Most of us want to be happy, but there are so many tasks that need to be taken care of, so much work that needs to be done, deadlines to meet, emails to read, meetings to attend, errands to run, housework to do… The list is endless and time is limited, so even if you find a way to manage it all, are you happy in between all this?
Not only are you likely to see more smiling faces at work, but it has also been proven to positively affect overall productivity, employee motivation, and company culture.
1. Add a Game Room
Companies have realized the need to prevent employee burnout and provide a little fun in the workplace. To make work more enjoyable, many offices have opted for an area where employees can relax or even play games during their break.
Breaks are important, not only for the employees’ well-being, but happier employees are generally better for productivity and efficiency.
This area can include a pool table, arcade games, chess table, foosball, video games, and even a mini-golf course for offices with greater capacities.
It’s a place where employees can build relationships, break the ice, discuss work topics in a low-pressure environment, and add a little positive competition to make things interesting.
Instead of having occasional or one-time team-building events, coworkers are able to create and build friendly bonds on a daily basis.
While many offices encourage employees to restrict fun to after business hours, companies that have recognized the need for fun during work hours are attracting and retaining great talent.
A work culture that encourages fun and play among the staff is more likely to develop a stronger team bond and encourage employees to stay for the long haul.
2. Make the Décor Intentional
If you’ve worked in a few places in your career, you’ve likely had at least one ugly office that was either old, sterile, cramped with paper, or just completely and utterly boring.
Humans are visual creatures and our surroundings affect the way we feel and how efficiently we work.
If you work in a very simple and minimalistic office, you might feel calm and organized, but miss inspiration and character.
On the other hand, working in a cluttered space may agitate you and decrease your productivity.
When thinking about the right décor for the office space, think about your brand, the company culture you want, and the needs and preferences of your staff.
Always try to inspire employees with as much natural light as possible, comfortable chairs, and sufficient storage to prevent paper chaos.
Bring in some nature by adding plants to the office. Plants clean the air, reduce stress and noise levels, and make an office feel more homey and serene.
3. Decorate for Different Holidays
The traditional holiday season is a great time to bring the office together and celebrate with games, small gifts, an office party, and holiday decorations.
However, any holiday brings opportunities for small team-building activities, extra fun in the office, and new decorations to put up on the walls.
A party planning committee can organize the main activities (every team has at least a few holiday enthusiasts).
This brings new energy to the team, makes employees hyped about going to work, and changes the inevitable repetitiveness of the usual daily life.
If you want to take the holiday theme to a higher level, rent a photo booth, watch a movie that matches that holiday’s theme together, or organize an arts and crafts contest.
Holidays are a great time to thank employees for their hard work and promote the company brand by giving out logo T-shirts, mugs, umbrellas, calendars, or planners.
4. Get an Office Dog
This may sound a little extreme, and making this decision would require some deep consideration.
But if you decide to add a canine “coworker” to your office, you would be pleasantly surprised by the boost in productivity and communication in the office.
Petting a dog releases endorphins and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. This can help curb anxiety in the workplace, promote better friendships among colleagues, and increase trust.
When there’s always a loyal friend in the office, people feel more at home. And when the workday gets a bit rough, a dog can help alleviate pressure and boost morale.
5. Host a Happy Hour (or Go Out for One)
While boundaries need to be set in every workplace, a little bending of the rules can go a long way. Having a beer or a gin and tonic at work would feel special mostly because our brains are programmed that this is not something to be done at work.
That’s why, during meetings at the end of the day or the week, some teams decide to discuss work over a drink or two.
People tend to be more relaxed and socialize better when they’ve had a drink, and by allowing this at work, you show your staff that you trust them to consume and behave responsibly.
To make employees feel even more excited about a happy hour, make it a casual — or even formal — Friday, where everyone wears either comfortable or fancy clothes.
This team-building activity may need some trial and error to see if it’s the right event for your group and that nobody gets offended.
6. Get Moving
A healthy team is a productive team, so organizing activities that encourage people to get out of their chairs and burn some calories is a wonderful way to raise spirits in the office and naturally increase their serotonin levels.
Gym membership statistics show people abandoned the treadmill in droves during the pandemic, and only 53% of adults over the age of 18 met the Physical Activity Guidelines set out by the CDC.
By organizing corporate exercise sessions, you are promoting their physical and mental health while letting them bond over some sweat.
Plan a quick morning yoga session or stretch, take a morning walk, or enroll the team in a weekly fitness class.
If you want to increase competitiveness along with morale, create a common goal like a mutual step count or calories burned, and separate employees into two or more teams to compete against each other.
This is a great way to help team members that might not exercise regularly, as it’s a social activity.
To make exercise more attractive, choose a workout that suits most and is free of charge.
7. Play Music in the Office
Music tends to make everything better, and it connects people that listen to the same tunes.
Encourage the team to contribute to an office playlist and change up the tunes regularly, that way the varying musical tastes in the office are accommodated.
If your team works remotely or you have a hybrid team, everyone can add to the list from a computer or smartphone and share the playlist with the team.
Remote work is here to stay, and 90% of remote workers surveyed by Github are satisfied with existing communication tools in their organization. So you can use those tools to share music in addition to its more traditional uses.
Research suggests that some people concentrate better with background music, while others cannot hear their own thoughts when distracted by a melody.
See what works best for your team, and if they prefer a less noisy room, save the newest hits for the Friday happy hour or the workout session.
8. Go Out Together
This is an old but gold team-building experience.
Getting drinks after work with colleagues, having an informal dinner, attending a festival, or visiting a park or the local botanical garden can be effective ways to socialize and get to know your team members better.
Friendships formed outside of work hours can greatly contribute to good collaborations at work.
If you prefer a day outing, plan a picnic or a short hiking trip with the staff to unwind and get more personal with the people you share an office with.
9. Celebrate Small Victories
People like to set and achieve goals to quantify their efforts and see progress in whatever they’re doing.
Make team members feel appreciated even when they achieve small wins or hit short-term targets and let them know you care.
Many managers tend to normalize hard work and only bring up work quality when things go wrong. This demotivates employees and makes them feel undervalued.
Research shows unhappy workers cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion annually. However, employees who feel appreciated at their place of work are likely to have higher job satisfaction and work harder.
Celebrate work anniversaries and mutual achievements, as well as individual victories, staff birthdays, engagements, marriages, new babies, and so on.
We are people with feelings and personal lives, so pay attention to things that are meaningful to each employee.
10. Eat Together
Many work teams make a habit of eating lunch together, and this is not accidental.
From ancient times, people have socialized over meals. It makes them feel more like a group or even a family.
Be creative to bring fun to the table. Set days on the calendar where anyone who wants to participate orders take-out, brings something for a potluck lunch or gathers for a family-style meal.