You’ve all heard of the saying “you are the product of your environment” right? Being around people and environments that are positive and healthy can be a good thing for overall well being as well as increase cognitive processing and productivity. However, in many cases environments that are driven by stress and occasional negativity can be detrimental and cause issues, especially within high pressure environments such as the workplace. There are countless professionals that have previously documented the benefits of creating a fun, laid back yet professionally functioning working environment for employees. Many work environments seem to overlook opportunities to increase the productivity of employees, team cohesion and overall morale during work hours.
At MLK Marketing, we recognise the importance of creating a positive and fun workplace for our employees and continually strive to achieve a well balanced environment. It is very important to acknowledge that although every member of the working team is there to execute their roles to the highest standard, everyone is a unique individual. This means that employees who have a great time at work tend to be more committed to their job, loyal to the business and share a genuine interest in serving the company to the best of their abilities.
Many business owners, or the general population mistakenly identify professionalism as something that calls for someone to be stern and serious. This is a common misconception that is carried over to several workplaces, making them drab and uninviting in many instances. There are many reasons as to why it is extremely important to ensure your working environment is fun and positive including making employees feel good. When employees feel happy and content in their working roles, they are much more likely to become optimistic about reaching common goals within the business.
Having a monotone work style can also lead to boredom and daydreaming about what they are going to eat for dinner, or what they should buy their friend for their birthday. What does this mean for business owners? Decreased productivity and uninterested employees. How do we increase employee engagement, fun and positivity in the workplace? MLK Marketing shares some of their methods.
Each Workspace Needs To Be Unique To The Employee.
Like we said, each employee is a unique individual. This means that each employee has a way to express their personalities in vastly varied ways. Allowing for personalisation in any given area that the employee spends most time in is a great way to let them immerse themselves in their own personal taste and interests. Instead of looking at a blank wall, an empty desk or a dull setting, give employees the opportunity to bring items to work in order to decorate their workspace to their desires. However, it is also important to set boundaries of what is allowed to ensure that other employees to not get offended or intimidated. After all, the working environment is a shared area meaning that in order to create a functioning and harmonious workplace, everyone needs to be reasonable in the personalisation choices and decorating. By doing so, employees can essentially create a “second home” for themselves, making them more likely to work at ease, in comfort and without any added stress. Some examples from around our offices include family pictures, amusing posters that are both humorous and motivational, incense and other household items.
Make Common Areas Fun To Ease Stressful Situations.
There can be countless situations during work hours that can give rise to high levels of stress. Most of the time when the whole team comes together, a great place to discuss matters and plan procedures is the meeting room. In areas where there is a much higher likelihood of stress and negativity, it is especially important to make an effort to create an environment that can reduce employees to feel uncomfortable, which often leads to decreased problem solving and productivity. No one wants that. So what can you do to make the meeting room more inviting, laid back and optimistic?
One way is to put up some fun signs on the walls that will help to ease any tension that may be present. Who can feel uncomfortable in the presence of a funny picture of an animal on the wall? Finding the positivity and humour in any situation is of key importance when it comes to creating a fun work environment. It is crucial to remember that problems and situations can still get solved without the need to bring negativity, stress and other unhelpful factors into the matter. Another example includes having a basketball hoop mounted on a wall, where each employee can have a go at shooting a mini basketball into the hoop after they make a helpful contribution during the meeting.
Have a team of employees who love music? In many instances, creating a laid back and less stressful environment can be achieved through playing music. However, when we say music, by no means are we referring to the latest club mixes played at full volume. The aim here is to increase productivity and focus, not to take it away! Soft background music that everyone can enjoy is a great way to find a happy medium. To increase employee engagement, ask each employee to write down 3 of their favourite songs and compile a playlist to be played during meetings.
Ensure Break Rooms Actually Feel Like A Break Room.
It’s called a break room for a reason. Employees need to take a break to recharge their batteries in order to think of new solutions more effectively and efficiently, as well as avoid burn out. If employees are spending a large chunk of their working day at their desk, then throw in a few bean bags for them to lounge on and relax for the time being. Televisions mounted on the wall are also a great way to take their mind off work during a well deserved break. Watching a bit of television whilst enjoying some lunch can help to drastically elevate mood and elicit feelings of positivity upon returning to their desk.
Having a coffee machine where employees can make their own coffee is a great way to create a home like space, especially when employees have coffee mugs or cups that are personalised with their names and job roles. It is these little touches that can make employees feel much more appreciated and acknowledged as an important part of the team. It is also a great idea to place a large whiteboard in the break room that can be used for random drawings, inspirational and motivational quotes as well as an opportunity to write down funny and appropriate jokes or riddles. This can really make employees feel much better while they are at work and create a fun and humorous environment that can do wonders for productivity and employee morale. Break time should be an opportunity for employees to relax, have fun and socialise without having to be reminded about work.
Spread The Word And Reward When Something Positive Happens.
Positive and helpful actions from one employee to another should never go unnoticed. This is a great way to acknowledge kind deeds that one employee does for another and can create an ongoing effect. When employees feel as though they are appreciated by their colleagues, a tight knit and cohesive team is more likely to be created. Strengthening the bond between your employees is critical to produce high levels of work, keep employees around for a much longer time and encourage team work.
Introduce an employee recognition program during a common meeting, outlining that this program aims to highlight positive actions between employees. A solid structure to go by is to ask employees to nominate one employee they feel has helped them in any way during work hours and write a small note of appreciation and place it in a box each week. Some examples of positive and kind actions could include an employee helping out another employee by providing information when they did not know an answer for something, going out of their way to teach a concept to familiarise new employees, acknowledging the efforts on a project, praising work, carrying office items to and from work spaces, and so on.
Once each employee has nominated for the week, whoever is drawn out of the box as the nominee is the winner of a small prize. It is a great idea to have a combination of both titles and awards for being a positive influence and contributor to the working environment. Some examples can be buying lunch for the winning employee, gift vouchers, providing a certificate of appreciation or even having their picture taken and placed along the “hall of fame” as a constant reminder that being helpful and positive in the workplace is appreciated and goes a long way.
Increasing the positive vibes in a workplace is a great way to motivate your staff and ensure that they are happy in their jobs. In today’s society, high staff turnover rates are a common occurrence and are usually caused by unhappy employees that do not feel content in their role or amongst their team members. It is important to remember that keeping an upbeat working environment is paramount to maximise productivity, motivation and increase the overall level of fun within the workplace.