Fun on the job

Are you at your wits end wondering how to motivate your employees? Implementing some of these ideas might rouse your team and help them do a better job

Forbes’ magazine in their recent article, have stated that ‘no fun’ in the workplace is one of the six reasons why your best employees might quit. If you work in a lacklustre office without any kind of fun activities that engage employees in a non-professional way, you will soon find that your employees get increasingly dissatisfied with the environment.

Most often companies pay high salaries to ensure that their star players don’t leave them, but what they don’t realise is that more money is just a temporary distraction and many employees don’t stay longer even if you do give them a raise. Internal evaluation as well the exit interviews conducted in organisations with high attrition rates show that offices with good work culture go a long way in keeping their employees happy. Needless to say, a happy workforce has an increased productivity, which is what most managers aim for.

So what can you as a manager do to ensure that people enjoy working for you and continue to give you their best? You need to keep in mind that these people spend a major part of their day working for you; so you need to create an environment that keeps them satisfied. Let’s look at some simple things you could easily adopt in your workplace to make sure your employees stay motivated:

Awards

Most companies have an annual award distribution, if not monthly or quarterly. Change the name of the award from the boring ‘Employee of the Year/Quarter/Month’ to something that would mean more in your business context and recognises the person’s individual skills. Also you could have an award ceremony for members of the team to promote their soft-skills like their friendliness, innovation, dependability, etc. However, ensure that the names of the awards do not hurt sentiments.

Soul satisfying work

Tie up with an NGO in your area and give your employees the chance to work for the community. But when you schedule something like this, make sure that you do not take away a holiday from your employees as it is the only time they get to spend with the families. Many of your employees might already be working with NGOs and organisations, so give them a space where they can discuss their experiences like on an internal blog or a bulletin board where they can put up pictures or share anecdotes. If you have a CSR initiative in place and an employee does something commendable, put them on a pedestal instead of letting the management take all the credit. This would boost the morale of your employees like nothing else will.

Potluck lunch

Set aside one day of the month where the management as well as the employees meets for lunch. Potluck lunches are a way for people to learn about the customs of their colleagues through their food. You as a manager need to take care that this doesn’t turn into another boring meeting. So initiate conversations if the need arises, since the employees might find it awkward to discuss unofficial things when the boss is around. Plan the lunch on a day when your employees are not tied up with meetings and deadlines, so they are not in a rush to get back to their work. Also plan some activities to do during this time.

Silly games

Conduct games like balloon bursting, bingo, or sessions where your staff could bellow songs or do other fun activities. These ridiculous games are good as they get people laughing more. The general air in the office tends to improve and the employees feel refreshed, especially if such sessions are conducted in the middle of a normal working day.

Creative contests

These bring out the artist in your employee. Since all your employees may not be good at the same thing, there is no point in conducting a swimming contest when there are fishes as well as cows present. Pick something that more people would be able to attempt. You could probably pick a theme and ask them to use that as a basis and do something that they like. For example, you could pick a particular festival as the theme, so the poet can write, the artist can draw, whereas the caricaturist can do a sketch and the actor can perform—all on the same theme.

Decorate workstations

A happy and cheerful workplace that has their favourite quotes, their favourite pictures and artwork by their children would make your employee combat stress better. Is there a better stress buster than the smiling faces of your children? Encourage people to personalise their workstations as best as they can.

Family gathering

Once a year invite the family members of all your employees to the office or conduct a family picnic. Get the families of employees to get to know and befriend each other. This might seem trivial, but it brings relief to the family to know what kind of people their family member spends most of their day with. When people bond at these events it helps the families know that there is a colleague or manager looking out for their loved one.

Group therapy

Conduct fun exercises and activities that lighten up the mood in the office and get your people to come together and mingle with each other. Sessions of laughter yoga have been proven to reduce the stress in individuals and also make people loosen up to their surroundings. People adapt better when they know they can loosen up and be themselves. Make sure to appreciate individuality in your people and never criticise people for the way they are unless it has a direct impact on their productivity.

Besides activities, there are things like one-on-one time, listening to their problems and coming up with solutions, getting them cake and some snacks to celebrate their birthday or asking about their family, all these little gestures show that you care about them.

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