Times are tough and many companies in today’s economy are overworked, running on full-steam and employees are maxed out. It’s important to remember during these times that not only is it important that employees are all working smarter, not necessarily harder—but how equally important it is to make sure employees are happy.
One way to help encourage employees and reward them for all of their hard work is through ways of showing your appreciation and allowing employees to “play” hard too. Opportunities to step out of the work environment and the monotony that can begin to exist in the office each and every day.
Here are some ideas for ways that employers can help encourage opportunities for employees to mingle with one another, take a break from their work for a bit, enjoy time together and even help promote happier employees (who will feel appreciated for all of their hard work).
- Company Outings. Not all companies have the budget to allow for company outings, but if it is feasible, look into ways that the company may be able to either shut down for a Friday (or even early for a day) and do something fun. This could be bowling, a day at the beach, a day at a local fair or amusement park or some other kind of local favorites (PureMichigan.org is a great resource for local events, some which may be free or affordable on any budget!).
- