“Comfort” is an interesting word that we use a lot at Cambridge. Since we are an HVAC company, it is usually in context with making sure the people in your industrial facility are breathing fresh, tempered air, or making sure that your employees in high-bay buildings aren’t freezing in the dead of winter. There’s also “comfort” in the realm of making sure your employees know that you’ve got their backs and have a genuine interest in their personal health and professional growth. (see blogs on Dale Carnegie Leadership Training and Stretching Your Way to Workplace Safety to generate ideas of how to boost comfort both personally and professionally).
Still, most companies overlook the importance of physical employee comfort, and are losing real talent and real opportunity to grow with those employees when they leave to pursue a workplace that can meet and exceed their basic requirements of a healthy working environment.
Not convinced? Here are four reasons that we think will back us up.
Safety protocol alone is reason enough.
According to OSHA – your workers have the right to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. The OSHA website starts with a dire warning: “The quality of indoor air inside … workplaces is important not only for workers' comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.” This safety protocol is actually far, far above a “comfort” suggestion – and could be downright dangerous if ignored.
And even though we could stop after the safety reason, here are three more reasons to consider:
You can’t exist without them.
Unless you are a completely automated company or self-employed, you depend on at least one employee to get your product or service sold, produced, billed, you name it. Employees know that they have employment options – especially in trade professions, where there is a serious labor shortage. Don’t doubt that even if an employee feels fairly compensated, they might still leave because of continuing discomfort in their workspace.
Continuous improvement falls apart when it’s not the priority.
Imagine a humid July day in a distribution facility, when you can’t imagine doing anything but cooling off. We spend a portion of every day identifying opportunities for lean improvement in our processes and workspaces, but even we know that these can fall by the wayside when it is just too hot or too cold.
They are your brand ambassadors.
Client services to your customer.
Seasoned laborers to new hires.
Any employee to the world on social media.
Your employees can and should be your biggest advocates, because they are treated right (and physical comfort plays a big role) and believe in your product or service. The opposite of these two things can destroy every sales opportunity on your books this year.
There are so many ways to make your team feel comfortable – and they deserve it, so make it a priority to figure out the right investment to provide them a workspace in which they can reach their full potential.