How to Set Your Employees Up for Success in Your New Offices

It’s no secret that office space is a significant business expense. Signing that rental agreement is an exciting new stage for your company, but it’s also a big commitment.

Think of your new office like an investment. It should increase your revenue by making your team more productive, giving you a place to meet with clients, and allowing you to expand your operations.

But in order to protect that investment, you have to do everything you can to ensure a good return. That means setting you and your employees up for success in your new environment.

What does success mean? For one, you want your team to like their jobs.

The University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive. The research team said: “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

There’s plenty more science behind that, too. Shawn Achor, a Harvard psychologist, found that our brains actually work better when we’re generally happy. Happiness, he asserts, isn’t innate. It can be managed. “It’s a cultural myth that we cannot change our happiness.”

Furthermore, productivity can be influenced outside of happiness, as well. A few changes to work schedules, environment, and even lighting can fan the flames of productivity without pushing workers like a slave driver.

Here are some ways you can make your team successful in the new office.

Haven’t rented space yet? Ask your team these questions beforehand to make everyone successful.

1. Give them whatever information they need

give-employees-information

Make your employees’ transition comfortable by supplying them with information about your new office environment.

Pick up some maps or whatever literature the town/city provides on public transportation. They’ll need bus routes, subway stations, train stations, pricing, etc. If there are any nearby parking lots or garages, pick up flyers with their rates and hours.

(Extra tip: Look into negotiated parking or public transit rates for your business. Some places offer reduced rates if you’re buying bulk. Your team might appreciate the savings.)

You should also grab menus from local restaurants or take out places. Yes, your team can easily Google for location food spots, but this will make them feel like you care about easing their transition.

Furthermore, make them aware of any company policies that change or come into effect because of the new office. For instance, you might implement a dress code or more structured working hours. Put all of these changes in writing for later reference.

2. Be flexible with their schedules

Give your team a little leeway with their work schedules once you move into your new office. If this is your first office, they’ll be adjusting to office life after a period of time working from home. If this isn’t your first office, they’ll be adjusting to the new commute. They’ll be learning the new route, traffic patterns, and when to leave the house.

If possible, use the transition as a time to experiment with not worrying about work hours at all or getting rid of the eight hour work day. See if you can depend on your team to work a fair day, even if it’s not exactly nine to five. You might be surprised that people appreciate the latitude and try not to overstep.

Depending on how much you trust your team, you might also give them total access to the unit. Give everyone a key so they can come and go as they please. If someone wants to work late and start late the next morning, give them that option. If you treat people like professionals, they’ll usually respond in kind.

3. Schedule uninterrupted work time

If your employees are used to working in a home environment, they had all the peace and quiet they would ever need. They could turn down their phone, ignore their emails, and log out of Slack chat any time they needed to get something finished.

In an office, we lose that luxury. There’s ambient noise, other people typing, and it’s easy to interrupt each other.

Designate a portion of the day for uninterrupted, solitary work. This is called time-blocking. Usually this is best for early hours when the work day starts. That’s when creativity and productivity are at their highest.

Time blocking is an excellent way to focus on a task without becoming distracted. When we’re interrupted for other things, we have to reorient ourselves back to the project at hand. This constant reorientation costs time and erodes the quality of the work. It’s also stressful.

Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, blocks off time each day to address his top priority for the year. You could encourage your team to do this by identifying the one thing you want them to do best and giving them uninterrupted time each day to work on it.

During this blocked off time period, team members have the right to work quietly without being interrupted. It doesn’t mean they have to, however. If two people decide to work together or don’t need the quiet block that day, they can work as they please. The key is to give everyone the opportunity so they can really push their own productivity.

4. Make the environment pleasant

You may have worked amidst an untidy mess in your spare bedroom, but that won’t work in a proper office.

Your employees expect a professional environment. They don’t want to be crowded by excess furniture, squint their eyes all day due to poor light, or pinch their noses against odors. It’s your job to create an office environment that’s comfortable and encourages productivity.

Working in a pleasant environment can have a tremendous impact on workers’ performance. A relaxing atmosphere with a few extra amenities may not seem cost-effective, but they can go a long way to influence the attitude of your team.

Lighting is extremely important. Poor lighting can cause eyestrain, fatigue, headaches, and overall poor productivity. Natural lighting is best, but if that’s not an option use lights with adjustable filters.

