How to keep your staff engaged on a budget

8 Sep

It's possible to make office life more fun for your staff.

As a human resources practitioner, a central part of your job is devising methods to increase engagement throughout the office and stimulate productivity. Some companies construct office spaces designed to maximize employee potential. However, most businesses don't have the resources to create an office like Google's or Facebook's.

Here are some employee engagement ideas that are easy and cost-effective to implement:

Set up break-away spaces
No one likes being cooped up in a cubicle or office all day. Why not make a space where your team can congregate, as The Guardian suggested? It can be in the kitchen or an unused part of the office floor. Even in a small office space, there is probably room for a couch or comfy chair where members of your team can relocate if they need a change of scenery. Encourage your team to move around when they want so they don't feel confined.

Summer hours
Many offices implement summer hours during the warmer months. Since staff are already daydreaming about the bike ride, jog or gardening session they are planning after work, why not let them take off early? You may be surprised at the impact this has on staff. According to U.S. News & World Report, most companies find their employees are more energized and productive and don't abuse the privilege of leaving early.

Get everyone out of the office
You want work to be as enjoyable of a place as possible for staff, but that won't happen in an all-work-no-play environment. Regularly hold small parties, team lunches and other gatherings that encourage employees to head out of the office for some bonding time. Whether it's an after-hours event at a bar or a long lunch, spending some time in a new environment is an effective engagement tactic.

Let in the light
Natural light is good for us. A study from Northwestern University found office workers who worked in natural light experienced higher sleep quality and greater physical activity. As a plus, if your office has abundant natural light, you may be able to save money on electrical bills. Not all offices are built for optimal light exposure, but do what you can to increase light. Open up the blinds or shades. Reorganize seating so staff members are closer to windows.

Provide snacks
When workers face a mid-afternoon slump, hunger could be to blame, and if staff members didn't pack enough food, they might be out of luck. Depending on where your office is located, running out for quick bite may not be an option. Consider keeping a few healthy snacks on hand to help fuel your team through the final hours of the workday.

Put together a social committee
No one knows what will get the office excited better than staff themselves. Help employees get started with a social planning committee to come up with ideas for fun staff events. Another bonus is that participating on a committee can be seen as a professional development activity.

The moral of the story is: You don't need to be Google to have engaged employees who enjoy coming to work each day. All it takes is a little creativity and planning.

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