Great Environment = Great Work? You Bet!

Like most people, I’m inundated with email every morning. My first order of business is to quickly scroll through them, scanning the “From” and “Subject” fields and deciding whether to hit the delete button or open it up. Most of the time, “delete” wins.

As I was completing this ritual the other morning, I noticed a blog post titled “The Twelve Attributes of a Truly Great Place to Work” in the Harvard Business Review. In it, Tony Schwartz analyzed the findings of more than 100 studies on employee engagement – and discovered that a mere 20 percent felt fully engaged at work. Wow!

To better engage them, Schwartz suggested that employers shift their focus from “trying to get more out of people, to investing more in them” – including their workspace.  He emphasized the importance of designing work environments that are safe, comfortable and appealing, listing ideas from creating areas for downtime and renewal to offering a well-equipped onsite gym and other facilities. While many of these concepts were obviously targeted for organizations much larger than ours, it got me thinking.

Here at B+L, we strive to provide an environment that is safe, comfortable and fosters creativity, because we know that translates into amazing work. While our size precludes an onsite gym, we do have our own “Trimnastics” competition, which many employees are actively engaged in. What does this give back to the agency? Healthy, motivated and creative minds and bodies. Additionally, our office is wide open and spacious, with a large kitchen and gathering area that we frequently use to brainstorm, celebrate and just hang out in. Why is that important? Because it stimulates collaboration and interaction. Some of our best campaign concepts get created over a cup of morning coffee, a company-sponsored lunch, or a late afternoon beer or glass of wine.

In my experience, when employees are happy, clients are happy. Let’s face it – in today’s ever-more-demanding work world, most of our waking hours are spent away from our true homes. As leaders, it’s essential we create a workplace that employees want to come to each day, feel at home in…and can be brilliant in!

So what do you think makes for a great workplace? What ideas have you seen companies’ implement to help engage employees each day? What have you tried that may not have worked out so well, and what were the takeaways? I’m interested to hear your thoughts!