Finally, give your employees options in regards to their furniture. In turnkey spaces, you’re usually renting the space with basic furniture, but customize whatever you can for comfort and ergonomics. Give your team their preferred chairs, computer monitors, and other tools (wherever possible).

5. Ask your employees what they want

Image: David Wall/FlickrM
Image: David Wall/FlickrM

The best way to learn how you can support your employees is to ask them directly. Find out what they need, what they like, and what would make them more successful on the job. Do they need a special tool or software? Noise-canceling headphones? Flexibility with a certain policy?

Getting honest feedback isn’t easy, though. No one wants to complain to the boss and disrupt the work environment.

Skip the “anonymous” suggestion boxes. If you have a small team, it’s pretty clear who’s making the suggestions. Plus they foster an office culture where suggestions can only be made anonymously due to fear of retribution.

Instead, encourage your team to have honest conversations with you about how the business environment can be made better. Don’t expect your employees to come to you with complaints or new ideas; ask insightful questions regularly.

To rent the perfect office space, survey your team with this list of questions.

Final thoughts

Any time you make a substantial change, there will be an adjustment period. Don’t expect you and your team to become perfectly comfortable in your new office environment right away. Change takes time.

For instance, if your employees are late every day for the first two weeks, chalk it up new routes and traffic, not sudden laziness. Over time, everyone will settle into their new environment, and happiness and productivity will soar.

If you haven’t found your new office yet, start your search today.

Using the Olympics to Create Team Spirit

As the 2016 Olympic games are underway in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, viewers around the world will be tuning in to watch their favorite teams compete for pinnacle prize of gold.  It might just strike you to know that around an estimated 3.6 billion people will be glued to the Television rooting their teams on, that includes the 72% of business professionals.

olympic-village

Summer tends to see a decline in productivity, with more workers taking off during the prime months of July and August than other months throughout the year.  Throw the spectacle of the Olympic Games into the mix and–let’s just say there’s plenty to distract a workforce this season.

So rather than reprimand employees, employers can set a new standard by encouraging employees to celebrate the games and creating opportunities to foster strong culture within the office.  Capturing the joy and celebration that comes along with the Olympic games there are ways to welcome the Olympic spirit into your workplace and boost employee engagement.

Host in-office olympic viewing parties. By soliciting employee input on the events streamed in office, you not only show them that you care about their opinions, but also create windows of opportunities for team bonding. Employees may uncover common sports interests with their colleagues.  They may even carry those shared interest forward even after the Olympics end further cementing team bonding within the office.

Companies can also host healthy competitions amongst the co-workers and generate teamwork with a focus on building relationships with one another, workers can simply inspire each other to achieve goals together, then translate that same focus and collaboration into their daily work routine.  One may even suggest starting a company sports team, there is no better opportune time to start a company sports team.  Distribute surveys to your employees on what sports they enjoy playing the most, and what days of the week they’d enjoy participating on a team.

By encouraging team sports you help employees get the routine exercise they need – which in turn has been proven to decrease stress, increase productivity and reduce employee absenteeism.  It also produces an environment where they feel supported leading to a more success company.  These Olympic games only take place every so often, why not embrace these rare moments and celebrate the opportunity to bring strength and unity to the workplace.

How To Not Fall Asleep At Meetings: A Comprehensive Guide

Office-Meetings

Molly Schneider is a meeting snoozer. She works as a marketing researcher at a major PR firm in Miami.

She’s an active lady, regularly runs half marathons, volunteers at an animal shelter, and goes on weekend hikes and trips with her friends. It’s hard to believe that someone like her – funny, smart, and engaging can barely keep her eyes open in a conference room. At her job, she typically spends half the day at her desk and the other half in meetings listening to presentations. She’s been to sleep specialists, psychologists, meditation retreats, and once drank a 16-oz espresso, but nothing’s helped. Apparently, Molly isn’t alone. Many office workers suffer from meeting-naps or “shoulder drooling sessions” as Molly has appropriately called her bouts of slumber. We at Turnkey Office Space have compiled a list of some great tips that will keep you awake during that lecture or meeting.

The Presentation Voice. Does your facilitator sound like Ben Stein or Gilbert Gottfried? Narelle Lee, founder of Performance Masters, says, “The tonality of presenters contributes (to worker engagement) as there are certain monotone delivery styles that are hypnotic and this easily induces sleep.” Have HR reach out to a cheap talent agency and get a trained baritone or tenor to sing data reports and marketing objectives to the group.

