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the top tens

Office meeting roometse1112/Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Organized desks make a difference. "It sounds cliché, but a cluttered desk makes for sloppy, stressful work and reduced creativity. Taking just two minutes to clear off your work surface can have a huge impact on how your day unfolds and what you're able to complete." -Amanda Aitken, Girl's Guide Courses with Amanda Aitken

2. Visualization of values is important."An office should be a physical representation of the culture you've created. Forget perks and pingpong tables. The most important aspects of the physical space are those that align directly with your culture. Do you have a core value around customer service? Somewhere in your office, demonstrate physically how you appreciate customers and how they respond to that. Oh, and good chairs." -Susan Strayer Lamott, Exaqueo

3. Good neighbours are a must."After spending six months in a co-working space (one of the many WeWork buildings in Manhattan), I think the most important and rewarding aspect of our office is the community of fellow entrepreneurs around us. We have a built-in support group of peers going through the same things we're going through. The creativity, energy and passion in the environment are a huge asset to our company." -Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

4. Temperature in the office matters. "In any office setting, the most important physical aspect is the temperature of the room. When the office is too warm, employees find it hard to concentrate on tasks. We prefer to use cooler settings. The reason is that when an employee is too cold, he can put on a sweater or use a space heater, but when an employee is too hot, he has no way to get relief when he must wear formal attire." -Jay Wu, A Forever Recovery

5. Self-expression is important inside the office. "In each of our offices, our team paints our rocket logo on the walls, as well as our five core values. They own the walls, and they use them to define what the company means to them. When hiring new team members, these actions set the standard and tempo for what we are, what we do, how we do it and why. It's the single most important thing for company culture." -Robert Casteneda, ServiceRocket

6. Break rooms help the team."We worked with our property manager to create a rather large kitchen that doubles as a game room. Employees go there to take a break from work and let their creative juices flow while eating, playing foosball or just lying on the couch. The room builds camaraderie among team members, which results in better communication and collaboration on projects." -Bhavin Parkikh, Magoosh Inc.

7. Quiet space is crucial for success."Time magazine recently shared research confirming that open-plan offices are associated with greater employee stress and reduced satisfaction. In fact, if you can hear someone talking while you're reading or writing, your productivity can dip by 66 per cent. So whether it's break rooms, individual offices or enforced rules, your employees need somewhere quiet to work." -Ryan Stephens, Ryan Stephens Marketing

8. Communal spaces create a community. "Collaborative and communal spaces create physical space for the work community to develop and the culture to expand. Our communal dining table, open lounges and patio create physical space for the intangible elements of company culture to grow and spread. You need to get people out from behind their computer screens to build an environment where there is true empathy for one another." -Chuck Longanecker, digital-telepathy

9. Real offices beat virtual offices. "Having a real office (while many other industries are moving to virtual offices) is important. With a virtual office, there is no camaraderie, energy or feeling like a team. We implemented a strategic decision to open high-end offices in prestigious locations as one of our distinguishing features. Agents appreciate being able to meet with clients in comfort and privacy." -Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty ONE Group

10. Windows increase productivity. "A working environment with lots of natural light is a happy and productive working environment." -Josh Weiss, Bluegala

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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