It has been over 2 years since Covid-19 emerged, and while many of us have adapted to the changes and turmoil of the pandemic, the truth is that it still affects us every day. The loss of loved ones, the “Great Resignation” and the general unknowns of this time can harbor an atmosphere of anxiety, even if we’ve grown to feel like this is the “new normal.”
2022 has been deemed the year to prioritize mental health, not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace. Most of us spend much of our time at our jobs and in an uncertain and scary world, the last thing needed is to feel uncomfortable at work. HJG Staffing has provided tips for practicing self-care and mindfulness at work, which provide us, as individuals, the power to control the things we can. However, today we want to explore 10 external actions that can be implemented by managers and team members to boost morale.
You’d be hard-pressed to find many people who don’t appreciate a nice snack or meal. Food is a universal treat, symbolizing comfort, basic human need, and happiness.
If your office or workplace already provides food, you can take this one step further by taking a survey of favorite snacks, flavors of coffee creamer or even allergy needs. If it’s within budget, this small act shows an extra level of care and consideration. If you can’t purchase everyone’s favorites at one time, rotate if possible.
If your office or workplace does not provide food or snacks, occasional treats or meals also do the trick! At HJG Staffing, our team attends lunch a few times each quarter. This lunch is not for business or work conversation; rather, it is our way of bonding and enjoying time together during the workday. Furthermore, our manager brings in treats, such as donuts, bundt cakes and more. These acts don’t go unnoticed and can completely shift the demeanor and motivation of a team.
IN-OFFICE FOOD IDEAS:
-Variety Chip Bags
-Teas, Coffees, Soda
2. Shareable Playlists: People bond over music, and there’s something magical about finding or re-discovering a song that motivates or evokes a certain emotion. Many music streaming platforms allow for multiple people to add to a playlist.
Creating a company music account is a fun way to collaborate as a team without being too serious. It allows team members to learn about each other and engage in a shared activity. HJG Staffing has created multiple playlists, including “Drive to Work” and “Mood Booster.” This is not only a team building activity, but these lists can be utilized by the public too.
Jenna, a financial consultant, works at a firm that shares a joint playlist. “We have a playlist called ‘Shameless Favorites,’ and it’s hilarious to see the songs my coworkers add. It’s a relaxed way to get to know each other and share laughs.”
Joining music platforms is usually free with an email. Check out HJG’s music account for ideas!
3. Compliments Box: A handful of us experienced an “anonymous box” in our childhood classrooms. This was used for submitting pieces of paper filled with suggestions or compliments. While it may seem juvenile, sometimes hearing a compliment or nice words can turn around a day.
You can buy a box online, or simply make one out of a shoebox or old gift box. Leaving slips of paper and pens nearby allows for team members to take the time to write nice words to each other, even if it’s something simple. James, a schoolteacher says, “We started a compliment box for the teachers at school. On a bad day, someone left a note for me saying, ‘Thank you, James for your constant positivity and uplifting energy. Your encouragement helps me be a better teacher.’” On this day, James’ rough day was lightened.
Notes can be anonymous as well. There are even virtual suggestion/compliment boxes if you prefer to be paperless.
4. Pets: To put it simply, pets and animals are the best. We might have pets as our screensaver or framed on our desk, but why not take this a step further? Setting up a bulletin board in the break room and displaying pet of the week or month is almost guaranteed to bring smiles to the workplace. This can include a photo and some facts about the pet.
Emails showcasing company pets can also be sent in a newsletter or email. Our animals deserve to be showcased and loved by all.
5. Encouraging Emails: For most of us with jobs including email, we’re used to receiving strictly business mail in our inboxes. On Employee Appreciation Day, our manager at HJG Staffing sent an email with specific messages to each member of our team. The personalized nature of each message made the gesture even more special.
Encouraging emails are not exclusive to managers and bosses. Coworkers can also send nice messages to one another as well. This is a similar action to the anonymous compliment box, and it only takes a few moments out of the day. Gratitude goes a long way. According to Psychology Today, “Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.” It is also shown to reduce depression. By implementing and practicing more gratitude to team members and coworkers, it is possible to create a more inclusive and motivational atmosphere.
6. Gift Cards: Monetary items may not always be within budget, but even $5 coffee gift cards are greatly appreciated. If giving everyone a gift card is not possible, conducting monthly or quarterly raffles to win a nice prize is an efficient way to build excitement and treat employees.
“At my job, we play fun and silly games like guessing how many jellybeans are in a jar. Whoever gets the closest wins a gift card for that quarter,” says Angela, an office coordinator. These types of activities are enjoyable and take minimal effort. They’re also voluntary and have the potential for a reward. “We all gather in the break room when they announce the winner. It has become a lighthearted competition and something we look forward to every quarter.”
Building morale does not necessarily mean spending large sums of money; rather, it can be as simple as creating games and low-risk activities with modest prizes.
7. Early Fridays: If possible, giving employees the option to leave early on Fridays can completely alter employee productivity and general mood. In 2019, the company Buffer tried an experiment of implementing half-days on Fridays. The results were mostly positive, with 86% of participants wanting to continue trying modified days. “The vast majority of those who participated – 91% – reported that they were able to do the same amount of work if not more during the experiment.”
This type of experiment can be conducted in small steps. It can be tried for one month, or it can be tried every other Friday for a designated amount of time. In fact, other countries are beginning to implement shorter work weeks, and many are finding that the benefits vastly outweigh the cons.
8. Outdoor Breaks: Going outside for fresh air is not only important for overall well-being but also for specific vital functions, such as sleep, mood, and mindfulness. For those who work indoors, it can be rare to step foot outside until the workday closes. Many people feel they must finish all their work before taking any type of break; however, if outdoor breaks are encouraged, people might feel more comfortable taking the allotted time to step outside and clear their minds.
“At my company,” Brian says, “We are encouraged to step outside for 25 minutes every day. It can be all at once or broken into segments. We send an email to everyone letting them know if we are stepping out.”
In fact, going outside is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. There are other countless benefits to spending time outdoors including receiving natural vitamin D and improving sleep patterns.
9. Stress Toys: Toys including stress balls, fidget spinners and thinking putty might seem silly at first, but ultimately serve as an effective strategy for stress reduction. In fact, many individuals find such objects mentally stimulating, providing a boost of creativity and idea stimulation.
When stressed or distracted, it can be quite difficult to focus attention on the task at hand. Having an outlet for that stress, such as squeezing a stress ball or rolling putty, can release that energy in a productive way. Providing a basket of such items encourages employees to release stress.
There are many bulk fidget and stress kits online, such as this one found here. Our favorite stress toy at HJG Staffing is our stress service dog.
10. Every Other Meetings: One of the most popular memes regarding work-life is the “This could have been an email” meme. This refers to the countless meetings that could have been summarized in a quick email.
While meetings can absolutely serve a purpose and be productive, sometimes they feel daunting and pointless, especially short ones. If possible, treat your team by reducing the number of normal meetings. This could look like meeting every other week opposed to weekly or making certain days meeting-free.
Another option could be clearing a day from group meetings but leaving the door open for individuals who might have questions or concerns.
Most people spend much of their life at their job. Work should not be a place where individuals feel added stress and discomfort, especially during unprecedented times. Utilizing these methods can boost morale and the overall well-being of each person in the workplace. This leads to better teamwork, better results, and an overall atmosphere of prosperity.