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Proven Ways to Boost Office Morale: ResumeBear

Proven Ways to Boost Office Morale: ResumeBear

With the economy picking back up, it’s only a matter of time before job turnover also starts speeding up again. Unsatisfied workers will begin looking for a better job environment and if your office morale is lacking, your company could be the one losing team members. But making some tweaks to your office and work culture can turn the tables and make yours the company that people are dying to work for. Try these techniques for boosting office morale and see your employees’ satisfaction soar.

Get a dog

Not every work environment may be suitable to have dogs running around, but research has shown that dogs in the office can help boost the morale and improve work relationships. Whether it’s one office dog or many dogs brought by the employees who own them, the furry co-workers somehow build trust between employees and encourage collaboration. If you allow workers to bring their own dogs from home, it also keeps them from wanting to leave work right at 5 to get home to their pet.

Allow browsing

In 2011, employees everywhere got great news: there is now scientific evidence that says they should be able to browse the Internet at work. Now, we’re not talking going to any sites you’d be ashamed to show your wife, but in general, if you let employees use their short moments of downtime to look at websites they enjoy, they will feel less tired become more productive when they’re done. Studies have found that workers who use their breaks to goof around on the Internet rather than checking emails or texting friends are also more engaged in their work after the break and less likely to get bored with it.

Cut down on telecommuters

The trend in employment is to let more and more employees work, at least occasionally, from home. As many as 40 million Americans telecommute at least once a year and that number continues to grow, with some estimates putting the number at 43 percent of the population by 2016 (though that seems a little extreme). But telecommuters in your company might be hurting the morale of the physical office. In-office workers are less satisfied with their work when there are more people working remotely. It may be because they have weaker ties with these co-workers or because they feel like they have less freedom and more work than the unseen workers at home.

Choose an appropriate office layout

In terms of the set-up of your office, what works for one company won’t necessarily work for another. You obviously have to take the space you have to work with and the nature of your business into account, but there are some office layouts that are better for morale than others. Traditional cubicles are the worst, making workers often feel isolated, under appreciated, and depressed. The open layout has less privacy than cubicles, which could be a problem if your workers make a lot of phone calls, but it encourages communication between employees and makes them feel like part of a team. Closed offices, where employees each have their own office, might be the best for morale, offering privacy and satisfaction, but if you can’t afford that, you might look into a mixed office plan, with closed offices, open-office desks, and a common area.

Avoid sex jokes

So “That’s what she said” jokes might actually hurt the office environment? Maybe taking management tips from Michael Scott isn’t such a good idea after all. A 2009 study found that even when people enjoy flirtation and sexual innuendo in the workplace, it has a negative effect on the morale of the office. Surprisingly, the effect is even greater among men. So try to cut down on sexual jokes among your employees, even if everyone seems to be laughing along. The office may seem tame at first, but it will boost spirits overall.

Relax the dress code

Whether you work in a place where suits are the daily requirement or your office just demands slacks and button-downs or dresses, rewarding your employees with a casual day can be a big morale booster. Many offices go with Casual Fridays, which allows workers to relax a bit and gives them something to look forward to throughout the week. You might also want to give dress-down days as a reward for finishing a long project or a special achievement.

Swear a bit

You don’t want to swear at someone at work, but mixing in cursing occasionally when appropriate can actually build relationships in the workplace and allow employees to release frustrations. A British study found that profanities that aren’t used in a negative or abusive way can boost morale and decrease stress. The boss should set the tone for the amount of swearing that is acceptable and gauge the comfort levels of employees to make sure no one is turned off by the amount. You should also avoid using foul language in front of clients or senior staff members.

Throw a party

Many companies were discussing cancelling their office holiday parties when the recession was at its worst. Spending money on a lavish affair didn’t make sense when everyone was hurting for cash. But experts warn against nixing parties altogether because it could hurt the morale of employees who have been working hard all year long. If you typically have a party around the holidays or for other special occasions, like the company’s anniversary, keep the celebration but scale it back a bit. You don’t need a chocolate fountain or a ballroom for employee satisfaction.

