Happy employees are productive, energized and satisfied with their jobs. They are also more likely to stay where they are. That seems logical enough, but how do you create a workspace that will keep your employees comfortable? While there's no magic formula for making everyone feel good while they're on the job, a few tips might work for most people in your place of business.
While it's often hard to reduce the stress of job duties, it's vital to help employees maintain their physical and mental well-being. Because they spend most of their waking hours there, promoting wellness in the workplace is especially important.
A walking program can encourage people to walk to work or during their lunch breaks. A little competition between colleagues can entice them, too. Consider offering incentives for the most steps or miles walked in a set time.
Provide employees with a list of health-conscious restaurants within a 2-mile radius of your office, so they feel less tempted to default to a fast-food place for lunch. You can also offer healthy snacks and drinks in your wifi vending machines in place of sugar-laden sodas and junk food.
You might consider offering corporate discounts to local fitness centers or even bringing the fitness center to the office. Some yoga instructors and massage therapists come to the workplace, making it convenient for your staff to get in a quick workout or shoulder-loosening massage during a break.
Create an Appealing Workspace
Adding a touch of home to your office can make your workers feel comfortable and put them at ease. It might even help them increase their focus and productivity. Making the office more homelike doesn't have to involve a significant remodeling project. You can start by ensuring that desk workers have a comfortable chair and adequate desk space. If you have a break room, you can add a comfy couch or two, decorative throw pillows and a light blanket. Subdued lighting might offer relaxation and a break from harsher fluorescent lights.
Wall art around the office can create the mood you're after — inspiring, energizing, soothing or whatever vibe works best for your industry and workers' personalities. The walls themselves can be comforting when painted an appealing color.
Allowing employees to personalize their workspaces will help them feel at home. Encourage them to add pictures and personal touches that aren't distracting.
Build Relationships With Employees
You and your staff spend lots of time together, so creating positive workplace relationships is essential. Take time to make conversation with your coworkers. You can ask them what they did over the weekend, compliment a new tie, or see if they have any restaurant suggestions. Building a rapport with your office mates will make them feel more comfortable around you and encourage them to build relationships with each other.
The smallest efforts can eventually lead to stronger relationships and increased trust. Employees who don't feel intimidated by you are more likely to be direct and honest. It will make it easier to have work-related conversations, even difficult ones, when a foundation of respect and trust exists between you and your staff. It also sets an excellent example for everyone when they see you making efforts to build relationships.
Offer Recognition and Praise
People need to feel appreciated — so much, in fact, that praise and recognition are ranked as more important than salary or flexible work hours. Some managers might feel intimidated by the idea of giving credit when an employee does an outstanding job. They might be threatened or think their position is in danger if they point out the good things a direct report has done. Acknowledging a job well done, however, is nothing to fear. Genuine and deserved praise can create a culture of positivity and boost morale. It might even cause an employee to think twice about leaving.
Recognition doesn't have to come in the form of a monetary reward (although it's worth considering). A short email, public shout-out during a meeting, a handwritten note or simply saying, "Great job!" as you walk by an employee's desk are effective methods of praise. The sooner you recognize a staff member for a job well done, the better — don't put it off for the next performance review, or the praise will lose its power.
Give Work a Purpose
Most people would agree that they go to work hoping for more than a paycheck — they want to know they are making a difference. Every job has a purpose, and employees sometimes need to be reminded that what they do is meaningful. When they understand their place in the big picture, it will make them feel fulfilled.
Creating a comfortable workplace for your employees doesn't have to be expensive, complicated or time-consuming. Small efforts can build into big morale boosts that will keep your staff satisfied and willing to do their best.