Affordable Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy

Happy Employees

For most of us, much of our lives are spent working. As we deal with everyday stresses and trying to find the right work life balance, it is inevitable that our work plays a vital role in determining the amount of happiness we feel.  When an employee is consistently unhappy at work, it is likely they will consider or make a move to the next company in the hope they will be happier.  Aside from the high cost of replacing an effective departing employee, an unhappy worker will often have reduced productivity and low morale which can negatively affect colleagues and team performance.  High compensation and great benefits will often help but these effects are usually temporary as employees will invariably reset expectations and, as they do, any positive impact on job satisfaction will diminish.  Employers should seek ways to create a workplace that employees love being part of where they look forward to coming to work.  These people feel part of a team and know they are needed and matter.  Going out your way to show your appreciation doesn’t have to be costly.  Here are a few affordable ways to help keep your employees motivated and happy.

Make an effort to improve your staff lunchroom:

The break room is more important to employees than you think, especially those that do not have the luxury of their own office.  More importantly, employees need to have a space away from their desk where they can socialize or recharge and escape from their daily routine.  It certainly helps an employee relieve any stress they are feeling on the job and just unwind from a busy day.  At no great deal of cost, consider the look and feel of these spaces and improve aesthetics where possible – a new colour of paint and few interesting art pieces can go a long way.  Also consider providing a few monthly magazines and free wellness pamphlets from your insurance provider.

Organize a Social Committee to foster fun at work:

The goal of a social committee is to help establish stronger relationships amongst coworkers by organizing fun events, games, and theme-based activities.  You can create a monthly staff calendar and spread out the celebrations so that there are regular events to look forward to.   The planning can sometimes be a hassle but assembling the right members and brainstorming with this committee will set the wheels in motion.  Additionally, asking employees for their ideas will usually help to ensure there is lots of variety to build your social calendar.  There are also plenty of good examples on the internet and even fun appreciation and national days already mapped out for the year that you can include. Even a simple Taco Tuesday or Fruity Friday goes a long way in helping your staff feel appreciated and cheerful. Here are a few ideas your social committee can add to the monthly calendar:

  • A cake each month to celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays.
  • Tasty treats in the break room every other week.
  • 50/50 draws 2-3 times a year as the odds of winning is higher than your usual lotto and the social committee can use half the earnings to pay for other activities.
  • Outdoor games where the participants can earn points and win prizes.
  • Lunch and learn sessions which allow employees to share skills and hobbies with colleagues and they can earn a gift card for their effort and contribution.
  • Theme day events celebrating a special occasion like Valentine’s day or Halloween and be sure to include treats and prize draws for best costumes.
  • Handing out corporate swag is a fun way of making people feel valued and part of the team culture.
  • There are countless other examples of ideas: consider and try those that best fit your company culture.

Don’t forget to acknowledge a job well done:

Your staff will never give their best if they don’t feel valued and appreciated for all that they do.  A simple thank you goes a long way in making employees feel noticed and encouraged to continue doing a good job.  Keep a supply of cards on hand for special occasions like work anniversaries and birthdays.  Hand-written thank you cards can also be given to staff on occasion by managers and colleagues to show that you care when they go the extra mile and are seen for doing so.

Create opportunities for your team to come together:

We can get so focused on our job that it becomes easy to disconnect from our peers.  Creating opportunities for your staff to meet and work collaboratively will help reduce stress as employees support and learn from each other.  Don’t forget to bring in free food on occasion.  Next time you run your weekly meeting bring in some donuts as a treat.  With a smaller team it will be easier to periodically organize a team building activity either at work or off site.  Make an effort for your team to connect, learn from each other and feel inspired.

Find unused space and make it feel like a gym:

Take a walk around the building and you may be surprised to find an unused small space, even a spare office that is not being used that may be ideal for 2-3 exercise equipment.  Even a yoga mat or two can give one a satisfactory workout by doing a few body weight movements such as lunges, squats, push-ups, planks, and leg lifts.  You may find only a handful of employees using the equipment, but they will be grateful for the opportunity to be active and this will also help them improve concentration and energy levels, which will likely lead others to follow their example.

Creating a warm and comfortable work environment:

Adding real plants to the workplace helps to boost the mood of employees and studies show they help with a significant reduction in stress.  If you have a spare office or space, consider creating a prayer or meditation room. This will go a long way in recognizing diverse groups of employees who will appreciate the effort you have put in to acknowledge and accommodate their beliefs and values.

It has been quite popular of late to provide employees with a standing desk if possible.  It certainly helps to improve morale and can lower levels of stress and fatigue.

Consider the office lighting especially in your break rooms as the warmer, yellow lights tend to be inviting and more relaxing.  In addition to artwork, be sure to incorporate a few fun pictures to add some colour and don’t forget about motivational quotes and phrases that are inspirational, uplifting, and reflective of what’s important to the company and its teams.

Going out your way to consistently appreciate your employees will build trust and boost morale. There are enormous benefits of happy employees and making the effort is essential to your organization’s success.  Contact Bridge Legal and HR Solutions for practical guidance on employee engagement – (647) 794-5442 or at admin@bridgelegalhr.ca 

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