How long do you spend at work each day? If you’re putting in as much time as the average person then you’re on the job for 38 hours per week. This adds up to 152 hours a month and 1824 hours per year! It’s important that this significant portion of your life is spent in an enjoyable and inspiring environment.
So many companies nowadays are motivated to present an upbeat culture. It is widely understood that happy, engaged staff are the ones who come back with the most exciting results on their projects, and that these are the same people who are sticking around as the company grows.
A fun workplace doesn’t equal a lazy workplace - here’s how to establish a dynamic and energetic work environment that will result in an enthusiastic team with the number one priority of getting things done.
Lead by example
As a boss or manager, you’re the one people look towards to set the tone on the culture of your workplace. The attitude you present needs to be the one that you want your staff and colleagues to reflect back to you. This doesn’t mean being a practical joker or slacking off, it means arriving each day with a positive attitude and tackling tasks with the right energy. Be approachable and ask people what they think. It will go a long way towards gaining their trust.
Once you’ve demonstrated that you’re willing to have a laugh and not take things too seriously, make sure to show how much you appreciate it when others display the same enthusiastic qualities. If your team is comfortable having a joke with you they’re more likely to be comfortable being upfront when a task or project is proving to be a challenge.
Create incentives and rewards
If an annual salary review is the only way your staff are getting recognised for their hard work then they’re probably struggling to stay enthusiastic and engaged and could be thinking about working elsewhere. Keep the goals in sight and make it clear that achievements will be rewarded throughout the year. There can be official rewards for reaching specific project or sales milestones or even a casual “Thanks for that excellent work this week, coffee’s on me”.
Many companies are allowing staff to nominate the team players they believe are deserving of recognition. This is a great Human Resources strategy to foster an environment where people are eager to support each other wherever possible and to see the instant rewards of a job well done. Encouraging a team to give shout-outs to their rock star colleagues is also an effective tool for revealing the star players who may be quietly flying under the radar.
Look like a fun workplace
Not all budgets extend to the Silicon Valley fantasy of a slide between floors and a wall of candy. While pinball machines and beanbags might not reflect your company’s style, a pop of colour, some inspiring artwork and a few strategically placed pieces of comfortable furniture will create a more welcoming vibe that staff feel happy to come to every day.
For an office that is bland and uninspiring, encourage creativity with a seasonal decorating competition - people can get in on the fun and then put the tinsel and Santa sleigh away once the novelty has worn off.
Ditch pointless rules
It is very old fashioned to place restrictions on staff that don’t actually have any positive effects for the company. Every office needs rules for maintaining standards but needlessly restricting people’s freedom of expression may cause people to be unhappy. A Business Insider article recently collated the worst rules for office employees and they included wearing safety goggles to use a stapler or only allowing one personal item per desk.
One company even forbid bringing in soft drink because it preferred staff to purchase from the vending machine! When introducing new rules, consult with the team and make sure everyone is on board with them and understands the reasons behind them.
Check in with people regularly
As a company it is important to have regular performance reviews with your staff but it’s equally pertinent to ask your employees how you’re doing as a boss and how they’re feeling about the business overall. Ask them if they’re finding their workplace enjoyable and what their ideas are to make it better. The old fashioned suggestion box has moved online for a lot of businesses but it can work as well as ever, especially with a voting system to allow a virtual thumbs-up on ideas to improve the culture and the environment.
Think outside the box
What can your company do differently so that employees are excited to work there? Best Place to Work winner Atlassian offers employees five days paid leave a year to work with not for profit organisations. Perhaps your staff would appreciate a similar opportunity to get involved with a worthy cause.
Getting involved with the community reflects well on any business and creates enriching experiences for employees by allowing them to add diversity to their everyday routine.
Don’t dwell on failure
Sometimes things go wrong. Budgets blow out, projects don’t get delivered on time or initiatives just don’t work. A fun workplace learns from experience and doesn’t constantly hark back to past mistakes. Keeping the team focused on the great things that are on the horizon will go a long way for their enthusiasm levels and stave off negativity.
Party! (A little bit)
Getting together to let off steam is a tried and tested morale booster. It gives staff a chance to relax in a different location, helping them to get to know each other better and find common ground outside the workplace. Try arranging a Friday lunch or an afternoon off-site to create shared experiences that bring people together and tighten relationships. Everybody wants to do a better job for someone they like and can identify with.
Team building excursions don’t have to involve keg stands and drinking competitions or group hunting excursions like the outing Leslie Knope subjects her colleagues to in Parks and Recreation! There are a lot of fun activities like lawn bowls, sailing or just a picnic in the fresh air that allow for a mental break and some bonding between colleagues.
Get out of the office and do some bonding
The word ‘fun’ is subjective and how you incorporate it into your workplace does depend on the industry you’re working in and the specific goals of your company. But creating an environment which people are excited to show up to each day will go a long way to boost their commitment to their jobs and their efforts to produce great results.
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