Recent research has shown that having a modern, tidy place of work with views over greenery is one way to keep staff happy, productive and motivated.

Business Argus has been asking how the local business community motivates its staff and what it does to help keep staff happy and productive.

Dan Smith, of M4 Property Consultants, Newport

We advise all the companies we deal with to think carefully about the key features which influence the type of office they should take. These include location, presentation, parking accessibility, design access to amenities and natural light. Evidence demonstrates that those employees in offices with good natural light and pleasant external views perform better. This is particularly important where staff are sat at their desks the majority of the day. Other tactics such as ensuring breaks away from the desk and taking a short walk at lunchtime can also help productivity, and help companies retain the best talent. There are offices in Newport and Cwmbran that provide excellent working environments including natural light. It’s just about finding the right one to suit your own particular needs.

Ed Gooderham, Green & Co Accountants, Cwmbran

We are lucky enough to be surrounded by greenery at our new premises, Pembroke House, but we believe that key to our happy workforce is our emphasis on the importance of work-life balance, with a 35 hour working week, flexitime, and overtime actively discouraged. Communication also plays an important role - and it's a two way thing. Nick and I, the directors, involve our staff in our vision for the business, so that we are all united in working towards the same goal. In turn, we regularly consult our staff and value their ideas. We offer a forward-thinking benefits package and reward scheme that demonstrates how much we value our staff, but most importantly, we try to make the firm a fun, relaxed and friendly place to work, with team building days, charity events and an atmosphere which encourages staff to socialise with and support one another. The happiness and well-being of our staff is very important to us as we find a happy workforce is a productive one, and this year, we achieved Investors in People Gold accreditation. This achievement demonstrates our desire to deliver a first class service for our staff and our clients and our dedication to continuous improvement.

Noel Williams, managing partner, Kilsby & Williams Chartered Accountants, Newport

Out of office issues have a huge impact on a happy, motivated and productive workforce. All we can do is do our utmost to make work a part of our team’s ongoing life experience which is, in the long term seen as fair, interesting, challenging and enjoyable. The ethos of the firm means that we encourage team events and helpfulness towards co-workers. We ensure that targets set are really achievable and offer staff loyalty and good worker rewards. All this combined serves to ensure team retention, which is excellent.

Nikki Thomas, HR Officer, HardingEvans Solicitors, Newport

We do our best to make sure our employees feel valued and ensure they get the recognition they deserve. If someone has achieved something, whether it be a promotion or successful completion of a training course, we make sure everybody knows about it! We provide our staff with a break out area which has a pool table and table tennis facilities so they can make the most of their well-earned breaks. Each year we nominate a charity and throughout the year our social committee organises fundraising events which is a great way of keeping everyone motivated and engaged. These often double up as team building exercises which bring everyone together across the different departments. Learning and development is a big part of the culture here and we encourage all members of staff to take ownership of their own personal development and support them throughout their careers. The Partners are always keen to seek feedback from the staff and will always welcome new ideas.