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10 Simple and Free Ways to Create a Happy Workplace and Make Your Employees Life Easier

10th of January

The holidays are drawing to a close and it’s “back to work” for most of the adult world. That doesn’t mean you and your employees have to spend the remainder of January in misery, though.

Your company’s employee retention rate is directly related to how happy your employees are in the work place. You probably don’t need to be reminded of how costly the recruitment process can be, and how much your production rate drops when you need to train new recruits.  

This is only one of the many reasons you should want to keep your employees happy. Another great motivator for ensuring your employees are happy is the fact that happy, loyal employees produce the best work and the best results for your company.

Keeping your employees happy in the work place can be easier than you think. We’ve put together a list of ten things you can do to create a happy working environment and keep your employees happy.

1. Streamline your office space

Even if you are working with limited space it is worthwhile to invest some time and effort into your office.  Most employees work best in an open environment where they can communicate easily and move around freely. Teams who work together should be seated near each other. If your staff work from laptops it can even be beneficial to have work stations where anyone can sit anywhere.

This is especially helpful if teams change up on different projects. If you do have an open office plan you still need quite areas and meeting areas. Quite areas where your creatives can go to focus and meeting areas where your teams can brainstorm and plan.

2. Background noise

Nothing kills productivity and office environment like deathly silence. While too much noise can be distracting, it is a good idea to have some background noise to prevent stagnant silence. A radio can be distracting with all of the adverts and talking, but music is a good idea. There are a number of sites online where you can stream music specifically for work environments.

If you’re working with a small enough team, you can also put it up for discussion and come to a consensus or give different people a different time slot every day to choose the music. If playing music on an open system isn’t possible, you should allow employees to wear headphones and stream their music during long hours where of production.

3. Encourage social co-workers

Work life is easier when you get along with the people you work with. Encourage your employees to get to know each other in their daily environment by creating a social area. A kitchen space where people can sit and eat, make coffee and warm up their lunch is a good place to start. You should also start your weekly meetings asking your employees for the highlight and lowlight of their weekends and set an example by taking an interest in the lives of the people who work for you.

4. Encourage managers to say “hi” and show they care

Managers have to set the example for good working relationships by showing that they themselves care about the people in their teams. Your managers need to stop and say “Hi” and take the time to find out about the people in their teams. They should know not only about the career goals of each person in their team, but also a little about what is going on in their personal lives, so that they will feel valued.

5. Give constructive feedback

You don’t have to tell your employees that their work is brilliant to get the most out of them. In fact, it is essential to your business to give feedback that is constructive and which helps people to better understand what is expected of them and how to achieve it. If you don’t have the skills and knowledge to help them improve then you should help them find resources that do.

Take the time to find free resources to help your employees, or better yet, give them an allocated time every week to work on themselves and upskill making use of work internet and resources.

6. Encourage internal mentorships

If you have multiple skill levels on your team you should encourage your senior members to mentor your juniors. Set measurable goals for the juniors to achieve (within a set timeframe) with the help of the seniors and make it part of KPI’s (Key performance indicators) for both parties.

A mentor not only helps your less experienced team members to improve, it also gives them a sense of job satisfaction and they are more likely to stay in the job.

7. Implement a training program

Mentorships are not the only way to add value to your employees' work experience and help them improve. You can also implement training programs for your staff. These can be run in groups for better productivity. Make sure your employees and those running the program give feedback to help you ensure you’re providing good training.

8. Brainstorming sessions

Good communication is essential to any team, but stuffy meetings are not the only way to communicate in person. A brainstorming session should allow everyone to have a chance to express ideas and add value. It can be a good idea to hold brainstorming sessions in a different location to where you usually meet.

Take the team for a walk around the block or down to a coffee shop. Make sure your quieter staff members aren’t drowned out or interrupted. Some of our best ideas are achieved when we bounce them off each other. Write minutes on any action points or decisions that get made.

9. Have a central task status board

Whether it is a real board (like a huge whiteboard on the wall) or a Trello board that your entire team has access to, having a central task status board can be hugely beneficial. It allows employees to double check what they are responsible for, to see at a glance who on the team they need to contact for information or resources they may need, and what the next steps are.

It makes it easier to communicate around tasks and gives everyone a central reference point. While you should definitely appoint someone on senior management to be in charge of the board and its regular updates (a traffic manager) you should also allow employees to update tasks that they are working on.

With poor communication being the number one cause for poor working environments and productivity loss, it makes sense to use any free and easy means to improve it.

10. Enable flexible work hours

If it is possible for your team to complete their tasks remotely you should encourage staff to take time to work from home. This works if you have time-based projects and a staff who you can rely on to get the job done within the allotted time frame.

It’s also a good way to reward hard working staff and show them that you trust and appreciate their work ethic. Provided your meetings and central information board is run effectively, it shouldn’t be too difficult for employees to be able to work from home.

Your employees are often more likely to be productive, creative and efficient if they know that meeting deadlines with quality work allows them to have flexibility in their hours and to occasionally work from afar.

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