Are you noticing downfalls in employee productivity since resuming hybrid work?
You may need to offer your employees an office upgrade.
A comfortable working environment may be just the thing your team needs to settle back into office life and produce the best work they can.
I know the struggles of both working uncomfortable office jobs and trying to encourage my team to be more productive.
As such, I’ve got some solid recommendations for improving your office environment.
In-office work doesn’t have to be a drag — with these office upgrades, the office might start looking better than working from home.
What is an Office Upgrade?
An office upgrade is a tweak you make to the office environment that can have significant business-boosting effects like:
- An increase in employee morale
- More employee productivity
- More satisfaction with working in-office
The possibilities for office upgrades are endless. Some notable examples include:
- Buying more comfortable furniture for your employees
- Investing in a few plants for each desk area
- Getting a top-quality coffee maker
- Providing ergonomic seating
- Installing standing desks
They don’t have to be expensive — even subtle changes like improved lighting or office acoustics can drastically improve the comfort levels of your office space.
Improved comfort levels can create a more relaxed brain, likely leading to more productivity and better-quality work from your employees.
A comfortable work environment extends beyond positive employee relations into mood-affecting factors for your employees. Generally, people feel better with access to natural light, ergonomic seating, minimal clutter, and other favorable environmental factors.
A well-designed, bright, clean, and comfortable office can make a difference in how much your employees tolerate their workload.
Why Upgrade Your Office?
If you need further convincing, here are a few tangible benefits of upgrading your office environment.
These reasons include the following:
- Better brand recognition
- Enhanced employee morale
- Better employee productivity
Better Brand Recognition
Firstly, office upgrades can help increase your brand awareness and recognition.
Employees will feel proud to work in a well-designed, comfortable working environment. Ultimately, this translates into greater investment in the company’s mission.
If you truly commit to designing a comfortable office place, you show that you care about your employees.
They won’t be the only ones benefiting from this care: it will also reflect positively on you as a business owner. Show the world that you care about humans, not just profits!
Enhanced Employee Morale
Office upgrades can exponentially increase employee morale.
Employees who feel comfortable in their office environment will naturally enjoy their job and be more productive.
Office upgrades are an easy way to show your employees that you care about them — making them more likely to care about your business.
As such, enhanced employee morale leads to higher productivity, better quality work, and greater satisfaction with the workplace.
Office upgrades can help make this happen.
Better Employee Productivity
Office upgrades can increase employee productivity on an individual basis and a collaborative basis.
Individuals will have an easier time focusing on their work if they’re physically comfortable and not feeling trapped by fluorescent lighting and cluttered spaces.
Office upgrades can improve collaboration and teamwork for the same reasons.
Employees who are in a comfortable space conducive to collaboration will be likelier to work together effectively.
This isn’t to say that employees purposely don’t work if they’re uncomfortable. Rather, focusing is more challenging if you feel emotionally and physically troubled.
Do as much as you can to prevent this for your employees — including office upgrades –, and you’ll quickly reap the rewards of a more fulfilled workforce.
Top Office Upgrades for 2023
Now let’s go over the top office upgrades for 2023!
Sound Absorbing Panels
No one should have to deal with crazy noise levels along with the many other complications of working in an office.
Sound-absorbing panels can create a more peaceful environment for your employees to focus on their work without auditory distractions.
Sound-absorbing panels reduce echo and reverberation. As a result, they create a more private, non-disturbing atmosphere.
Office upgrades like sound-absorbing panels are small investments that will ultimately improve the overall comfort of your office space.
Our Top Pick
We highly recommend improving your office acoustics with the panels available at Acoustical Surfaces.
They offer traditional and standard acoustic panels and custom-designed products to match any office interior. These panels also have a Class A fire rating that will ensure extra safety for your office.
An alternative to noise cancellation is white noise machines. Acoustical Surfaces also offers a whole host of these if it’s your preferred route.
The classic executive office chair usually comes to mind when considering ergonomic seating. However, definitions of comfort and ergonomic design are constantly changing.
Many employers opt to host ergonomic workshops as part of their onboarding process. Some even invest in ergonomic counseling to encourage employees to practice beneficial habits. Their efforts have proven effective, with employees noting increased focus during extended bouts of sitting while using ergonomic chairs.
