Redesign, move, declutter _ businesses fix workspace issues

In this Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, photo, Owler employees Nicole Lopuch, left, and Molly Cornfield work in the company's offices in San Mateo, Calif. Many small businesses struggle because they have uncomfortable workplaces, whether it’s due to space, noise or aesthetics. But many find that if they ask staffers what they want, there are ways to make their space cheerful and inspiring. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, photo, Owler CEO Jim Fowler, center, talks with graphic designer Ian Wilson, right, in the company's offices in San Mateo, Calif. Many small businesses struggle because they have uncomfortable workplaces, whether it’s due to space, noise or aesthetics. But many find that if they ask staffers what they want, there are ways to make their space cheerful and inspiring. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, photo, Owler marketing specialist Molly Cornfield works in the company's offices in San Mateo, Calif. Many small businesses struggle because they have uncomfortable workplaces, whether it’s due to space, noise or aesthetics. But many find that if they ask staffers what they want, there are ways to make their space cheerful and inspiring. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, photo, Azazie.com CEO Charles Zhong, right, chats with merchandiser Nicole Garcia in the company's offices in San Jose, Calif. Growing companies need to allow for more expansion. When online bridal retailer Azazie launched in 2014, the handful of staffers fit into one room. Since then, the company has expanded its physical space twice: once when the company's staff reached 10 and again when the staff reached 40. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, photo, designer Cynthia Tran works on dress measurements at Azazie.com in San Jose, Calif. Growing companies need to allow for more expansion. When online bridal retailer Azazie launched in 2014, the handful of staffers fit into one room. Since then, the company has expanded its physical space twice: once when the company's staff reached 10 and again when the staff reached 40. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, photo, Azazie.com employee Vanessa Corzo works in the company's offices in San Jose, Calif. Many small businesses struggle because they have uncomfortable workplaces, whether it’s due to space, noise or aesthetics. According to experts, sometimes the right design means setting up spaces for people to collaborate and others for them to work alone. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, photo, stylist Kelly Young works the costumer support desk at Azazie.com in San Jose, Calif. Growing companies need to allow for more expansion. When online bridal retailer Azazie launched in 2014, the handful of staffers fit into one room. Since then, the company has expanded its physical space twice: once when the company's staff reached 10 and again when the staff reached 40. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, photo, Azazie.com workers prepare to ship dresses in the company's offices in San Jose, Calif. Growing companies need to allow for more expansion. When online bridal retailer Azazie launched in 2014, the handful of staffers fit into one room. Since then, the company has expanded its physical space twice: once when the company's staff reached 10 and again when the staff reached 40. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, photo, Owler CEO Jim Fowler, left, chats with COO Jeremy Bellinghausen in the company's offices in San Mateo, Calif. Many small businesses struggle because they have uncomfortable workplaces, whether it’s due to space, noise or aesthetics. But many find that if they ask staffers what they want, there are ways to make their space cheerful and inspiring. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

NEW YORK — Many small businesses struggle because they have uncomfortable workplaces, whether it's due to space, noise or aesthetics.

One pest control company found that turnover among the support and sales staff fell by 45 percent in one year after it moved to a space where people weren't so crammed in. And sometimes the right design means setting up spaces for people to collaborate and others for them to work alone.

Experts say unpleasant surroundings can be a drag on morale. The kinds of amenities that Silicon Valley is famous for — big open areas, gyms and nap spaces — are beyond the reach of most small businesses.

But many find that if they ask staffers what they want, there are ways to make their space cheerful and inspiring.

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