Dear PropellerHeads, I manage multiple employees and want to make sure that they’re both productive and enjoying their workday. Any suggestions on how to do that?
A: So, this isn’t the usual tech-related question we try to field, but if there’s something we’re all about here at PropellerHeads HQ, it’s making sure we’re having a good time while still taking care of business (EVERY DAY!!!). Yes, taking care of business (EVERY WAY!!!). Ok, now Bachman-Turner Overdrive is stuck in my head. Nonetheless, here are some ideas to make the workday better for employees.
Make things more comfortable for them. The days of restrictive suits & ties are going the way of the dodo. Consider allowing employees to have “Casual Friday” every day. Reasonable rules balancing comfort and professionalism can make a big impact on employee morale, especially if they’re not customer-facing. The assumption is that you have hired adults who will figure out how to dress for the situation. CEO of GM, Mary Barra’s policy is a great example of this practice with GM’s policy consisting of only two words: “Dress appropriately” (bit.ly/2AN64rk).
If you’re in an office environment, look at the actual workspace for your employees. I’m not talking about tchotchkes; I’m talking about the chairs, desks, and even peripherals. Ergonomic chairs and keyboards can make for a much more comfortable workday.
Recent studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time can have negative effects on health, both physically and mentally. While standing desks that adjust electronically can be pricey, there are several affordable options that can convert a normal desk into one that allows employees to stand throughout the day as they see fit (amzn.to/2Et1hd5). Some companies even go beyond that when encouraging healthier employees by giving reimbursements for gym memberships.
Employees who are chained to their desks all day aren’t necessarily the most productive. Providing employees some options to break up the day with a little entertainment can help them reenergize and regain focus, making them more efficient when at their desk. Amenities like foosball tables, cornhole games (if you have easy access to the outdoors), and even video games (amzn.to/2ExmW3M) can provide a break from the daily grind and provide a little entertainment. Talk to your employees and try to gauge what might interest them.
Just providing these amenities may not be enough to get employees to buy in. As an owner/boss/manager, encourage their use by taking advantage of them yourself and demonstrating acceptable usage during work hours. Consider scheduling a competition to encourage everyone to get in on the fun.
Maybe what you’re missing is an adorable, furry employee. It’s not something that can be done in all office environments due to space, employee allergies, and other considerations, but allowing employees to bring well-behaved pets into the office is something worth considering (bit.ly/2RrLf7X).
No room for furry employees to scamper around? Water features can bring a sense of relaxation to your workplace. Once again, you’ll want to find something suitable for the space available and consider the upkeep required.
Just keep in mind that, as with all of our suggestions, some common sense should be used in implementation. After all, while Fluffy the pet alligator might be adorable to their owner, others may be a little on-edge with her in the office.
Realize that these perks don’t only help your company’s productivity and employee morale, it also can increase your ability to attract & retain good talent. Websites like glassdoor.com & greatplacetowork.com are where employees go to learn about company culture when hunting for new jobs. It takes more than just a nice salary to beat out your competition these days.
Hopefully, this helps with a few ideas for making your workplace a place where employees are looking forward to spending their days. Now I’m off to find my Yorkie, who’s been surprisingly quiet since the last time I saw Fluffy wander by…