Now, I’m not saying you need to invest in an ergonomic-seating expert to come to talk to your staff. Instead, I’m emphasizing that these physiological principles may be a worthy investment for your office space.
If you haven’t updated your office’s seating in the last few years, explore the ergonomic seating market that’s developed since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Investing in ergonomic chairs and desks can pay off tremendously. Increased comfort and circulation prevent fatigue, help maintain motivation, and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
You don’t have to splurge for an ergonomic upgrade, either. There are many great ergonomic seating options available at reasonable prices.
Our Top Picks
Both the Mimolad Office Chair and the Sunnow Office Chair offer sleek designs, as well as head and neck support. The backs of each chair are high, with a curve at the base of the spine that supports the body’s natural form.
Either of these is an excellent option for ergonomic office chairs.
Say goodbye to clunky, stationary whiteboards that reach only so far but take up so much room.
Rollable whiteboards have been becoming increasingly popular to provide employees with more flexibility within the office.
They can also easily contribute to better seating arrangements for collaboration.
In general, whiteboards are infinitely helpful in visualizing important data and brainstorming. However, add wheels to them, and your employees can access to new locations and ways to collaborate.
For example, suppose multiple team members are feeling restless. In that case, they can utilize a rollable whiteboard’s mobility to work somewhere they feel they can focus, such as a meeting room with natural light.
Ultimately, this is a surefire way to maximize productivity by making it easier to create ideal working conditions.
Investing in rollable whiteboards is an easy way to boost your team’s effectiveness and productivity.
Our Top Picks
Either the Viz-Pro or Maxtek rollable whiteboard options offers a productive and aesthetic boost.
Their sleek and modern designs will give your office a visual upgrade without taking up too much space. Employees can use them to work on the go and maximize their working hours by choosing locations that encourage productivity.
Believe it or not, the presence of office plants can dramatically affect the atmosphere and, therefore, the productivity of an office.
A 2014 study of the “long-term impacts of plants in an office environment” formalized these insights. Researchers used leafy plant life to spruce up desert-like offices and ultimately measured a 15% increase in productivity.
Plants and plantlike decor indicate to employees that their employer cares about their well-being, making them care more for the company.
I suggest lifelike plants rather than actual plants because you can achieve a similar visual effect while saving time and money.
You’ll either need to water real plants yourself or hire someone else to do it. Lifelike plants simply need to be dusted occasionally.
On the other hand, real plants could offer employees the option to take soothing breaks to water them throughout the week. However, we don’t recommend making this a required task. Not everyone finds plant care soothing!
Whether you purchase real or fake plants, place them generously around your office and watch the space brighten up.
A pleasing visual environment will undoubtedly have your employees looking forward to being in-office rather than dreading leaving the comfort of their own homes.
Our Top Picks
The lifelike tree plants by Waoop and Faopamtri are decently affordable and extremely real-looking.
Place them near windows or around desks, and soon your office will look a lot fresher and more visually appealing. Simple changes like this can boost employees’ moods.
Super Fast Desktop Computers
Office upgrades would only be complete with super-fast desktop computers.
Internet speed and update time can make or break an employee’s productivity, not to mention their patience. Therefore, investing in speedy, up-to-date machines is necessary for any office upgrade.
Giving employees the tools needed to make their job as efficient as possible signals that their employer recognizes their value. As such, they’re likely to work more productive hours.
Furthermore, even if you had a team of extremely-hardworking employees, high-speed computers can accomplish way more than older, slower computer models can. Imagine the results your company could achieve by pairing happy employees with technology that runs well.
This upgrade could be expensive. However, if you can work it into your budget, you’re setting yourself up to maximize productivity enormously.
One can only be so productive when sending reports from a fossil. Plus, newer, faster computers will boost employees’ moods and sense of respect within the workplace, making them want to work harder and smarter.
Our Top Pick:
Apple computers come with the following:
- Powerful processors
- Plenty of storage capacity
- Lightning-fast speed
These modern and sleek computers will improve your workplace aesthetics and make the office space more pleasant. Furthermore, their fast speeds are sure to keep your team’s productivity up to par.
Investing in desktops such as these will not only save you time due to their quick processing speeds, but also leave employees feeling valued and appreciated. Office upgrades don’t have to be complicated; sometimes just a few small changes can make a big difference.
