At Contactzilla, we believe that our team is our greatest asset. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Like you, we want our team to be happy and feel fulfilled in their jobs.
We also want to motivate our team to be as productive as possible, without pushing them too far and stressing them out.
In my experience, team happiness spurs productivity and by making your work environment a ‘happy place’, you can take care of your team and encourage them to get more done.
Here are 10 of our favourite ways to make work fun so your employees stay happy and motivated…
1. Have a games area
If you want your team to stay motivated and refreshed, you should be encouraging them to take regular breaks. Of course, you want them to take their breaks away from their desks, so try to provide a fun and relaxing ‘breakout area’ where people can go for 10 minutes to clear their minds.
At Contactzilla HQ, we have a pool table as well as a small area with a sofa, bean bags and a picnic bench. Anyone is welcome to a game of pool, or to take their laptop over to the beanbags, any time they need a break or change of scenery.
Even just a game of pool every few hours is enough to put a smile on our faces. Not only does it make us happy but we often end up chatting about projects over the pool table, giving us a fresh new perspective to take back to our desks.
2. Go out together
Have fun with your whole team by going for regular days and/or nights out. Going out together as a team is a great way to get everyone having fun and forming relationships outside of work that could inspire collaboration back in the office.
As well as being loads of fun, days out can make great team-building exercises, even if you don’t fancy traditional ‘build a raft from drinking straws’ style team building days (we survived this zombie apocalypse together and had a great time).
“If you’re not able to relate to your coworkers as human beings and build positive relationships, your career will suffer. Socializing and getting to know them as people will help you to communicate better, trust each other more and work better together.”
3. Encourage friendships
Socialising with coworkers can go further than after work drinks on a Friday and the odd team-building day. According to Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends, people with a ‘best friend’ at work are up to 7 times more engaged than those who aren’t.
Workplace friendships can also help you develop a culture of ‘compassionate love’ which research has found can lead to higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork, as well as a reduction in sick days.
You spend a huge proportion of your time at work so its important not to hate your office. If you want your team to enjoy being at work, make sure you provide a workspace that’s attractive and interesting but also conducive to productivity.
Remember, your office is a reflection of your brand. Decorating in accordance with your brand will help your team stay in touch with it. For example, if your business prides itself on its simplicity, a messy, cluttered office isn’t going to help your team feel in line with your mission.
Stuck for ideas? Why not get everyone involved and decorate your office as a team? It’s fun and a great way to get everyone working together.
5. Get a dog
Recent research has shown that having a canine companion in the office can actually increase productivity, reduce stress and spark communication between employees.
Another study found that participants who worked with a dog nearby ranked their team-mates higher on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy than those who didn’t. In other words, having a dog in the office can also help your team become better collaborators.
So go on, get a dog in the office and watch happiness and productivity and soar!
6. Get the beers in
At Contactzilla, our team is mostly made up of web developers and each of them has different skills and experience.
Our team love to learn new skills so every Friday afternoon, we hold a “tech talk” where one of the developers talks about a problem they’ve encountered or a new piece of tech they’ve been using. We find that sitting down with a beer at the end of the week and sharing knowledge is a fun and productive way to wind down.
7. Celebrate small wins
Teresa M. Amabile, one of the world’s leading researchers studying organizations and the roles people play within them, has found that one of the biggest influences on workplace happiness and productivity is the “progress principle”.
“What we found was that, of all the events that occur on best days, one stood out well above the rest – simply making progress on meaningful work. We call this the “progress principle.”
According to Amabile, meaningful work “does not necessarily mean lofty goals like curing cancer, only that the work be of value to the person doing it. In fact, meaningful work can be as ordinary as providing customers with a useful service or a quality product. But for the progress principle to take effect, the work must be meaningful in some way to the person.”
If you want your team to be happy, you need to make sure they feel they are making progress and understand the importance of their role to your company.
8. Peer to Peer feedback
Chances are, the boss doesn’t know or understand exactly what everyone on the team does on a day-to-day basis. To make sure your team is getting the feedback they deserve, why not try peer to peer feedback…
At Contactzilla, we encourage our team to help each other out and give each other feedback, whether positive or constructive. They appreciate feedback from their peers who understand their work in depth and it helps them develop closer relationships and collaborate better in the future.
9. Share photos of your children or pets
Yes, I’m telling you to be “that guy”, but hear me out…
Showing photos of their kid or pet to co-workers can help your team establish friendships, creating a happier and more loyal workforce. If that wasn’t enough, studies also show that looking at cute animal pictures at work can actually make you more productive!
10. Encourage hobbies at work
Everyone has a hobby they’re passionate about so why not let your team take a half-hour out to work on their hobby? It’s a great way to relieve stress, recharge your batteries and offers your team the chance to bond over common interests.
About the Author
Mark Panay is the Marketing Director and Co-Founder of Contactzilla, a seamless contact management system for businesses and organizations. In addition to his love for emerging technology, Mark is also a trustee of Deki, a very cool microfinance charity that helps entrepreneurs in developing countries generate sustainable incomes.