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37 comments

  1. We have found that cutting down on those who work from home is helping our moral some….outside of us working on that, base on this article it seems our office is taking the right steps in helping “attitude in the workplace”.

  2. Having a great employee benefits package! Or half day Fridays every so often and sleep ins on your birthday. It’s the little things that count.

    Cutting down on telecommunications is also important, not because it creates an image that in office staff workers work harder but because it means you don’t have a great work culture and environment. If you don’t want to force employees to work in house, because sometimes it is better to work form home, offer rewards to those that do come in. Like ice creams on hot days or extended lunches.
    Julia@Employee Benefit Consultants recently posted..Home

  3. Using some edifying words help.

  4. If getting a dog is acceptable in a working environment, does it mean I can bring along a cat as well? Thanks!
    Corbin Heide recently posted..Specialty Makeup Brushes for the Average Person

  5. Great list. Thanks for sharing.
    Nicolas Liu recently posted..What’s The Miles Per Hour?

  6. Good ideas. If you don’t like where you work because morale is low you will leave when you can. As the job environment improves this will become even more important for retaining personnel.

  7. The Dog Idea is great, but I’ve been to many work places where they have a cat as there mascot. I think they may be better as they don’t need as much attention and they just lay around. People go to them when they need a break and the cat is always willing to accept being petted! Great Article!

  8. Jessica Martinez

    Although I love the idea of having some kind of animal to boost the unconditional love that they bring to any atmosphere, the allergy quotient will increase as will the interruptions due to barks that may occur. I think something that brings relaxation and comfort to any office space are large fish tanks. Blending the sound of the air hose bubbling water and occasionally looking at the fish swimming slowly around, brings a calming effect to any situation. plus, they don’t make any sudden noises and to my knowledge, no one is allergic to watching fish :)

  9. Develop a AOE (army of entrepreneurs) culture per Jennifer Prosek’s amazing strategy http://www.armyofentrepreneurs.com/

  10. Good advice I especially resonate with a dog and office layout. I designed a Support office on ergonomic lines.

  11. Goof off days. People call in sick but really they are just goofing off. So give them some days to do that, and should the not use them roll them over in to next years holidays, but cap the number that they can save.

    Day care. People really like being able to drop in on junior.

  12. This may sound silly but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, not that this is mine! A snap cup…like in Legally Blond. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Snap-Cup

    ; )

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! for this article, its awesome!!!

  13. I’m not sure that there’s anything I’d add to your list, except possibly to make sure that–when possible–the managers make it obvious that they’re actually getting work done. At nearly every place I’ve ever worked, my coworkers have harbored a secret suspicion that management doesn’t do anything but shuffle paperwork while everyone else does the real work. I know that’s not true, and I think most workers do on some level, but a little evidence of that can go a long way toward boosting overall morale if it’s feasible.
    Jason Venter recently posted..Empire Avenue and the Case of the More Dessert Fiasco

  14. I have to agree with a few people on here. The Espresso machine is Nailing happiness ;)
    Gabriella Sannino recently posted..Chicks Who Click: Growing Success One Opportunity at a Time

  15. MARY WICKLIFFE George

    always love your articles

  16. Things that have worked in the past:
    Annual scavenger hunt
    Wednesday after work movie in the conference room
    Office bonding outing such as river rafting
    Bring your pet to work on Fridays

  17. Lead, lead from the front, lead properly and lead well, after that comes everything else in my opinion.

  18. You’d be surpriced how much plants can make an improvement to your office!

  19. I worked in office where we could bring our dogs and it was awesome!! The atmosphere seemed to be much kinder!
    ~Erin
    Erin Patrick recently posted..Notes For Lent – A Season of Examination

  20. Instead of a think tank, have a drink tank…. Similar but you culminate ideas together while slowly getting pickled ;-)
    Mike recently posted..SOPA? Dad would sort these bureaucrats out!