Use your resources wisely, and don’t be afraid to spend money to make money. You’ll soon have an office that runs as efficiently as a well-oiled machine.
External monitors rose in popularity during the global pandemic, and now many users won’t return to a single monitor.
With this setup, employees will be able to multitask more efficiently and, thus, get the job done much more quickly.
The efficiency of this setup comes from being able to spread work across multiple screens, which avoids a heap of open tabs and offers more organizational capacity for employees’ workloads.
For example, multiple screens will allow a team to work faster as they won’t have to switch back and forth between windows.
Multiple monitors can make Zoom calls a breeze. Employees can have relevant reports open on their other screens instead of switching between multiple tabs.
Not only that, but it simplifies the process of sharing your screen. Rather than sorting through each open tab, you can simply drag and drop whichever page or document you want to display into view and then project the entire thing.
Not only are multiple monitors great for productivity purposes, but they also make an office look modern and organized, which can make employees enjoy the space more.
Investing in such screens indicates that your company values convenience and efficiency, two things employees look for in the workplace.
Our Top Picks
We recommend Dell and Acer monitors for their affordable prices, quality displays, efficient processing times, and sleek appearances.
These monitors also cater to employee productivity with add-on features like Dell’s ComfortView Plus, which reduces blue light, and Acer’s ergonomic tilt.
Desk Monitor Stand
Moving on, we come to the question of where to put all these fancy monitors. Desk monitor stands are an excellent way to conserve space while creating an organized office aesthetic.
They help you keep your cords from becoming tangled and offer plenty of room for optimal viewing heights and angles that improve posture and make work more comfortable.
Plus, having your screen at eye level will reduce neck strain and headaches, which often lead employees to take longer breaks throughout their day.
Investing in a desk monitor stand is a great way to show your team that you want them to be comfortable in their workspace, creating productivity as the day goes on.
Our Top Picks
The AmazonBasics Monitor Stand Riser offers plenty of storage, making it easy to keep cords from becoming tangled.
Meanwhile, the VIVO Dual LCD Monitor Desk Mount has adjustable arms so users can position their monitors at any angle. Both options are affordable and long-lasting, which will help you get the most bang for your buck!
We also love the heavy-duty monitor stands available by Mount It! and Vivo Stand. These stands are adjustable with +90° to -90° tilt, 180° swivel, 360° rotation, and customizable height adjustments. They’re also easy to install, so you won’t waste a ton of time rearranging the desk setups in your office.
Providing a wireless mouse with each computer may seem like a minor upgrade, but it can be surprisingly impactful.
A wireless mouse primarily offers convenience and efficiency for your employees while working at their desks.
With a wireless mouse, your team can easily operate their computers and complete work without being restricted by cords or cables.
Ergonomic computer mouses can also save employees from physical discomfort like hand cramps from keypads.
A wireless mouse offers convenience when working with multiple monitors. It’s also great for collaborative workspaces where people are constantly moving and changing seats.
Plus, a wireless mouse looks much more professional than one with frayed wires, making it an excellent way to upgrade your office.
Our Top Picks
You can’t go wrong with the Uiosmuph wireless mouse or the Magic Mouse by Apple. Each of these offers quick and easy Bluetooth connectivity with your computer, a stellar battery life, and built-in rechargeable batteries.
The Apple Magic Mouse is only compatible with other Apple products, so opt for Uiosmuph if your office doesn’t support Apple infrastructure.
The reasons for switching to wireless keyboards are similar to those of a wireless mouse: less hassle, more flexibility, and an ambiance upgrade for your office.
Wireless keyboards are also more ergonomic than traditional versions, as they are designed to reduce strain on your wrists and hands.
They can help boost productivity and comfort in the workplace since employees won’t have to worry about cramping or discomfort while typing.
Giving your employees the option to complete their work in the most comfortable and appealing environment will make their work come out that much better. Part of that goal includes providing the best quality tools.
Our Top Picks
Both the Apple Magic Keyboard and the Logitech MK345 keyboard are wireless, Bluetooth-compatible, and comes with a rechargeable internal battery.
Like the Apple Magic Mouse, the Magic Keyboard only works with other Apple products.
Standing desks are quickly becoming the gold standard in office upgrade options.