Temperature Change. Setting the thermostat to 72°F can be just warm enough to lull us to sleep. Blazing heat will make workers uncomfortable and distracted. Install a couple of extra AC units in your conference room and turn them up full blast during a meeting. Tell workers that they’re not allowed to wear extra layers during the presentation. Keeping the room around 44°F is guaranteed to keep employees cold enough so that they’re alert and paying attention, but not so cold that their skin is turning blue.

Aromatherapy. According to Tucker Cummings at Lifehack, “one simple life hack that can bring about an almost instant improvement in productivity is aromatherapy. By simply smelling the correct scents, you can lower your blood pressure, sharpen your mind, and improve your outlook on life.” Cummings recommends natural scents like orange, rosemary, and lemon as “energizing and invigorating” scents. We at TurnKey Office Space, on the other hand, suggest keeping a collection of communal diffusers filled with gasoline, skunk spray, and permanent marker ink. A deep whiff of any of these during or before a meeting will most likely light your smell receptors on fire and increase brain productivity to the zillionth power.

If Management Frameworks Were TV Shows…

Management Frameworks are decisive ways to boost employee moral, designate raises and develop and maintain hierarchy.

However, they’re not the most cut-and-dry systems. We at Turnkey Office Space have come up with an easy way to understand these complex ideologies. TV shows! Every company has its own particular set of expectations and cast of characters, and the same goes for sitcoms and dramas. Check out our list below!

Stack Rankings = The Bachelor

Microsoft employees took a deep sigh of relief last fall when the software magnate decided to do away with its employee-review and compensation system colloquially known as “stack ranking”. Since the 80s, Microsoft had practicing a method of pitting employees against each other and numerically grading workers’ performances. However, the system was more like highway cops trying to make their ticket quota. It required managers to collectively label a minimum of 100,000 employees as “underperformers”. The system left employees feeling belittled and unrecognized. If only Law and Order had a “Speeding Tickets” series. We’ve decided that this management framework’s prime-time counterpart is The Bachelor. Just like “stack ranking”, contestants are pitted against each other and manipulated into thinking they’ll never be good enough for a rose.

Holacracy = The Brady Bunch

Holacracy is taking over companies small and big worldwide. The concept was conceived by Hungarian-British writer, Arthur Koestler in 1967. It’s a democratic, insular management strategy that governs employees with tasks rather than authoritative figures. Workers are arranged into “circles” based on their skill sets, and every employee is selected to be in either a higher circle or a lower circle. The higher circle sets the expectations for the lower circle and thusly evaluates its performance. Circles are run autonomously without managers or supervisors and everyone makes decisions collectively. Primarily smaller corporations have found success with Holacracy, specifically Zappos being the most recent and biggest convert. Other notable companies that have hopped on the Holacratic bandwagon are Mashable, Moveline and Conscious Brands. Due to their size, it’s doubtful that mega-tech companies like Google or Facebook will ever adopt the new-age framework, but there’s no telling for sure. Holacracy’s big-family-hug nature speaks adeptly to The Brady Bunch’s tight-knit camaraderie. Carol and Mike Brady and Alice are the higher circle, while Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy are the lower circle. Both circles are open and honest with each other, and despite the arguments and rivalries, they value respect and family above all.

Virtual Office Space Helps Broaden Company’s Reach

A leader in helping companies find office space, Turnkey Office Space, released a recent statement asserting that virtual offices are becoming a trend for companies who want to increase their exposure without establishing a permanent office location in a city.

Turnkey Office Space, a leading countrywide online search service for businesses in need of office space, recently released a statement about the growing popularity of utilizing virtual office space to help businesses broaden their customer reach.

Virtual offices offer companies professional business services without having to pay for the overhead costs of a permanent office location. Often utilized by start-up or growing companies because they are considerably cheaper than permanent locations, virtual offices help expand a company’s corporate identity. Companies that already have an office in one city but perhaps want to expand their presence into another also benefit from this strategy.

Co-founder Jonathan Bachrach believes appearance can be crucial when establishing trust with customers, vendors and industry peers. By giving the appearance of having a broad national reach, companies may find it easier to expand their customer base and to establish that level of trust that is so crucial for startups from the outset.

Virtual office packages include services and amenities such as a professional mailing address at a prestigious location with mail-forwarding; professional reception services to answer calls, send faxes, make copies, and schedule meetings; and access to day offices or meeting rooms a few days per month.

