Much has been written on the implications of the workplace on bottom-line business results in recent years. We’ve seen an evolution occur in how businesses approach issues such as workspace design, work hours, and remote work. 

Work atmosphere is a critical determining factor of employee productivity and even business growth. A toxic work environment can become a huge drain, sucking the vital energy from projects and meetings. Workplaces that lack flexibility, embody tops-down decision-making, and employ poor meeting planning and execution dramatically impact bottom-line results. In these cases, employees who lack a sense of ownership disengage. Following are five things that businesses can do to ensure their workplace atmospheres remain positive, enabling rather than inhibiting business success.

1. Flexible, On-Demand Workplace

While some businesses remain wed to the idea of an 9-to-5 workday and mandate that their employees work from a permanent office five days a week, others are jettisoning this model for one that embraces flexible work hours and a concept that work takes place anywhere and anytime. The digital era and demographic and cultural changes deconstruct idea of the traditional workplace. Rather than measuring workers based on their time spent working in an assigned office space, businesses evaluate them on business results. The benefits of the flexible workplace are myriad and documented in various third-party studies—from quality of personal/family life, to employee engagement and retention, to recruitment of new workers. 

The rise of virtual offices where businesses no longer maintain a permanent office location but instead rely on virtual offices addresses, such as Davinci Virtual Offices, and on-demand day offices, coworking spaces, and rented meeting rooms, such as those available on Davinci Meeting Rooms, offer compelling benefits to both businesses and employees. In the case of the former, businesses obtain professional office addresses in highly sought-after locations without paying for permanent office space. And when it comes to office and meeting room space, businesses have a pay-as-you-use model, whereby they only incur cost when they need an office space or meeting room. 

2. Supplemental Services

Small businesses are inundated with the demands their customers, employers, and partners place on them. Managing these incoming requests and questions and routing them to the appropriate members of your team can have a substantial impact on the engagement and morale of the workspace. The same is true of certain outbound activities—from scheduling appointments to sales outreach. 

But for many small businesses, hiring a full-time employee is difficult, if not impossible, in terms of expense. Too often, business leaders and their teams can become quickly frustrated and distracted by the “extraneous” noise that takes place around the business. This is where virtual assistants, such as Davinci Live Receptionists, who can employ any number of engagement channels—phone, email, text, and live web chat—help businesses remain focused on what matters while ensuring that incoming and outgoing communications become more focused on the core elements of their business and customers. 

3. Workspace Appearance

The appearances of permanent office space are difficult to maintain. Furniture placement, lighting, and desk clutter are just a few of the things that businesses need to worry about. An on-demand workplace means this is offloaded to the workspace provider. 

When furniture is placed in the wrong configuration, lighting isn’t in the right place (e.g., workplace experts recommend layering lights), and desks are full of clutter, workplace atmosphere suffers. In addition to appearance, comfortability also matters. Office chairs must be ergonomic, workplaces free of distracting external noise, and office spaces need to include presentation and meeting tools that streamline worker productivity. Other appearance factors businesses need to consider include temperature, air quality, number of workers in the space, desk setting, and safety. 

All of this requires planning; businesses that fail to think through these types of issues will suffer the negative consequences. In the case of coworking spaces or on-demand offices or meeting rooms, businesses can focus on their work or the purpose and outcomes of a meeting rather than fretting about these types of issues.  

4. Meeting Planning and Execution

Many business leaders and their workers consider meetings as a waste of time. Frustrations boil over, with collaboration becoming rarer and worker productivity diminishing. 

Yet, despite this widespread agreement, no business is going to do away with them. Meetings remain a critical part of every business. The upside is that by following a best-practice meeting checklist businesses can turn meetings into productive sessions while improving employee engagement and morale. Just a few of the things that you can do to improve the quality and outcomes of meetings include determining the meeting type and purpose beforehand, identifying the right participants along with their roles and responsibilities, and finding and selecting the right meeting room, among others. 

5. Employee Empowerment

Research shows employees who feel their opinions aren’t respected and lack the ability to participate in and influence decision-making are less engaged and productive—and more likely to remain with an employer—than employees who are. It is true for organizations of all sizes—from small entrepreneurial businesses to large enterprises. For small business owners who typically have substantial stake in their companies, this level of empowerment may be difficult, though critically important. Those failing to listen to and empower their employees do so at their own peril. 

A Positive Workplace Atmosphere: Infectious and Ubiquitous 

It doesn’t take a lot to sour a workplace atmosphere. The wrong office configuration, cluttered offices, the wrong meeting rooms, un-empowered employees, and phone calls and emails that interrupt critical work engender negativity that can detract from business results and ongoing business momentum. However, by doing just a few things and embracing the technologies and promises of the digital era, businesses reverse course, creating a workplace where productivity and engagement are infectious and ubiquitous.