Standing desks offer your employees a ton of benefits while working, including:
- Reducing fatigue
- Increasing focus
- Promoting healthier postures
- Avoiding restlessness
It may seem paradoxical that standing while working can produce more comfort and productivity. You may think that employees are more likely to get tired if they can’t sit.
However, standing desks reign supreme because they offer the option to sit or stand with customizable height settings.
This flexibility is tremendous for productivity and breaking up the day in meaningful ways. When employees start getting antsy after sitting at their desks for hours, they can get their blood flowing without stopping work altogether.
Spending most of the day sitting can have adverse long-term health effects, threatening your entire team if they can’t break up their posture throughout the day. You want to maximize your team’s human capital.
As they say, movement is medicine. People who use standing desks are generally reported to be in better moods and have more energy at the end of a long workday.
Plus, standing can massively improve posture and prevent hunchback syndromes that can occur even with a mounted monitor.
Don’t worry about buying different-sized desks for different-sized employees: most standing desks offer customizable height settings.
Standing desks are one of the most important recommendations on this list. As working environments evolve, physical flexibility during office hours becomes just as crucial as mental flexibility.
Filling your office with standing desks could seriously change the game and make for a host of happier and more productive employees.
Our Top Picks
Both the Monomi and Fezibo standing desks have sturdy construction that holds up over time, as well as simple height adjustment mechanisms for easy customization. They also include additional features like cable management systems to keep your workspace neat and organized.
Plus, they’re easy to assemble: you need not worry about hiring a crew to install them in your office.
Better Speaker System
A better speaker system can make all the difference regarding your office’s audio and employees’ engagement.
Having clear and powerful sound is essential whether you’re using them for music, presentations, or conference calls.
You’ll want speakers with good bass and treble settings that accurately reproduce sound without distortion. Consider something with an aesthetically pleasing design that seamlessly blends into any office space.
In addition, if you’re considering wireless audio systems, look for models with long-range capabilities so the sound isn’t interrupted throughout the day.
Having a reliable speaker system in your workspace can enhance listening to music, making presentations, or even having casual conversations. This is a luxury worth considering if you’re looking to boost employee morale for ultimate productivity.
Our Top Picks
Both the Sonos One and the Bose Soundlink offer superior sound quality and have long-range Bluetooth capabilities. The Bose SoundLink has a sleek, minimal design. The Sonos One is perfect for those who want to optimize their audio experience with crisp highs and punchy bass.
Office Coffee Makers
Finally, we can’t talk about productivity without talking about coffee.
Office coffee makers are among the most essential and fun investments in office upgrades.
Coffee is essential for those long days in front of the computer. Boost employee morale and productivity by offering a swanky coffee station to help them fuel their brains.
Having a coffee maker in the office also eliminates time-consuming trips to the nearest café or diner, which can seriously add up.
For an even greater perk, or to show your employees how much you care, consider investing in a top-of-the-line model that offers customizable brewing options like pour-over or French press methods so you can guarantee your team gets their favorite cup every morning.
At the very least, consider offering espresso and regular brew options. Frequent coffee drinkers often prefer espresso after building up a tolerance for plain black coffee.
Coffee makers are a great addition to an office upgrade because they offer novelty and productivity. As such, they can simultaneously boost morale and produce immediate results.
Of course, don’t think your employees should work longer hours because your office has a fancy coffee maker. Sleep and productivity go hand-in-hand at a long-term level, but coffee can help compensate for a few lost hours here and there.
The Gevi Espresso Machine and the Keurig K-Dou are two of our favorite coffee makers, but the recommendations continue beyond there. Check out our comprehensive list of the best coffee makers to have in your office.
There are tons of accessible and affordable ways to give your office an upgrade. Doing so is a significant step towards increasing productivity in your workplace.
Your employees are likelier to produce top-quality work at great turnover times if they’re comfortable, energized, and content.
Don’t skimp out on investing in a positive and pleasant office space — it may just make or break how your company runs.
I hope this article gave you a better understanding of what you can do to improve your office’s ambiance.
Remember: the best thing you can do for your employees is show appreciation for their hard work. An office upgrade is just one of many ways!
Thanks for reading, and until next time. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!
Frequently Asked Questions
Improving a small home office is an exciting task that doesn’t have to be too difficult.