“Startups need all the leverage they can get,” said Bachrach. “Virtual offices help give new companies the presence they need at low, cost-effective rates. Associating your company with a Park Avenue or Beverly Hills address and having a receptionist answer your calls can be a great way to start getting noticed. Having multiple virtual offices in different cities is a great, cost-effective way to accomplish this.”

According to a recent March 5, 2014 article by News and Features Editor Jo Disney of Officing Today titled “So How Do you Run a Virtual Office, Anyway?” virtual offices are also ideal for anyone who wants to protect their home address. Plus, with the increase in digital office experience as technology continues to become more sophisticated, day-to-day communication, document sharing, presentations and keeping track of a team are all easily achieved virtually.

“The 21st century is all about efficiency and financial responsibility for businesses in a struggling economy,” said Bachrach. “A company transitioning away from a traditional office and into a virtual office will experience environmental benefits, increased productivity levels from staff and of course a large financial saving on office space. What more can you ask for?”

About Turnkey Office Space: Turnkey Office Space is a countrywide search and consulting services for companies seeking office space. They specialize in office suites, virtual offices, and co-working spaces. Turnkey can be reached via their website turnkeyofficespace.com and by phone at 1-888-282-8555.

How to Get Out of Work to Watch FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup. It only comes once every four years.

The most anticipated athletic event aside from The Olympics, The World Cup garners billions of viewers and inspires thousands of bar fights. This year The World Cup takes place in Brazil. For Brazilians, soccer is a kind of religion. Most schools throughout the country are holding midyear vacations for the inaugural game. During the tournament, banks are only open for four hours a day, and federal employees are dismissed at 12:30pm on days when Brazil is playing. Unfortunately, if you’re a soccer fan living in the US, you won’t receive the same privileges. Here are some cunning, crafty stories from actual stateside World Cup buffs on how they’re going to successfully get out of the office to watch the game.

David, risk consultant, “I resigned. I had been thinking of changing careers for a long time and had applied and gotten into grad school months earlier. I figured that if I quit, I could spend the next month hanging out with my friends just watching the games and relaxing before I start school in the fall. My boss totally believed me and still wrote me a reference!”

Bridget, sales executive, “My husband and I got married nearly ten years ago but we never had a honeymoon. I knew that Greece had a good chance to make it past the group stage, and felt like this would be the ultimate opportunity to celebrate our marriage and see my team play. In March, I started mentioning to my supervisor that I’d accrued enough vacation time to take off 11 days. Even though June is our big sales season, my boss understood and we immediately bought our tickets for São Paulo.

José, project coordinator, “I scheduled a fake root canal. I hadn’t called in sick once and felt like a root canal was an unquestionable excuse for taking a few days off. I’ve only been at my company for a month and a half so I’m only eligible for sick time not vacation time. Hopefully no one realized that I’m leaving right when Italy’s playing. I’ve been wearing myBalotelli jersey into the office a lot lately.”

Kevin, development manager, “I work for a really cool startup that lets you make your own schedule after you’ve been employed for a certain amount of time. Most of Argentina’s games are in the morning, so for the next month I’m working a 11:30-7:30 day. My boss is totally cool with it and we’re actually going to watch a couple of games together.”

Are E-cigarettes Acceptable in the Workplace Culture?

The electronic cigarette aka the “e-cigarette” or “vapor stick” has become one of the most popular new inventions since it debuted on shelves of department and convenience stores around 2006.

It functions as a odorless, ash and smoke free simulated cigarette. There are a wide variety of e-cigarettes out there, some require batteries, others recharge through an outlet, some have flavors, others don’t and not all contain nicotine.

There has been little heath research on the effects e-cigarettes. The World Health Organization recommends “consumers should be strongly advised not to use” e-cigs until there are further studies on side effects. Although one incentive to take up e-smoking is to help stop smoking regular cigarettes, there is no proof that e-cigarettes stop nor tame nicotine cravings. In fact, typically e-smokers only increase their nicotine habit when they switch from smoke to vapor. However, e-cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than real cigarettes. But fore warning, the FDA has detected traces of diethylene glycol in e-cigs, a poisonous hygroscopic liquid that can lead to vomiting, facial paralysis or death.

