By Louis White 13 February 2018

Every boss wants to improve the productivity of their workforce, and employees want to work in great environments. Here are ten (nice) ways to get more out of your workers.

1. Food – Rather than providing convenient but possibly unhealthy snack machines, consider investing in fresh fruit placed in a communal dining area. Life is too short for instant coffee - why not give employees the opportunity to make good coffee, herbal teas or even on occasion have a chef or two cooking meals for everyone, depending on the size of the company?

2. Common space – Providing an area where everyone can get together to read, relax, eat, watch TV or just chat breaks down barriers and allows individuals to share ideas, impart knowledge and form new friendships. 

3. Natural light – Natural light improves productivity because it provides warmth, energy, vitamin D and a feel-good factor that will make employees happy to be there. 

4. Communicate effectively and efficiently – Nothing destroys an office environment quicker than gossip. Efficient communication of business decisions, via a combination of technology platforms and managers, will help employees feel more secure at work.

5. Flexibility and remote connectivity – These days businesses are expected to be agile. That goes for their workers, too. Employees are regularly out of the office, working in a range of locations including home, interstate, overseas, in airports, cafes and the like. The easier it is to connect and communicate with their colleagues the more efficient they will become. Up-to-date room booking and teleconferencing software will help enormously. 

Having common spaces where people can share business ideas can nourish new ways of tackling old or difficult tasks.

6. Keep the office clean, tidy and refreshed – There is nothing worse than an office environment with papers left everywhere and objects scattered on the floor. It is important to keep a tidy and safe work environment that employees will enjoy entering every morning. Consider ditching fixed desk locations and have employees store their personal effects in lockers so they can choose a new desk each day to work from. To brighten up a staid office, rethink the paint and add vitality with art.

7. Collaboration – Having common spaces where people can share business ideas, and where people who don’t normally sit together can work in groups, can nourish new ways of tackling old or difficult tasks. 

8. Reward and recognise employees – The more an employee feels needed and wanted, the more likely they are to work to their maximum capacity. Recognition comes not only in the form of gifts or days off, but actual words of praise that can lift someone’s self-esteem and make them feel valued for all their hard work. 

9. Fewer meetings, more work – It has been said that the person who loves a meeting also loves not having to take responsibility for something. Whether that’s true or not, it’s a good idea for organisations to ask regularly whether meetings are necessary. In particular, watch any tendency by meeting participants to delegate to a sub-committee that could flag an unjustifiable delay in decision-making. In order to reduce the number of meetings, it might be necessary to rethink responsibilities. It might be a step too far in some companies, but if individual employees are given more authority and accountability, it’s likely to lead to a smoother workflow and, ultimately, higher productivity. 

10. Training – Everyone likes to lift their knowledge quotient and keep up-to-date with the latest trends, research and technology to help them do their job better. The more a company trains employees in every aspect of their job, the better they will be at it. Employees will also feel valued, which will further boost their self-esteem. Ask employees to seek out what training they think they need, and work together to formulate a comprehensive training plan.

Boost employee morale - and bust that productivity slump

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