Firstly, it’s important to consider ergonomics for a desk job: it’s much harder to get work done if you aren’t physically comfortable. Too much of that will lead to physical distress and distraction. To avoid that, assess whether your current chair, desk, keyboard, and mouse are as comfortable as possible. Comfort here doesn’t just mean cushions and softness — you want your equipment to allow your body to relax properly. For example, ergonomic chairs offer a slight curve at the base of the back to support the spine’s natural shape and prevent hunching.
You can further improve a small home office by enhancing your office’s ambiance. This includes decor, lighting, and air quality. Invest in plants to breathe better and create more brightness in your space. Don’t be afraid to add personal touches and decorations, especially if you find them motivating. A vision board is an excellent place to start. Finally, avoid too much blue light and incorporate as much natural light in your office. These moves are easy on the eyes and will keep you more alert throughout your workday, as opposed to sitting in a dark room.
Consider a larger investment, like a standing desk, if you’ve tried these home office features and are still unsatisfied. The option to sit or stand while doing work is terrific for your physical health. It can improve mental health by reducing monotony. A double monitor is always a good idea, too. It makes way for a lot more organization and a less-cluttered desktop.
A good office setup is ultimately a subjective ideal. Still, certain essentials can increase productivity and employee happiness.
The most important part of an ideal office setup is high-quality equipment: computers, mouses, and keyboards. That alone can make a difference because your employees will be able to complete work faster and not have to deal with the annoyances of slow loading times and updates. Multiple monitors can also make their workload much easier to bear. They’ll no longer have to get overwhelmed by having dozens of tabs open on one screen. Plus, providing quality tech is a meaningful way to tell your employees that you care about their work experience.
Next, consider your employees’ physical comfort: ergonomics and flexibility. Standing desks and ergonomic chairs make the long hours spent at the office much less taxing. People using standing desks are frequently reported to have more energy and positive moods at the end of a long workday. You don’t want your employees to develop poor health or hunchbacks, so giving them options for how they work is essential.
Finally, remember your office ambiance. Think again if you expect your employees to work cheerfully and productively out of a dark, sterile office space. Our physical environments can have huge impacts on our moods, so make sure that your office space is doing more than just the bare minimum regarding comfort and aesthetics. Decoration, rugs, comfortable seating, desks, and quality speaker systems are important. Lighting is also crucial. Access to natural light can seriously improve people’s moods and productivity. Natural light and plants can also help your employees avoid feeling aware of being inside all day.
Small investments like better equipment, more ergonomic seating and a pleasant ambiance can improve a work-from-home setup.
To guarantee that you can stay productive, assess your physical comfort. Too much strain and distraction can lead to severe discomfort and a loss of productivity. Comfort isn’t just about cushions; it’s also about how well the equipment enables your body to relax naturally rather than being flopped or hunched over.
Beyond physical comfort, consider the quality of your equipment. You’re bound to become irritated if you’re trying to produce high-quality work on an outdated computer with slow updates and lags. This is an excellent example of starting upgrades with the obvious. You use your computer daily, so it’s only sensible to ensure you’re having a pleasant experience with it.
Lastly, and of the least importance, consider the ambiance of your home office. If it’s stark and sterile, add decorations, motivational posters, and plants to brighten the space and make it feel more like your own. Features like these, as well as additions like a nice coffee maker, can turn your home office into a sanctuary.
Ensure you’re putting quality thought and effort into your home office because it’s likely one of the places you spend the most time.
Everyone’s preferences for their home offices likely differ. For us at Small Business Bonfire, there are some essentials that we believe no one should forget.
These essentials include:
Quality equipment (monitors, computer mouse, keyboard)
Comfortable and ergonomic seating
There are tons of other features you can add to a home office to boost your productivity, but these three essentials are practically guaranteed to make your work-from-home experience much more pleasant.
Some companies certainly do pay for their employees work-from-home setups, but there’s no single standard procedure for this. Some companies don’t pay at all, others offer to cover the cost of a new desk, and others may cover total renovations. It depends entirely on the company’s resources.
It’s certainly not uncommon for companies to cover the installation of home offices for their workers, though. It often happened during the early days of the pandemic when many people were suddenly working from home without equipment or foresight.
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