Improving employee morale and productivity doesn’t have to be an expensive or difficult task. For smaller companies or startups, it’s important to realize that working toward higher employee performance and happiness on a daily basis can do far more than any employee perk the bigger brands can afford to offer.
That said, while a little goes a long way when it comes to managing employee output and sentiment, companies must be sure that they are actually committing to providing for that “little.” What does that mean? So glad you asked! Below are three simple office environment and policy changes you can implement today to start seeing results in the very near future.
Commutes can be messy and one of the worst parts of an employee’s day. Allow your team, then, the ability to dictate for themselves when they want to work from home. Do they need to minimize distractions and really get heads down on a project? Let them know they can do that from the comfort of their own space. Maybe it’s a Monday after a holiday weekend (think Mother’s Day or Father’s Day). You know your team has been travelling, so why not allow them to work from home to give their bodies a rest from all the weekend commuting, of sorts?
Whatever the reason your employees want to take a day to work from home, create an environment that allows for that –– and never looks down on it. Yes, if you are a team that works best together and in-person, that’s great. Let employees know that working from home once a week is about as much as the company culture can allow. Trust me, that’s far more than enough!
Why does this matter? Because it creates trust among employees and management as well as cross-functionally. Many people are much more productive at home, where there are far fewer distractions than at the office. A simple change of surroundings also activates the creative mind, creates a sense of freedom for all employees and gives adults the power to be adults, deciding how best to manage their schedules to allot for both personal and professional life.
To harp on this idea a bit more, you hire adults to work for you. Trust is absolutely a key aspect to any hire. And, in our current non-stop working environment where people literally have addictions to checking their email on-the-go, be sure your employees understand that a full 8-hour work day everyday isn’t essential.
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After all, some days, some teams will work until 9 p.m. to push out a final project. Be sure to let that team know that they can take off a bit early the next day thanks to all their hard work. Or, maybe one employee has been working extra hard this quarter, putting in a couple additional hours of work beyond the 8-hour day for a few months. Go ahead and allow that employee to take a break, leave the office a bit early for month and rejuvenate.
Why does this matter? Beyond creating trust, this will help to alleviate any potential for burnout. Especially in smaller companies and startups, workloads add up fast. Be sure to remind your employees that while work output is important, so is personal care –– and rest is a big part of that. Not everyone needs to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Instead, everyone needs to put in what averages out to a 40 hour work week each year. How your employees divide up that time should be up to them.
Games like ping pong and Mario kart were once seen as having no place in a functional office, serving only as a distraction to workers. Now, they’re super popular in startups –– and for good reason. Games encourage employees to have fun with one another, giving an opportunity for them to step away from their desks and relieve stress with an engaging activity.
It gives workers the chance to talk to each other and bond as teammates, and can even serve as a good excuse to have a work-related discussion in an environment other than a stingy conference room.
While the game might serve as a distraction to some, for the most part, your employees will know how to use it responsibly. Build interoffice dynamics and team morale by encouraging your workers to have a little fun in the office.
Why is this important? Because you want your employees to want to come in to work. Creating a fun, welcoming, productive and trusting environment for your employees is essential to employee productivity and happiness. Remove old, stuffy office barriers that saw off-site team building exercises as the only place for games. Let employees build their own cross-functional rapport while relieving stress and acting out a few favorite childhood pastimes with new work friends.
In all, show that you trust how employees use their time. It is absolutely essential that employees prove out their productivity and achieve their monthly and quarterly goals –– but there’s no reason they can’t do so on their own terms. Hire high-performing, highly engaged people and then reward their efforts with trust, time responsibility and work space options. Both your employees and your company will ultimately benefit.
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