How to Make Your Work Environment Fun

Posted by Cathy Reilly

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Happy employees are loyal employees. In fact, when 2600 office workers in the United States and Canada were asked if they expected to change jobs in the next 12 months in the 2015 Staples Advantage report, 77 percent of very happy employees said no.

However, when unhappy employees were asked this very same question, 58 percent said they expected to change jobs.

These results clearly show that the happier employees are in their workplace, the more committed they are to the company they’re working for. If a work environment that makes employees happier will decrease employee turnover, what are you waiting for?

As you strategize to incorporate more fun into your work environment, keep in mind who your employees are and what they might respond most positively to. You want to appeal to the majority of your employees so these benefits can be enjoyed as widely as possible.

Here are five ways to make your office more fun:

1. Offer unique benefits.

There is so much more to benefits than health insurance, paid time off and retirement plans (those offerings are necessary and expected). Benefits come in all forms and can cost next to nothing in the grand scheme of keeping your employees happy and engaged.

As it turns out, quite the opposite is occurring in the workplace, according to the 74 percent of employees who said they get annoyed with work because of subpar benefits in the June 2014 BambooHR survey.

Explore ways to provide unique benefits to employees and keep them eager to enter the office each day. Benefits can be something to relieve stress like “Massage Mondays,” where a masseuse is available for ten minute massages one Monday a month. It can also be something as simple as having casual dress or “Sports Fridays” where employees are encouraged to wear something from their favorite sports team, or providing pizza or bagels once a week.

These fun little perks are underestimated in the workplace, but having fun at work will create a work environment that will be hard to leave. [click to tweet]

2. Allow employees to interact.

There was nothing worse in school than when you went to talk to a friend (even for help with a problem) and the teacher would quickly reprimand or separate you. Being able to communicate with peers and exchange ideas actually helps students in school. As we’ve grown older, not much has changed.

According to a November 2014 report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) that surveyed 600 United States employees, more than half of employees find teamwork within and between department units very important.

Allow colleagues to work together outside the boardroom and break room. If possible, create a cafe-like place within the office. That way, employees will have a relaxing and collaborative work environment to share ideas and build strong team relationships.

3. Get out and get social.

Your employees like collaborating and getting involved outside of work, too. In fact, 54 percent of employees who responded to the SHRM survey consider an organization’s commitment to corporate social responsibility important.

Create an annual event with your employees that’s unique to your company. It can be something as extreme as having a tough mudder for charity, where employees compete with one another while raising money (those that can’t compete can be on the “cheer team” or can help organize the event) to attending a charitable dinner together where proceeds help a local family or organization. Choose the cause with your employees to make it more significant to them.

Whatever the service or activity may be, these team outings will make your employees feel more connected and create a work environment that employees are proud to be a part of.

4. Take time to recess.

Completing task after task, hour after an hour not only exhausts employees, but they become less motivated as time drags on. When they have the chance to stretch their legs and escape from the stuffy cubicle to regroup and release built up tension, employees’ brains are rebooted and they’re energized when they come back from their breaks.

According to the Staples Advantage report, not only did 69 percent of staff say that working long hours decreases productivity, but 64 percent said that adequate breaks increase productivity. That is why your employees need to take recess.

Your company should not only give a reasonable amount of time for breaks, but employees should also have a space that actively promotes fun. Consider updating your break room for employees by adding a ping pong table or a magazine rack and some big, comfy arm chairs in the ‘kick off your shoes’ zone.

Adding stress-relieving activities in the break room will create a work environment that allows employees to cut loose every now and then, which is much better than for them to cut loose from your company.

What are other fun ways to keep employees engaged by having fun throughout the day?

Topics: Employee Retention

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