Happy employees are good employees, and outside of salary and benefits the best way to keep employees happy is to promote a fun and productive office environment. If you want a better working environment, try the following10 ways to make the office more fun - and more productive.
1. Take meetings outside
Take your employees to the park or outdoor attraction to foster creativity. Walk to your destination, if possible, or even hold a "walking meeting" with occasional pauses. This is a perfect way to boost brainstorming for problem-solving sessions, and helps employees feel unchained from their desks. Remember that a little fresh air is always good for the body!
2. Add free or thinking space
It’d be great if we could all work from easy chairs, but many people find easy chairs to be more of a hindrance to productivity. Create a space that has easy chairs, bean bags, couches, and other comfortable places for employees to take a break and brainstorm. Let the employees make it their own space and do what they’d like with it.
3. Recognize good work
Recognize good work and employee achievements in front of other staff. Encourage staff members to celebrate employee accomplishments and milestones. A standing ovation or even a simple ‘pat on the back’ is never out of order. When employees feel appreciated, they’re happier and more productive.
4. Ask employees to decorate
Let employees make the office space their own; instead of paying loads of money for fancy wall art, have each employee contribute an artwork of their own. This lends an idea of ownership and fosters creativity.
5. Employee sponsorships
Ever notice how sports stadiums and programs routinely have sponsorships: First Energy Stadium or the [INSERT SPONSOR HERE] Halftime Report? Do the same with your office by naming spaces after your employees. It’s a good way to lend a sense of ownership, add a laugh and encourage productivity. How about the "Hal Miller Water Cooler" or the "Mary Jones Supply Closet?"
6. Celebrate victories mightily
Office celebrations should be appropriate; small victories call for a pat on the back and some employee recognition. Major victories, however, call for mighty celebrations: days off, a fun (and work-free) office outing or an office party held at a local pub.
7. Build the War Room
The War Room is where critical decisions are made. It features a huge central table, perhaps some monitors on the wall. Make one in your office, and have your employees meet you there whenever critical decisions must be made. When clients come in to discuss options, take them to the War Room and have all employees join the collaborative group effort. This unique strategy will foster collaboration, lend a sense of importance and inspire innovative outcomes.
8. Let employees order their own chairs
Because let’s face it, no two butts are alike. Give employees a per-person budget and a catalog, and let them be comfortable at work. Why should you get to dictate what they sit in for eight hours (or more) every day?
9. Give prizes for employee appreciation
Here’s another unique idea that encourages employee collaboration, offers recognition and demonstrates appreciation: Each week, have each employee tell a story about how another employee answered the call of duty. Then, present the recognized employee with a prize - perhaps a gift card to their favorite restaurant or letting them off two hours early on Friday.
10. Ask employees to contribute ideas
If you want your employees to have more fun and be more productive at work, ask them what will make it happen. Every group dynamic is different, and they’re bound to contribute outstanding ideas that are easy to implement and successful.