The Best Of Friends: Office Environment & Sales

Did you ever stop to think that your work environment could be costing you sales?

A recent study instigated by Steelcase and conducted by the global research firm IPSOS found that almost 90% of workers polled were unhappy with their work environment, adversely affecting their engagement.

In fact, Gallup recently reported on the State of the Global Workplace, finding that 63% of employees polled were disengaged. The Gallup report stated that in the UK alone, the cost of disengagement was between £52 billion and £70 billion.

From something as seemingly inconsequential as an office space that’s too hot or too cold or has plain vanilla walls and carpeting to something as critically disruptive as chaos, too much noise, or no privacy, the status of your office environment has a direct correlation on your employees’ engagement.

An engaged employee is a happy employee, and a happy employee sells a lot more.

People in an ideal work environment tend to work harder, be more loyal, and have more pride in what they do. Are you providing your sales team with an optimal work environment to allow their creativity and personal success to flourish?

Risk  and crisis

The good news is there are ways that won’t break the bank to increase work environment satisfaction and increase employee engagement:

1. Comfort

This involves a range of features that can improve your sales force’s view of their physical environment. Bad lighting, interminable heat or cold, and uncomfortable chairs make it hard to sit at a desk all day and concentrate. Poll your employees to see what changes you can make, both aesthetically and physically to ensure maximum comfort. A little paint, better lighting, adjustable chairs, and a few plants can go a long way towards improving work environments.

2. Adaptability

Make your office spaces adaptable to use rather than some stereotypical layout that functioned well 20 years ago. Secluded offices lining the perimeter of your building aren’t conducive to collaboration and brainstorming, and sales teams that work together to achieve goals increase revenues faster than individuals working separately towards targets. Make conference rooms more than just a place to pitch clients. Use them for team collaboration and brainstorming or as quiet places for someone to get away to think and recharge. Make sure your entire office space has strong WiFi so that your team can work anywhere they’re most comfortable.

3. Choices

Offer choices to your sales staff on where and when they work. Employees who have control over where and when they work end up putting in more hours and are happier than those with strict hours and office arrangements. If that level of flexibility won’t work well with your organisational structure, a work environment with no assigned desks, café or lounge style seating areas, and more relaxed places to sit offer some level of control over where someone works during the day.

4. Benefits

Give simple benefits like playing music in the background or cutting back on the length of meetings. Your sales force is already harried enough with everything that needs done on their plates, and a little help in the stress reduction area will go a long way. Another easy step is to bring in food periodically and give the sales force some down time to celebrate successes or just to relax.

The key is to make it about your sales team. A first place to start is by asking them what would make their working environment a better place. Then proceed with small changes and include larger changes as time and money permit in the future.

Your sales team will reward your efforts to improve their work environment through increased engagement and more sales.

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