While the Holiday Season is a happy one for many, it can also be a trigger for depression that effects many individuals. Compound that with the typical “letdown” many people feel when they have to return to work after New Year’s and the workplace can suddenly feel quite depressing. Not only is that a dangerous mental health scenario, it’s also a drain on the productivity of your employees.
Study after study shows that a happy workplace-that is, a workplace that goes out of its way to foster happiness-creates a more productive environment. Employees that are happy enjoy better health, are more creative and overall, enjoy more success. Plus, happiness is contagious, rubbing off on co-workers.
No Better Time to Start Fresh
If you want your employees to be happier, healthier and more productive, the answer is simple: create a work environment that fosters happiness. From the management to the employees, everyone can do their part to make the workplace a happier, less stressful place for all involved. Here are five great ways that you can begin to implement and sustain a better, more productive work environment:
1. Broaden Your Guidelines. When you task employees with a project, give them some more room to operate within. In other words, don’t just have them follow the line from point A to point B if possible-open it up to say, “I need you to get from A to Z but the letters in between are all up to you as long as they flow alphabetically.” Opening up the guidelines lets them pour more of their creativity into the project, not only getting you better, more unique results, but also getting the employee more involved. Not only will this make your employees happier during work, but it will also show that you trust them, making them more confident and willing to put more effort and quality into their work.
2. Show Them They Matter. Do your employees know that they matter? Sure, they might hand in their reports and finish projects on time and that gets them rewarded with a paycheck at the end of the week, but what other differences are they making? Let them know. For example, if an exceptional job is done landing an account, gather the team and let them know that their work created X amount of jobs and will feed X amount of children.
3. Make Praise a Regular thing. From a simple thank you to a more elaborate and detailed praise, make sure you are letting your employees know how you feel about the job they are doing on a regular basis. Single out exemplary advancements in front of the whole office, but make sure you ask the employee if that’s okay first. This will make them feel special and happy on two different levels: between you and the employee and then between the employee and their co-workers. Make it your policy to show appreciation and when it comes time to go the extra mile, your employees will do the same for you.
4. Discover and Cultivate Strengths. Different employees have different strengths, many that you-or even they-don’t know about. Try to get to know these strengths by asking about what they like to do, where they feel they excel, what their hobbies are, etc. You can even ask if there are unique ways that they feel they can contribute. Do this during one on one sit downs and then find ways to utilize these strengths for more productivity as well as happier employees.
5. Put Up a Suggestion Box. While it doesn’t have to be the old-school physical box (you can have an online account set up on many sites where people can send in suggestions anonymously) you should be getting to know the problems around the office. While you won’t be able to address all of them, you might be surprised to see how easy a few fixes will be. These are likely aspects of the workplace that you don’t experience from your position, but can easily make people happy and show them you’re listening. Maybe a garbage can is needed in a specific spot. Another drinking fountain, a vending machine, getting rid of some overhand in the parking lot where birds are perching dirtying cars-tackle the low-hanging fruit and try to appeal to the problems the majority are complaining about.
As you can see, even the smallest changes can have ripple effects on your overall productivity. So be sure to ring in the New Year with some positive changes around your workplace that will make your employees happier and more productive. For more incredibly easy ideas on how to make your worksite a place that fosters a good work environment.