A happy worker is a productive worker, and a harmonious office or workplace is one best suited to getting things done with the best quality and on time. Unhappy employees tend to be demotivated, and it will show up in the quality of their work. And unhappiness can spread – one unhappy worker can lead to others similarly feeling stressed, demotivated and discouraged too.
It’s important to do what you can to manage workplace morale. Keeping morale high results not only in happier and more productive workers, but a healthier company overall in the long term. Here are some ways to improve or maintain good workplace morale.
Employees who feel valued will almost always be happier than those who feel underappreciated or unappreciated. A good way to make sure your employees know their hard work is valued is to set up a process or program by which employees periodically receive a public call-out for their workplace accomplishments.
If it’s tied to some kind of gift or prize, that’s a bonus. It doesn’t have to be something major, but some token of appreciation on your part goes a long way. Being recognized for their good work will result in those employees wanting to continue to excel. And other employees will likely want to similarly be recognized, leading to an overall increase in motivation.
It’s not necessary for everyone in the workplace to be best friends for everyone to work efficiently and happily. However, a workplace in which people feud with one another or develop cliques isn’t a workplace with high morale. It’s important for people to at the very least see each other as co-workers deserving of respect.
One way to make that happen is to set aside some time for your employees to interact with each other outside of the regular work context. This can mean carving out an hour in the middle of a workday for a team-building exercise, scheduling a lunch outing at a restaurant, or setting up an after-work get-together at a restaurant, bar or any other social activity. This is an area that highlights the importance of Human Resources. Often times, they can take the lead in creating activities like these.
Once your employees have had a chance to see their co-workers in a more casual light, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to relate to them as human beings. Which in turn means it’s easier to empathize with them while on the job.
Give Periodic Breaks
One very common cause of low workplace morale is burnout. Simply put, most people can only work for so long without needing to recharge their batteries. If you have employees who haven’t had any significant vacations or time off in a long period of time, any unhappiness they’re exhibiting can possibly be lessened or relieved by allowing them to take some time off.
Paid vacation time will cost your business money on the front end due to the lost productivity, but that loss can oftentimes be more than made up for by the improved productivity and overall workplace morale boost it provides.
Work with Your Employees
It’s important to remember that while work is one of the most important aspects of your employees’ lives, it’s not the sum total of their lives. People oftentimes have a lot going on outside of work, with family and other pursuits and obligations being of great significance to them. Be attentive to your employees’ lives outside of work, and see if there are ways that you can make their working life mesh better with their out-of-work life.
This may mean allowing an employee to adjust their work schedule in order to accommodate out-of-work obligations. Perhaps you’re able to allow an employee to work from home on a particular day of the week to make it easier for them in some way. These kinds of gestures often times result in very little loss for the business and yield nice returns in workplace morale.
Carol Evenson is a business consultant specializing in process automation and employee wellness. She has worked with Fortune 1000 companies and currently assists organizations within the US and UK. Follow her on Twitter.
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