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5 Tips for a Productive Small Office Environment

The UK enjoys a super reputation for start-ups and small business. Initiatives like the current coalition government’s £112 million Start-Up Loans Scheme have helped make Britain an attractive breeding ground for home-grown small businesses.

As your business grows out of the home office and into something like a rented space with those precious first few employees, it can be tempting to take your eye off the ball in terms of things like office productivity, organisation and staff motivation. It’s understandable – the average self-employed small business owner takes less days off than any employed person due to always ‘being on call’ as the head of their business.

But amongst the document templates, health & safety regulations, dress down Friday requests and numerous other topics chirping for the attention of the small business owner, it can be fairly simple to implement effective, sensible measures to keep productivity to a maximum amongst employees.

1. Clear social rules

According to Business Insider, 77% of employed people who have access to social media like Facebook on their work computers will check it at least once per day. One of the most common pitfalls of the small office environment is that employees will typically be on very friendly terms with each other. This in itself is not an issue, but when the odd social catch-up chat becomes an hour of wasted time every single day, there is an issue.

Be clear – should you block social media websites? Would it help to have a ‘quiet’ period of work each day? Be consistent and clear about social boundaries.

2. A strong emphasis on a team ethic
As a small business, you need a team of employees you can rely on 100% A team ethic is crucial and helps boost the connection between you and your staff – and therefore productivity.

3. Good habits and routine
An office routine could seem a little uninspiring, especially in a busy, unpredictable office. But a rough routine can help focus both creative and analytical attention amongst team members.

4. Everybody needs to hear “no” from time to time
It doesn’t need to be written into employment contracts – “must not answer back when told ‘no’” – but as the boss you do need to make boundaries clear. A very friendly, relaxed office environment can be exceptionally tough to police, especially when working amongst people you consider your friends, but being able to say ‘no’ when the situation requires is vital for your standing as a leader.

5. Praise and attention to wellbeing
One of the great things about a small business is that it’s often very clear who is responsible for what. When it comes to praise and concern for employee wellbeing, be honest with your team about how important they are and why you value them, either in writing via staff appraisal templates or in person. According to some experts, this is the number one way to motivate a small business workforce.

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