Even in the happiest of offices there are those days where morale may dip a little. Luckily there are certain things that management and leaders can do to raise spirits and help prevent the office atmosphere from effecting productivity, engagement and the general wellbeing of your employees.
1) Take an interest
As a leader you should already have a vested interest in the day to day activities of your subordinates, including any challenges they may have. It is, however, all too easy to lose track and become distant from your team or department due to other commitments.
Making time to pro actively catch up with your employees and make sure that all is well is one way to improve morale and team spirit. It’s also an effective way to ensure that any problems within the office can be dealt with in the early stages, possibly preventing a situation from escalating and effecting others.
2) Make things comfortable
A comfortable working environment can be the difference between a productive and non-productive employee, a happy or unhappy employee or, at worse, an employee who’s content in their role and one who’s looking for alternative employment.
Improving your office doesn’t have to cost £1000’s and cause disruption to everyone involved. For example, by simply adding real plants to employees desks you can improve the environment in a number of ways and it doesn’t cost much either.
Other ways a working environment can be improved include:
- Ergonomic office chairs (or lumber supports added to existing chairs)
- Standing desks (or an area that can be used by employees to stand and work)
- Making sure the blinds are pulled up, allowing natural light to fill the office
- Colour and interest on walls, such as industry news, branding material or project updates
- Install water coolers
- Allow telecommuting where appropriate
- Correctly positioned monitors and keyboards
- Make sure everything is clean and tidy (but try to avoid creating an overly sterile environment completely lacking in inspiration)
3) Credit where credit’s due
Ensuring that good work isn’t ignored or taken for granted helps to motivate and inspire employees to do their best work and give 100%. If real effort and dedication goes unnoticed then why would an employee bother to put that effort in? A simple verbal mention at the next department or company meeting, or just during the working day, is infinitely better than no mention at all, and doesn’t cost anything.
When employees pull together and complete a project as a team they should feel that the business is grateful and management appreciate the work they all put in.
Lead by example and personally thank employees for their contribution to driving the business forward.
4) Be human
Just being a human, rather than another cog of the corporate machine, can have miraculous results. Showing empathy, knowing when to bend the rules for the good of an employee that deserves it or just having a casual chat with your subordinates are all things that a human should do, but many managers may feel they don’t have to do or it’s not appropriate. It is.
Smiling’s contagious. If you, as a leader, smile more then this will encourage others to do the same. Pretty soon everyone will be smiling and benefiting from the results!
Being ‘human’ doesn’t mean ignoring all professionalism, you should remember that your all still in a workplace and be mindful of the types of conversation that are appropriate.
5) Talk to your employees
Asking for your employees opinion and suggestions, or just talking with them openly about the business will increase engagement and trust. Transparency will also encourage reciprocal openness regarding decisions being made by the business and feedback on best practices and strategies.
Talking to your employees will help you to learn about what makes them tick. What the enjoy and don’t enjoy, what motivates them and, importantly, what makes them happy at work. This is information that isn’t included on peoples CV and as such can only be discovered by engaging and talking to them.
6) Give your people what they need
Do your employees have all the tools they need to do their job 100%? Do they struggle with certain tasks because of a lack of technology, or ‘make do’ with certain programs, rather than being provided with those that are purpose built?
Your employees deserve the tools needed to do their best for your brand, if they have these, then they’ll be happier, more productive and the business will benefit from the results.
Implementing a BYOD policy is a great way to allow employees to use the tools they’re familiar with and, at the same time, reduce the burden on IT where hardware and software licensing costs are concerned.
7) Remember your P’s and Q’s
Manners are free but all too often get forgotten in the working environment. Simply remembering to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ will have a positive and lasting effect on people.
Good manners are appreciated by everyone and bad manners leave a lasting impression on everyone that experiences them. If something’s free and takes no time at all to do, why wouldn’t you do it if it improved morale and people’s impression of you??
Practising good manners will also prove a valuable asset when working in close proximity to others. During campaigns or projects, where you may need to share an office with colleagues, it’s important that everyone can get along in a professional and polite manner.
“Treat others as you would like to be treated”
8) Be spontaneous and do something unexpected
Sometimes just doing something on the spur of the moment can have a lasting and very positive impact on employees.
For example, shutting shop an hour early and taking everyone to the local pub on a Friday afternoon is likely to get a favourable mention by every employee to their fiends, families and on social media, doing your employer brand wonders!
Another simple action is buying ice creams on a hot day for everyone is relatively cheap and will be appreciated by the entire workforce, raising morale.
9) Be honest and open
Always be open and transparent, this increases trust and improves employee morale, engagement and retention, saving you money on turnover costs while benefiting form increased productivity and general wellness in the office.
Transparent messaging from the business, to it’s employees, is less open to interpretation from employees and therefore that messaging remains clear and constant.
Treating employees as your most important company asset is key to success, ignore them or take them for granted and they’ll soon be looking elsewhere for an employer.