When business is “busy,” everyone’s jamming to get it done. Employees come in early, leave late, answer emails from home, even spend a weekend wrapping up a big project.
Busy days become busy weeks and months. Pretty soon, it’s all work and no play. Job burnout, disinterest and poor performance are just around the corner. And we all hear how important company culture is when employees are deciding whether or not to take a job…or stay at a job.
Maybe you can’t afford to provide perks like Google (unlimited gourmet food and snacks, rides to work, etc.) but you can still consider employee satisfaction by showing appreciation through an employee appreciation day and building office morale in small ways.
Of course, monetary remuneration is always appreciated but providing an experience vs. money may provide a longer-term reward.
It doesn’t take much to break up the grind and sprinkle a little fun in the mix.
Check out these ideas to boost office morale:
- Plan small trips to nearby attractions: an architectural landmark, a museum, the botanical garden –incorporate a “best of” photo or video contest or a treasure hunt complete with clues
- Sponsor your staff to compete in an industry softball league, compete in a 5K or a triathlon, or stake an ultimate frisbee team
- Invest in some exciting new office furniture such as an office phone booth that promotes a strong yet relaxed work attitude.
- Plan a holiday party that’s out of the ordinary: a cooking class, cupcake-decorating sugar-fest, craft brew tasting; make it a costume party or themed: best hat or worst holiday sweater, provide all the makings to create custom ornaments
- Volunteer as a group
- Have a true “break room” at work – bring in board games, a pinball machine, set up a video games, provide art supplies, paint walls with blackboard paint…think “Fun!” — if there’s room, include a ping-pong or pool table
- Provide treats for employees in the break room. Coffee is a necessity for many, so add a Coffee vending machine into the break room. You might also occasionally bring in some snacks and goodies for people to help themselves to. Nothing brings a smile to peoples’ faces like food.
- Celebrate every birthday – not a once-a-month group event but one that marks the employee’s special day
- Recognize staff achievements – both work and personal – in a weekly in-house newsletter, on a bulletin board or with a small banner created just for the occasion
- Institute Employee of the Month perks: free Starbucks for a month, front row parking place, weekly massages, gift certificates for services like hairstyling, dry cleaning or car detailing
- Calendar a weekly group breakfast or lunch – with guest entertainment like a singer, musician or motivational speaker
- Pass the party cart on Friday afternoons: drinks, snacks and desserts. Places like Office Monster offer catering services which you might want to utilize if you’re planning on supplying your employees with drinks and food during the day.
- Plan a monthly potluck – have a theme and everyone contributes
- Install a Fitdesk 2.0, treadmill desk and elliptical machine – allow 30-minute signups
- Provide, and pay for, professional development like online classes, trip to an industry event, a subscription to Udemy or Lynda.com
- Institute Costume Day – themes could be favorite movie, board game, best decade, favorite superhero
- Party like a 10-year-old: have a reptile party, a cookie-decorating day, frost cupcakes, make hand-made soap, provide craft supplies. Include small “party favors” that employees take home with them.
- Have a different kind of party: a scavenger hunt in your office building, a progressive lunch or dinner, hang a piñata that’s filled with “good” candy
- Have employees bring in something for “Show and Tell”
- Bring in a speaker, career counselor, presentation coach or well-known author
- Put on a weekend retreat with all the bells and whistles
- Change the office environment – rotate the artwork, bring in flowers, paint some walls, put up some motivational messages, create a blackboard wall
- Take employees on a mystery ride that ends up at a harbor cruise, picnic in the park or afternoon at the movies
- Give an award for “best decorated office”
- Start a book club
Acknowledge the value that good employees bring to your company. Create a Company Culture Committee and repay your staff with fun, recognition and appreciation. If having one person in charge is overwhelming, get everyone involved – create teams or have a recognition board that directs activities and recruits help.
When you boost office morale, you boost business.
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Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing and strategy expert. Using traditional and online marketing methods to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Let’s chat!