  21. I loved the dog idea but you need to be careful about what kind of dog. I have 3 labs and all they want to do is play.

    I think treating people as people and making work a place people want to go to even if they did not get paid would really boost morale. Of course this is just figuratively speaking because most people would not do anything if they didn’t get something in return.

    I like the comment about the half day on Friday. That makes a huge difference in one’s weekend. Employees might even want to work longer the other 4 days just to have their Friday afternoons off.
    Gary Gile recently posted..Tension

  22. Games Help. Healthy Ones, like Weight Loss, Who walks the most, etc.
    Steve Cassady recently posted..Are you 100% Complete? Linkedin #IN Changed Profile Completeness

  23. equal treatment now that hard

  24. For a small office :: get an espresso machine!

    Once I worked as a consultant and the owner liked coffee and installed an espresso machine for everyone to use. Morale went way up.
    David Sanger recently posted..Love what you do, Steve Jobs, 2005

  25. The odd half-day Friday in the summer can go a long way to making your workplace rock!

  26. Back in the nineties, I had an actual, offsite office for a while. Probably the most important thing I did was to keep myself accessible. I mingled with people, surprised them with pizzas, and invited them out front to play around with skateboards every once in a while. The less serious everything seems all the time, the more seems to get done once you’re back on the clock.

  27. As most people hate having to come back to work on Mondays, use Monday as the casual dress day. This will allow the employees to ease back into the work routine.Casual Fridays always felt a bit lame, because employees have two days to dress any way they please.

  28. I have a dog that is at my house in my home business, and it has helped people who where working together to better work together.
    Luminosity recently posted..Athenas Owl of The Examined Life

  29. These are great suggestions. Some of which (bringing your dog) were new ideas to me.

    Some that I thought of that weren’t on your list were appreciation and finding strengths. In the past, I’ve been more loyal and cared more about my work when it is for a boss that appreciates my opinion and efforts. And when you’re in a job where your boss knows your strengths and passions and lets you incorporate that into your tasks, it makes going to work that much more fulfilling.

    You’re empire avenue awesome, plain and simple. ;)

  30. Great ideas! Powerful ways to keep work fun and creative. Excellent employee retention tools to keep things fresh and alive!

  31. Care
    barry recently posted..test post 3

  32. Agree with all Bob – particularly allowing browsing, dress-down and any social mixers (BBQ’s, trips, Parties – anything involving food and alcohol usually works!). The last one would be – talk to them more – more communication opportunities between the management and the rest of the staff where employees feel they get a chance to say things in an appropriate forum make people feel like they’ve been heard. All of these help to make employees feel more valued and treated less like overheads.
    Su recently posted..The beauty of website statistics

  33. Agree with all Bob – particularly allowing browsing, dress-down and any social mixers (BBQ’s, trips, Parties – anything involving food and alcohol usually works!). All of these help to make employees feel more valued and treated less like overheads. The last one would be – talk to them more – more communication opportunities between the management and the rest of the staff where employees feel they get a chance to say things in an appropriate forum make people feel like they’ve been heard.

    Good one Bob!

  34. Resume Bear,
    I agree with you on a lot of your points about boosting employee morale, but I think telecommuting is awesome for people, they feel less micromanaged in their day to day jobs, plus I think people get more done by working from home. I really agree with the dog idea, I work with my three dogs next to me everyday and it is alot more fun to be with them then in an office that is cold and sterile. Thanks for the post.

    Wendy Elwell
    Wendy Elwell recently posted..Using Pinterest for Business is a Must!

    • I agree with Wendy — there’s a trade-off with telecommuting. It may detract a bit from group morale, but it raises individual morale, so…

      I think there are two key things to make it work:

      1. Flexibility — maybe everyone doesn’t telecommute all the time, but just part-time.

      2. Incorporate your telecommuters — don’t let them get alienated — have everyone on Skype and accessible. Keep a group chat open that includes remote workers as well as those in the office.
      Scott Allen recently posted..Dealing with shit

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