You might be dreaming of a full-scale renovation to your workspace, but maybe it’s just not in the budget this year. To get you moving in the right direction (and improve employee morale while you’re at it) follow these simple and low cost approaches.

1. Make the Smell Memorable

Have you ever walked into an office that didn’t smell good? What kind of emotion did you feel? More than likely it was a sense of annoyance, dislike, or cluttered feeling. That’s because sense of smell can powerfully affect our mood, mindset and consequently, productivity in the workplace. Likewise, certain smells are associated with positive moods and behaviors.

Pine – increases alertness

Cinnamon – improves focus

Lavender – Helps to relax

Citrus – Wakes you up and lifts spirits

While many scents have been proven to impact focus and mood they are not always welcomed in the workplace. If there is a way to allow fresh air into the space through windows or doors, leave them ajar for part of the day. If that’s not an option in your workspace, consider installing air filters. Air filters can be beneficial in dispersing odor-causing and airborne pollutants from your space, as well as eliminating dust particles.

2. Proudly Display Your Company Culture and Brand Personality

Your company’s brand is a powerful message and can be inspirational to the employees who are surrounded by it every day. If there’s not a consistent display of branding in your digs, chances are employee pride and your company culture has amazing potential to evolve.

This does not have to be an expensive proposition. Hire a photographer (or better yet ask a talented employee) to help take pictures of colleague’s faces and expressions at corporate events, enlarge them and professionally mat and frame them. Voila! Have mission and value statements? Enlarge them with your company logo and hang proudly for all to see. 

What are activities employees do for fun? Think of ways you can incorporate their accomplishments publicly to infuse camaraderie.  For a little more spend, wall coverings can be customized and hung like wallpaper throughout your office. Whatever is decided, strive for an environment that feels like the culture you want to have and reflects your brand identity.

3. Tidy up!

Really?! A disorderly, chaotic space is SO your teenage son (or daughter).  Even though you know better, work gets in the way and who has time to clean? Got it. BUT, you need to make time. 

Order some dumpsters and an on-site shredding service and declare Friday afternoon “The 1st Annual Company Clean Up”. Not only can your mess present excessive dust and challenges for the cleaning team (reference Tip 1) but, also more serious consequences like fire hazards.  A clean office feels fresh and opens new doors for employee innovation.

4. Plant Now – Harvest Later

Plants bring oxygen and add fresh color- not to mention with the right installation can add acoustical value to an otherwise empty room. Plants have been shown to improve productivity and happiness. As an added bonus, oversized planters help accessorize and add style. Go. Buy. Plants. Today. Easy peasy.

5. Maximize Your Square Footage

Underutilized spaces can be transformed into additional functionality for your office. Do you have a reception area but no receptionist? Place a few club chairs and some side tables to convert the underused space to create an employee gathering nook.

Add wooden chess or checkers, Jenga or other old-time favorites to make the space more inviting and user-friendly.  Is your breakroom only used between the hours of 12 and 2? Installing a whiteboard or projector encourages employees to use it as additional meeting space outside of traditional lunch hours.

6. Bid Farewell to Traditional Corporate Art (i.e. Inspirational Eagles)

Nothing says “same old workplace” as the soaring eagle or the colony of ants with leaves on their backs. Good ridden to 80s inspired corporate art. Reference Tip 2 for alternative inspiration and make your art work for you.


7. Please Only Keep Equipment that Works

Design is about solving problems and nothing says problem more than a copier machine that doesn’t work or a fax machine that’s been hanging around since 1994.  Fix the broken, order new and/or dispose of mal-functioning equipment. Problem solved.

8. Think Outside the Cubicle

With five generations in the workplace it is no wonder employee working preferences are all over the board. To keep pace with changing office occupants businesses must consider offering alternative work configurations.

Conference rooms with traditional seating and upholstered options (possibly even with tablet arms!) provide choice for comfort and encourage creativity. A variety of table heights in the kitchen area can serve dual purpose for casual meetings. Lounge environments boost spontaneous brainstorming. A focus on wellness in the workplace continues to support the popularity of sit stand desks offering employees flexibility throughout their day.

The ability to choose from various working options validates employees’ individual preferences and provides autonomy in how they deliver what you’re paying them to do. And everyone knows happy employees deliver more!

©Heather Conley Photography

9. Let There Be Light!

Lighting is one of the most important factors in staying focused and feeling inspired to create, yet it’s one of the most overlooked and least invested in. Bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches and overall irritability. Dark spaces can actually produce depression. Where possible natural light is a great complement to quality LED lighting. Be sure you have the proper lumens (wattage) for the space to avoid headaches and eye pain.

Small changes can make a big difference and show employees you care. If you need help, we’d love to chat with you about how we can help. Email us today!