Health aside, these vapor sticks are showing up in places that banned regular cigarettes long ago. People are e-cigging while shopping, at the park, and even at the office. NPR talked to Gary Nolan, a talk show host in Columbus, Ohio who praises the e-cig and says, “I’m in a closed studio. There are no open windows. I can vape in here, while I’m on the air in fact, and people can walk in and out and not even know it, if they don’t see it in my hands.” Many employers and workers are happy that e-smoking cuts out regular smoke breaks and saves time. Yet, there’s a whole myriad of reasons as to why offices are taking a stand against vaping on the job.

“I love that my coworker who smokes e-cigs doesn’t have to leave work to smoke. It’s nice that I can find her when I need her, however, I think that it’s weird that people don’t treat e-cigs like they treat normal cigarettes. People ask you if they can smoke around you, or good people do at least, but in a work context people don’t ask about e-cigs and I think that’s rude.” Says Ellen C, an editor at Modern Luxury. Many activists share a similar sentiment. Since the product is so new, it’s difficult to determine what kind of long term side effects e-cigs have on the smoker or those exposed to the vapor. 24 states have banned e-smoking in the office and more than 100 cities have prohibited it in places where regular smoking is already forbidden.

Thinking about renting office space that allows e-smoking or prefer one that prohibits it? Check out Turnkey’s listings!

Are You An Office Gossip Monger?

Team

Office gossip: a petty issue or a legitimate problem?

Recently, it seems like the latter. Last year, a Google employee was fired after forwarding her mom an email about Lady Gaga coming to speak at the company’s campus. When Enron folded, archivists discovered that nearly 15% of emails between employees were pure gossip. With the surge of technology and apps like Secret, gossip seems to travels faster and stealthier than ever before.

The office can be a treacherous incubator for negative social chatter. You’re surrounded by the same people all day, all week, all year, and your lives often intersect at post-work events and happy hours. If any kind of slanderous conversation gets exposed to the wrong colleague it can make for an uncomfortable work climate or worse, ruin your career.

So, how is gossip started? What greases the wheels of this malicious time-wasting activity? In many cases its boredom, it can stem from one’s insecurity about their work performance, the desire to forge camaraderie with co-workers, or just a way to blow off steam. Whatever the reason, it’s an endeavor that typically does more harm than good.

However, there are some who believe that gossip might have some positive side effects. UC Berkeley conducted a studywhere they placed heart-rate monitors on a group of people playing a board game. Every time players witnessed cheating their heart rates escalated, but whenever they gave or listened to advice, their heart rates slowed down to a healthy beat.

Tim Hallet, a sociologist at Indiana University, calls gossip “a form of reputational warfare.” He spent two years studying social dynamics at a Midwestern elementary school, both in youth and adult sectors. He learned that gossip is one of the most comfortable forms of dialogue. During his one-on-one interviews, teachers would voluntarily throw around insulting comments about their bosses. However, during staff meetings, teachers became more tactful, and would “test the waters” with subtle sarcastic remarks.

Interested in keeping your job? Err on the side of safety and keep your criticisms to yourself or find a patient non-work friend that will listen to your office grievances.

Or better yet, check out TurnKey’s listings and maybe you’ll find a space where you can retreat far away from the a-list gossipers, and never worry about saying the wrong thing ever again.

The Plight of The New Working Parent

Lately, the internet has been abuzz with chatter over what it means to be a parent in the work place.

Much of it was ignited by AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong’s comment last month regarding two AOL employees who each gave birth to pre-term high-risk babies that allegedly cost the company $1 million dollars each. Armstrong originally stated that in lieu of the babies’ costly hospital stays and the induction of the Affordable Care Act – he was going to cut back on the matching amount of his employees’ 410K packages. Fortunately, after a lot of backlash and protesting, he retracted his decision and AOL’s benefits now remain as they were before.

With our country in the midst of a health care revolution, it’s crucial to consider the security and stability of employee maternity and paternity leave benefits. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which was passed in 1978, states that companies with 15 or more people must ensure every pregnant woman is entitled to the same health benefits as all other employees and will be assured her job upon return. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was passed in 1993, went beyond these conditions, and ensures that if you’re an employee at a company with 50 or more people and have been working there for at least a year, you’re guaranteed 12 job-protected unpaid weeks of maternity leave. The tragic thing is that only 60% of the US’s businesses are legally required to distribute benefits under the FMLA. An even more daunting figure is that only 35% of women are employed at companies that even pledge paid maternity leave.

This is all barely comforting information. How is a woman supposed to support herself and a new child if she’s not working? The average parents spend $12,000 on their baby’s first year of life. Imagine what that year is like if you have no income and no health insurance.

