Office morale is a term that has been bandied about of late. So what does it really mean? Basically it refers to the state of energy and excitement generated in the work environment. We all know that the more pleasure we feel in coming to the office each day, the more prolific we will be. But all things being equal, unless morale building is actively pursued, the hours spent at our desks become boring and uneventful and eventually we start staring at the computer screen bleary eyed. Satisfaction starts to drop, motivation wanes and productivity begins to spiral downward.
There are several indications that office morale is worming its way among the staff. These include fewer interactions and reduced cooperation among the team members, fewer employee initiatives and negative attitudes towards management or fellow workers. A high rate of turnover is certainly another warning of office dissatisfaction.
Preventing low morale from taking over is crucial and it is wise to nip the problem in the bud. Thisreally isn’t very difficult to deal with and it is mostly up to the owner of the company or the office manager to take responsibility for putting creative ideas into action.
Appreciation and Recognition
The most obviousmethod of boosting office morale is to show employee appreciation for a job well down. Whether it is an individual worker or a group of workers, warm congratulations and public recognition can go a long way in elevating team motivation. A warm ‘thank you’ is always valued.
Equally important is for you to actually “hear” what each team member has to say. Employee engagement is often ignored but knowing that their voices are heard can keep workers from becoming disgruntled and dissatisfied. While you’re at it, how about a weekly ‘huddle’ or ‘mash up’ where workers can say what’s on their mind without feeling that their jobs are on the line?
Fun and A Break in Routine
Since morale is the first thing to go when the hours spent in the office on a daily basis become boring and routine, introducing different ways to change things around can provide a break in the monotony of the work environment. Subtle changes such as a switch in lunch hour, a new painting on the wall or even a Monday morning come-in-late schedule will wake up even the sleepiest worker.
Injecting a little bit of fun into the day also works to break up office routine and keeps workers happy. You may not have a spare room that can accommodate a dart board or a ping pong table but that shouldn’t stop you from bringing in a yoga instructor for an hour of mental relaxation or even a massage therapist who can knead out those stiff shoulder muscles.
These few minutes of ‘free time’ can improve productivity for hours and are well worth the cost in terms of a lost work minutes.
A bit of friendly competition among workers is another way to boost morale. Dividing up the workers into teams to work on a particular project and offering a generous prize to the winners can certainly instill a sense of office spirit and motivation into the work atmosphere
How about allowing for a short nap after lunch? In Japan, it has become culturally accepted for all workers to put their heads down on their desks for a 15 minute break (inemuri). These 40 winks are considered rejuvenating and often very necessary in order to maintain a high level of office productivity.
At the end of the day, if you want your workers to have a positive attitude, you must have one yourself. Negativity is contagious and the team takes its cues from you. Reduce the complaints and use a low-key, accepting outlook and your group will follow suit. Oh, and of course—keep smiling.