Is it possible that bikes, backrubs and a dog named Eggs can make your company and employees work more efficiently and have an over all better quality of life? The answer is – Yes! Americans employed full-time put in almost 47 hours a week on the job, so enjoying work is a big deal for employees and an even more serious issue for employers. Studies have shown that happy workplaces are significantly more productive and innovative. Plus, making a workplace as enriching and satisfying as possible is simply the right thing to do.
There are many small and large ways you can modify your work place to create an environment where people can be happily productive.
Some companies go to quirky extremes to improve workplace happiness. For instance, Patagonia provides daily wave reports to keep surfing staffers up-to-date on the gnarliest swells, while Google offices feature game rooms, napping pods and a bowling alley to keep the office moral up.
Jungle is not quite the size of those companies (we’re working on it) but we do our best to keep things interesting and productive. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, we had a masseuse come in and give a knot-pulverizing back rub to whomever needed one. Massages aren’t just great for muscle tension; they also reduce stress and anxiety, and can even improve sleep.
To welcome the warm weather and a beautiful sunny day, some team members from our office biked over to nearby Liberty State Park, so we could have our weekly strategy meeting while enjoying the fresh air and views of Lady Liberty her self. Caffeine is great…and we’re all big fans over here…but a bit of pleasant exercise from a morning bike ride is even better as a way of perking up and getting the creative juices flowing.
Even without exercise, getting out of the office every so often can be stimulating. That’s why we take company-wide outings whenever possible. Next month, some of our heartier, and more foolish, professionals are taking part in the Rugged Maniac 5k obstacle race, which has become a bit of a Jungle Communications yearly tradition now.
So, what are some other ways employers can make their work environments more enjoyable and more productive?
- Recognize employee accomplishments. Anyone overdelivering on expectations or beating deadlines should be recognized. So too should anyone celebrating a milestone, like a work anniversary. A little appreciation…and some chocolate cake…can go a long way to improving morale.
- Encourage and help pay for gym memberships. The link between health and happiness has been known since ancient times. Exercise cannot only add years to your life, but also improve your mood, energy levels and sleep patterns.
- Natural light. Unless you fight crime from a secret underground lair, it’s nice to work near a window. In fact, Northwestern University researchers found that sunlight improves mood and energy levels. If you DO fight crime, let us know if you want Jungle to design your logo!
- Maximize meeting effectiveness, not length. Getting together is vital to team-building and sharing communications, but too much of a good thing can sap energy and momentum. The trick is keep meetings focused – have an agenda and stick to it. Employees should leave energized and with a renewed sense of purpose, not lethargic from being droned at for two hours.
- Offer flex time, where possible. Striking a work/life balance is a lot easier if you have the freedom to adjust your schedule. This is obviously a great help to parents, but it also benefits anyone waiting on a plumber, recovering from an illness or taking care of a loved one.
Keeping employees engaged and motivated is good for morale, and good for business. Just remember that building a great place to work doesn’t come down to one big step, but many little steps.