Sometimes the most effective ways to create a happy workplace really are the easiest. While large-scale programs for engagement and motivation have their place, it is also important to pay attention to the details of day-to-day office life. Here are some strategies that any talent management professional can implement:
1. Keep a clean kitchen. The office kitchen or kitchenette can be the source of a surprising amount of workplace tension. From dirty dishes in the sink to confusion over whose responsibility it is to make coffee, the office kitchen elicits plenty of grumbling. Human resources professionals certainly don’t have the time to become a cleaning crew, but they can ensure workers understand how important it is to have an orderly space for food preparation. It may also be a good idea to divide the responsibility for making tea or coffee among several people across departments, rather than relying on the most subordinate employee at the firm to complete the task several times a day.
2. Encourage sunny attitudes. It’s not necessary or realistic to ask employees to be happy all the time, or to express unbridled enthusiasm over comparatively small matters. However, encouraging them to take the time to tell one another please and thank you, have a quick friendly chat in the kitchen and smile once in a while can make a huge difference in workplace morale. Workers may well find an initiative for more cordial behavior a bit silly at first, but talent management professionals should encourage them to try it. Coming in to the office to see a sea of gloomy faces does workers no favors, and the change to a happier place of work can do wonders.
3. Allow some personalization. Even in open-plan offices, there is room for workers to create space that suits them. Letting people do what they like as long as it doesn’t interfere with colleagues’ space and attention can be a good experiment to try. This can lead to an office with some interesting lighting, sentimental photos and plants, giving the office a little bit of atmosphere. Research shows plants can increase productivity, as can small touches like using lavender oil at work for relaxation, according to The Undercover Recruiter. Workers may find themselves drawn more to one method than another, so talent management professionals should encourage the use of any personal touches that help without being distracting.