Creating a work environment where staffers feel welcome, respected and at-ease can help improve productivity and performance, increase morale and reduce turnover. Make your workplace a comfortable place to be by encouraging teamwork and adding a bit of levity to the workday.
Make sure staffers know each other by introducing new hires, temps and interns around the office and at all-staff meetings. Start group meetings with “get to know you” games or quizzes to lighten the mood, and encourage participation in company-wide events. Let employees know you appreciate them by having staff and peer recognition programs and events to acknowledge contributions and achievements.
Take meetings outside or to a new location once in awhile -- like a park or a mini golf course. Encourage themed dress days, celebrate holidays and special occasions and encourage staffers to decorate their work spaces in ways that reflect their personalities. Host outings and fun events, like a workplace movie hooky day, a popcorn machine in the break room or a company-paid pizza party.
Encourage staff members to work together, brainstorm and problem solve. Institute an open-door policy for mediating conflict and resolving workplace issues before they get out of hand. Provide staffers with all the resources they need to be successful and help them set realistic personal and professional goals. Offer professional development opportunities and mentoring programs to encourage longevity and give staffers a sense of pride in their jobs.
Provide Tension Release
Have an on-site workout room or quiet meditation lounge where staffers can go to take a break or relieve stress. Offer healthy snacks and beverages in your break room for workers to enjoy throughout the day. If feasible, offer flexible work scheduling, job-sharing or telecommuting so employees can maintain a positive work-life balance.
Celebrate individual, group and company successes as a way to express appreciation and promote staff bonding. For example, let staffers nominate colleagues for “above and beyond” teamwork initiatives and draw a name for a weekly coffeehouse gift card. Provide a paid personal day to the staffer who comes up with the most effective money-saving idea for their department, or host a weekend get-away for staffers and significant others if a major annual goal is reached.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.