a high degree of communication between team members throughout the day--and if that is the case in your workplace, arrange your office accordingly. An open environment is ideal, as the close proximity and lack of barriers will make communication easy. Closed doors and isolated offices discourage communication--so avoid them!
4) Keep your work environment well lit--ideally with natural light. Studies have shown that natural light, in particular, stimulates creativity and productivity. Whether it is windows or artificial lighting, make sure that your workspace stays brightly lit. It will help to keep your team alert, focused, and productive.
The environment that you create in your workplace plays a substantial role in the efficiency of your employees. In addition to these suggestions, solicit suggestions from your team on a regular basis and don’t hesitate to implement changes. Your business  depends on your customers in order to generate revenue, and the best way to bring in more customers is to keep your team happy. Your employees are your most valuable resource--make sure you get the most out of them!
[Image: Flickr user michelle_h_harrison ]