The days of monotone, blank-walled cubicles are over. Far from being a distraction, professionals the world over have learned that by creating an enjoyable work environment, they will increase both employee satisfaction and production efficiency. There is a place for seriousness, but people thrive when they are comfortable. Here are three ways you can prevent a stale work environment to help keep your team happy and sane.
1. Don’t Be So Serious
Of course, there are times you must get down to brass tacks and be serious, but hopefully that isn’t all the time. The workforce at large seems to be recognizing that people can reduce the stiffness of professionalism and loosen up without compromising the quality of work. In fact, this can even increase productivity because people will feel they are able to be themselves, so they’ll be more comfortable overall.
Aside from how you interact with people, you can lighten up the mood of the office with things like Simpsons safety posters or garbage can basketball hoops. Some businesses have gone so far as to install slides in the office. Just remember that there is a big difference between having fun and infantilizing your employees — treat them like adults and keep the fun within appropriate bounds for the work environment. For example, a slide may be better suited for a creative agency than a morgue.
2. Reduce Hunger
People perform better when they’re properly fed. While providing good snacks is actually less about reducing hunger and more about showing your team they’re appreciated, a good snack can still go a long way in addressing that afternoon slump.
It’s easy to keep jars of candy and nuts stocked; those stay edible for a long time. Fresh fruit is a bit harder to keep stocked, but that is made much easier with all of the food delivery services that have become available in cities all over the world. You can provide fresh fruit weekly with just a few clicks of a button.
Soda machines and coffee makers are other tools to improve both employee satisfaction and production. Never underestimate the value of a well-caffeinated team.
3. Foster Team Engagement
This is another place to be careful about infantilization, but hosting fun team challenges can provide much-needed breaks, along with facilitating team unity. Team activities can range from things like getting lunch together to minute-to-win-it games for small prizes. Provide incentives that can be earned that day — a $20 bill in hand can provide a surprising amount of encouragement, even if employees make more than that hourly.
By creating an engaging and light work environment, your team will feel more comfortable and enjoy their work more. If your workplace is a place where people can feel relaxed enough to be themselves, they’ll be more likely to look forward to going to work — it’s hard to look forward to a drab office environment. Think of creative ways you can help your team feel more at home so they can do their best work.