In scope of world statistics, the US’s parental leave rights pale in comparison to policies in many European and Asian countries. South Korea gives both parents partial paid leave for up to a year. Japan grants each parent job security for a year of unpaid leave. New Zealand will pay 100% of a new parent’s salary for 14 weeks and allows 38 weeks of unpaid leave. Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and Romania all give 18 weeks of leave that pay 85-100% of their working salary. In Sweden, both parents receive 480 days of leave and 390 of those are paid at 80% of their salary.

In the last ten years, there have been only three states to pass paid family leave laws: California, New Jersey and Washington. Both California and New Jersey laws require employees receive 6 weeks of partially paid parental leave, California will pay new parents 55% of their regular salary and New Jersey will pay 66%. Due to lack of funds, Washington’s law probably won’t go into effect until 2015 but their workers will receive $250 a week for five weeks.

Some people are taking pregnancy budgeting to the test. Meaghan O’Connell, the co-editor at the finance blog, The Billfold, recently wrote a distressing but funny list of purchases during her first three months of pregnancy that total up to $4,113.94. Her spending isn’t superfluous ($395 for four weeks of birthing classes) but she isn’t being frugal either ($32 for a pregnancy pillow) – and why should she? Having a baby is the most critical time to be generous and considerate towards your body for the sake of the future well being of your family.

There are some high-flying tech companies that are strengthening their health benefits policies, intending to make the transition into parenthood a very easy one. Google allows new mothers to take up to 22 weeks of paid maternity leave and non-birthing parents are given seven paid weeks. They’ll also give new parents $500 in “baby cash”, priority parking spots and office high chairs. Facebook ensures four months of paid leave for both parents and $4,000 in “baby cash”. Yahoo CEO, Marissa Meyer, who ironically only took two weeks off after giving birth, extended the company’s parental leave policy to eight paid weeks for either parent along with $500 in “baby cash”.

It’s not just tech companies that are prioritizing new parents’ needs. Clif Bar and Genentech realized not so long ago that providing onsite childcare facilities boosts company moral and increases productivity and reduces turnover. Clif has a 6,700 square foot childcare center called the Clif Base Camp which hosts children from six months to six years. Parents are given the piece of mind and convenience of their children being nearby. Clif also provides seminars and workshops for new parents facilitated by published and esteemed parenting experts. Genentech has one the country’s largest on-site childcare centers – over 20,000 square feet and boasting 13 classrooms and private nursing rooms. Most onsite care centers are partially subsidized by employees. On average workers are encouraged to pay anywhere from $125-225 a year for childcare services – whether they’re parents or not.

Are You Capitalizing on the New Workspace Culture?

Offices are evolving.

Urban workspaces are now cultural temples – murals adorning lobbies, gourmet kitchens, over-sized playgrounds, and stages equipped with fog machines. Yet, it’s not just the interiors that are transforming – it’s everyday work culture that’s going through a serious revolution.

Companies are drifting away from the standard lunch breaks and HR planned happy hours. Many start-ups and other businesses are abandoning the monotonous 9 to 5 and encouraging its employees to follow schedules that are more conducive to every individual’s unique productivity methods.

A happier workforce and more socialization and creativity increases productivity: it’s a philosophy that many Bay Area companies are embracing. According to a case study, 84% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a business’s success is determined by its workplace culture. Companies are spearheading community gardens on rooftops, catering in-house yoga classes, and taking their teams on agricultural retreats and wine tours. As crazy and costly as these extracurriculars might sound they’re actually showing benefits. Companies with a strong and generous work culture have higher financial success, happier employees, and lower turnover than related businesses. Author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, researched the emotional well-being of thousands of fortune 500 companies and discovered that on average, a happy work team with a strong workplace culture raises sales by 37% and productivity by 31%.

Whisk, a San Francisco-based start-up is capitalizing on the workplace culture movement. Their mission is to help businesses facilitate different cultural activities. They’re the people you want to call if you’re at a loss trying to figure out how to create some workplace fun. They believe in celebrating employees, and that camaraderie is the key to business success. They’ll cater your breakfast, start your work morning with a Gangam-style dance class, or just take you on an old fashioned field trip to a goat farm. They’ve helped companies like Square take part in neighborhood clean-up sessions. They’ve connected companies with designers, chefs, and artists that help reorganize and revamp stale work environments. It’s these small but crucial steps that help make a work place less horrible, and so far – it’s working.