6 unique ways to improve workplace morale

Employee engagement Improving workplace morale

Are you noticing employees showing up late? Has there been a palpable sense of tension in the air? Company morale can be a tricky thing to manage, but by putting a focus on it,  you can foster a positive and stress-free environment that facilitates productivity and creativity – all of which will decrease absenteeism and turnover.

Here are six unique ways to improve employee morale in your workplace.

Community service

Aligning with a non-profit organization, or starting a charitable initiative within the workplace, can be a fantastic way to enhance employee morale – especially if you have a young staff.  According to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, millennials who take part in workplace volunteer activities are twice as likely to be satisfied with the progression of their career.

Wanting to make a difference in the community, however, is not just reserved for the young. Consider this report from Network for Good, which states that “employee engagement through cause is a vital means by which to strengthen employee relationships, enhance employee morale and even build critical skill sets and expertise.”

So how do you put this into place? One option is to offer employees a few paid hours per month to volunteer to the cause that’s most important to them. If you go this route, however, you may lose out on the possible team-building opportunities created by group community service. Participating in charitable bike races, walks, or fun runs, for example, can be great for team spirit – and they also provide a lot of material for employee newsletters and social media platforms (both of which can help improve company morale).

Inter-office fundraising and group volunteering (like visiting a senior’s residence or helping out at a homeless shelter) are also great initiatives that can have a big impact on your local community and your workplace culture. 

If you don’t have a cause close to your heart, ask your employees for their suggestions. Not only will this help you land on a creative solution, it will give staff a chance to have their say.

Share food

The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, but the same can often be said for staff. A catered lunch or staff dinner can snap people out of their routines, and get employees together in a less-formal, structured way. This can be as casual as providing sandwiches for a staff meeting, or organizing a lunch delivery one Friday each month (where staff can vote on the food they want to order).

Yes, this is an extra expense, but it’s one that encourages staff to take a designated break, get away from their desk, and talk to their co-workers in a way that’s far less business-oriented.

If you’d rather not go the food delivery route, you can get similar benefits by simply setting up picnic tables outdoors during the summer. This subtly encourages employees to get outside, and hopefully, helps ensure that they’re not eating alone at their desk.

Get out of the office 

Getting employees to interact with one another outside of the workplace can be a huge morale and relationship booster.  Co-workers who don’t jive in the office, for example, may find a common interest or hobby while away from the pressures of the office.

To make these events more unique, though, focus on activities that encourage creativity and team-building skills, such as having staff team up to “break out” of themed escape rooms, or work together to recreate a work of art. If that sounds like homework, you can also suggest something more laid-back, such as a visit to a local microbrewery.

As always, it’s important to give staff the power to vote on the events they want to attend. This will encourage employee engagement and participation in the event.

Go green

“Biophilic design,” that is, the scientific correlation between nature and well-being, is one of the newest workplace trends for 2017. According to a recent study, implementing plants, greenery, and sunlight into office spaces offers multiple benefits, including enhanced employee productivity and creativity.

Put simply, adding a touch of green to the workplace can go a long way towards enhancing employee morale. Click here for more on how to build a healthier, happier office.

Encourage self-development

One strategy to boost workplace morale is to offer time off and reimbursement for your staff’s professional development. Companies such as Adobe are capitalizing on this concept, which can include providing opportunities to attend conferences, night classes, skills training, and even sabbaticals.

Offering and encouraging this kind of self-development can improve employee retention and job satisfaction, as staff will feel empowered and supported to set long-term career goals. And if they achieve them, they will remember who helped get them there.

Foster a fun, high-energy workplace

You’ve no doubt heard about companies providing things like ping-pong tables, video games, and nap pods. Think that’s all a bunch of malarkey? Think again. Companies like Google encourage staff to play and rest during the day for a reason: it fosters a positive, fun environment, which goes a long way towards improving overall morale and employee satisfaction.

But don’t just take our word for it. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, something as seemingly silly as table tennis can increase concentration and alertness; stimulate brain function; develop tactical thinking skills; and provides social and recreational interaction; among other benefits.

So what’s the lesson here? Boosting workplace morale doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, it can be fun and easy. Talk to your employees to find out what they’re interested in, and give these six ideas a shot. Apart from enhancing workplace morale, you might discover a few ways to also improve employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention.

See also:
What Google’s Search Inside Yourself program teaches us about employee development
How to offer career pathing and growth opportunities at your small business

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