Apple pie, pumpkin spice lattes, corn mazes, and apple picking all create the ambiance of fall which can only mean one thing: the holidays are fast approaching. The time of year when we stop and reflect on what is most important. We take the time to remember all we are thankful for and the small blessings in our lives that we typically take for granted: family, friends, food in our mouths and roofs over our heads. Sadly, the thing that we do five days a week rarely receives a mention. We may be thankful for the money in our bank account, but the work that puts it there rarely brings us enough joy to make it to our gratitude list.
A new study showed that 36% of employees would trade $5,000 in salary to be happier at work.
In fact, 64% of Millennials would be happier making $40K a year at a job they enjoy, rather than making $100K a year at job they find uninteresting. Sadly, over 88% of employees don’t have a passion for the work they are doing – exhausted, unengaged. Unengaged employees don’t work as hard, have less motivation to excel and are less likely to stay in their jobs for long periods of time. When employees are engaged in their job, they are enthusiastic, inspired, confident, empowered and probably even thankful.
So, in the spirit of furthering engagement and productivity, we’ve put together some suggestions and resources for fostering workplace gratitude and office environments that employees include in their list of gratitudes.
Even before employees walk into a space, you can create an environment that facilitates a positive energy. Start with making your office workstations, comfortable, creative and colorful. Thoughtful design and intentional branding can put employees at ease, encouraging them to want to come to work and spend time there. Here are a few places to start:
Add some color to create purposeful energies in different spaces. For example adding red to a room promotes energy, warmth and strength. Blue is associated with safe communication and trust. While yellow allows for emotion, optimism and confidence. And green allows for balance, rest and peace. Use these different colors throughout the office to promote varying moods in office workstations.
Regulate the temperature, and pay attention to how people are responding to it. Make it cool enough where people aren’t falling asleep, but not so cold that they can’t focus.
- Natural Lighting
Many studies show that having natural light exposure throughout the day improves quality of life. Employees sleep better at night and as a result are more productive during the day.
- Office Workstation Alternatives
Find a balance between space for alone time and places where minds can meet, intentionally and by chance. Both types cultivate productivity and collaboration.
Plants are an inexpensive and quick way to improve your office workstations. They are proven to lower levels of anxiety, raise job satisfaction and improve overall well-being.
- Physical Comfortability
Obviously, for workers that are sitting for 40 hours a week, investing in comfortable office furniture is a no brainer. Ergonomic office chairs and sit-stand tables are the wave of the future.
Set your team up for success by having the necessary equipment, office furniture, and tools for a productive and fun work environment. Keep things organized, get feedback, and make accommodations to create an workplace that works together.
If you can, give employees ownership of their space. Allow them to choose a standing or sitting desk, if they want to be sitting close to their team or in a more excluded space. Allow them to make their space comfortable for themselves and help them identify their own needs and desires within the workspace.
This goes beyond counting file cabinets and server space. Make available organizational tools that allow employees to create workspaces conducive to focus. Avoid clutter by creating consistent systems within your work stations.
An information system has 5 parts – hardware, software, people, procedures, and data. Leverage devices and platforms with established processes to mitigate the ambiguity from humans and data.
Creating a relational workspace is the hardest part of cultivating a healthy work environment. It is much more difficult than decorating the space, arranging cubicles or purchasing the right office furniture. The process demands a larger amount of time and intentionality.
- Create a Culture of Feedback
Employees are actually twice as likely to be unengaged if they feel like their managers are ignoring them. Statistics show that people perform better and more confidently when they have clear expectations and know how they are doing. 43% of highly engaged employees get feedback from their managers every week. Make sure you are leaving space to hear from your employees, ask how they like working there, ask to know how you can improve, and let them know how they are doing. Over 65% of employees say they want more feedback, so don’t be shy.
- Team Building
Take time to build the team together. Help them get to know each other, create trust and comfortability. Team building activity allows bonds to form, but it also helps teams learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses while building genuine friendships.
- Break & Exercise
Give your team time off, encourage them to take breaks throughout the day. Studies have proven that employees are significantly more productive when they take time off at night and take breaks throughout the day.
A culture of workplace gratitude begins with people fulfilled by both their work and the place(s) it occurs.
Hopefully, some of these ideas will get you inspired to help create office spaces your employees will love being a part of. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their counterparts and companies with those engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Want to cultivate a workspace your employees will be thankful for?