Providing quality amenities to medical office employees is important for
encouraging employee engagement. As noted in our comparison of the pros and cons of an open concept office space , employee engagement in America is very low. In order to combat low engagement, businesses need to demonstrate their investment in employee wellbeing. Not only can amenities attract new employees, but also they can improve the morale of current employees. Amenities are more than a physical investment; rather, amenities can encourage a healthy office culture. Below are the top amenities that every medical office should offer.
1. Provide Tablets for Employees
While laptops were very popular in the mid-2000s, tablets have since seen a steep rise in ownership. From 2010 to 2015 , American adults who owned tablets rose from 3% to 45%. People choose tablets over laptops because they have a longer battery life. They are also lighter than many laptops. Tablets are designed to be used anywhere: they can be used while sitting, standing, or even walking. Desktop computers and laptops, however, require stationary use. Tablets tend to be very affordable as well. A medical office should provide tablets to employees because they are a highly portable and easy to use piece of technology. Tablets are a very modular smart device, being compatible not only with finger touch technology, but also with stylus pens and keyboards. Employees can customize their tablet to their own work habits and needs.
Additionally, tablets allow employees to easily work remotely from home. A Gallup poll found that employees who spent less than 20% of their time working remotely were the happiest with their job. Allowing employees to work remotely once every few weeks can be enough to maintain their engagement at work. Employees can still complete their assigned work from home, without having to carry a bulky laptop or having to transfer files from one desktop to another.
A medical office that work with patients and clients can also benefit from having tablets intended for visitor or client use. Inputting forms is far more efficient with a tablet than with a pen and paper. Information stored on one tablet can be easily transferred to other internal systems. One study found that 36% of patients at medical offices showed interest in digitally transmitting their health data to their provider using a wireless device. There are also electronic health record apps designed specifically for tablets.
Other software options include cloud-based storage and simple medical billing systems. For small businesses, affordable and manageable software exists that the design works specifically for small networks. While desktop computers may be useful for stationary positions, such as secretaries, providing employees with tablets will allow them to work in an affordable and efficient manner.
2. Utilize Humidifiers
People often overlook humidifiers as an office amenity. By investing in an efficient humidifier, offices are improving their employee’s health. In offices, dry air can cause skin, eye, and lip irritation. This problem becomes exacerbated during the winter, when heating systems further dry out the air. Dry eyes are an increasingly common issue in offices, since most office workers frequently use computer screens. Digital screens often lead to eye strain, which in turn leads to uncomfortable working conditions. However, humidified air can improve an eye’s moisture barrier.
Air that is humidified helps improve air circulation. This means that air-related respiratory problems, such as asthma or allergy symptoms, are relieved. When using a humidifier, maintain a relative humidity of between 40% and 60%. Doctors recommend this as being an ideal range, since moist air does not allow bacteria or viruses to travel easily.
Interestingly, humidifiers are also beneficial for office furniture. Dry air can cause wood furniture to crack and dry out. This can lead to unstable and warped furniture. A humidifier will prevent the joints of wooden furniture from loosening.
Thankfully, due to modern technology, humidifiers come in a variety of sizes. Some humidifiers are even portable. An office does not need a humidifier in every room. Even one humidifier in a large office space can make a difference. While the presence of a humidifier may not immediately impress employees, the increased air quality will certainly benefit them very quickly.
3. Sponsor Catered Office Lunches
Fostering a healthy work culture is perhaps a less tangible amenity, but it is vitally important to employee productivity and engagement. A 2017 study found that in industries with low turnover rates, offices that involve their employees in a positive office culture reach 59% less turnover. One avenue to promoting a healthy work culture is by sponsoring communal office lunches. This can come in the form of catering food in the office, or an office can visit a physical restaurant instead.
Many offices already offer free snacks in break rooms as an amenity. A 2015 survey found that 66% of employees whose employer simply offered a diverse stock of pantry items reported being very pleased with their job. While providing snacks is thoughtful gesture, a fully-catered meal can demonstrate that an office is particularly invested in taking care of their staff. Sponsoring a joint meal encourages staff bonding as well.
Also, providing meals to staff can help their health. It has been proven that one’s mood affects how they eat. In 2014, one study found that negative mood management was often solved by eating unhealthy food. Offices that provide healthy food can help prevent an employee from eating emotionally, while also boosting staff rapport.
4. Provide Reliable or Discounted Parking
Over 70% of New Jerseyans drive alone when commuting to work. Medical offices that offer on-site parking can easily attract new employees and customers simply due to the convenience of the commute to their location. However, some offices have limited parking available to staff. One option to remedy this is by working with local parking garages or parking lots. Consider organizing an employee parking discount with a parking service.
If that is not an option, larger medical office buildings can consider offering a shuttle that brings employees and clients from a parking location to the medical office building. While this may seem like an expense, providing an easy form of access to your location will be very appealing to staff and clients alike.
Another option is to invest in New Jersey commuter tax benefits programs. The Commuter Tax$ave program, for example, allows employees and employers to save money on commuter parking and mass transit expenses. In 2017, the Tax$erve program saved an annual $300 in pre-tax deduction parking fees. Employees who drive separately to a parking lot and then carpool to their office are eligible for this tax benefit. Employees who commute by car and need to pay to park near their workplace are also eligible to savings of up to $1,175 . For businesses where parking discounts are not an option, consider assisting employees in enrolling for these commuter-friendly New Jersey programs.
5. Offer a Modern and Comfortable Break Room
Set aside a private room for employees to relax in. This space can be multipurpose. Employees can make fast phone calls, or sit and read some news, or they can take a few minutes to chat with a coworker. Having a separate location for this prevents distractions at office desks while also promoting staff wellbeing. Providing a separate place to relax also encourages employees to get up and move around. It is important, however, that an office explicitly encourages these breaks.
In 2014 , Staples held an internal study, asking employees to report on how often they took breaks. They found that one in five of their employees did not take breaks at work due to feeling guilty about being away from their responsibilities. Offering a break room is partially a symbolic gesture: the mere presence of the room demonstrates to employees that they are expected to take time off, and that they will not be penalized for it.
The Staples study also found that more than 75% of employees reported that a comfortable break room would help them unwind and relieve stress. A work productivity app, DeskTime, conducted a study on its users . It found that the most productive employees would take breaks for 17 minutes and work for 52 minutes over the course of a work day.
Encouraging small breaks throughout the day will allow employees to recharge and stay productive. Simply providing a room with tables and chairs is not enough, however. Try to furnish the room with nature elements such as wood grain furniture and bright, open windows. A thoughtfully designed break room will demonstrate to employees that your business cares abour their wellbeing. Providing a space separate from an employee’s desk or office also encourages them to step away from their work and unwind for a few minutes.
Medical offices need to remain competitive.
By offering unique and affordable amenities, a medical office can both attract new employees while also improving the office culture for current employees. Amenities are more than attractive bells and whistles: they demonstrate a business’ investment in their staff. By investing in these amenities, your business can stand out from the crowd.