A disengagement between business aims and the reality of employee experience could be damaging, especially in office environments where workers are fairly sedentary, sometimes performing repetitive tasks. The happiest workers in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics, are people who work outside; jobs that include agriculture, horticulture and farming were all within the top 10 jobs list in the satisfaction survey. So how could office employers show their employees that they care?
An army, as the saying goes, marches on its stomach. Providing quality food for employees could very well brighten up their day. Healthy breakfasts could help to kick-start productive mornings, and a communal dining area – even if it’s a simple staff room – could foster a team spirit and open up new routes of communication.
There are a number of benefit schemes that employers could considering entering into. Some, for example, include discount card schemes that can save employees a certain percentage in high street shops. These discounts could end up having a positive impact on your employees’ personal budgets, helping to build the sense of team spirit that can prove so important among co-workers.
Responsive office design
You could always ask your employees for suggestions on the layout of your office, and implement the ones you can. Obviously, health and safety regulations mean you’ll need to bear guidelines in mind, but you could well be surprised by the positive effects of a simple redesign, based on feedback from the people who actually work in the space full time.
Celebrate important dates
Whether it’s a small fund to buy cakes for employee birthdays, or the screening of an important football match or other sporting event, making your employees feel that work doesn’t exist on a separate plane from the rest of their lives could have a positive impact on their mood. You could discover that time you think will be lost on this kind of team building may actually be won back through increased productivity.
Allowing employees a little flexibility could end up inspiring more loyalty, and a desire to put in extra hours when necessary. A duvet day, for example – a simple concept allowing employees two or three days per year where they can take a day of annual leave, and only notify you on the morning in question. This system requires trust (for example, trusting staff not to take a duvet day at a time when they have looming deadlines), but it could certainly be appreciated by employees.
Duvet days could also go some way towards preventing workers from suffering burn out. With one in three employees sleeping significantly less than they should be, duvet days could provide a break when they need it, instead of having to arrange leave weeks in advance.
If you are in a position where you could nurture employees so that they want to work diligently for your company, you may find that their dedication and productivity improves along the way.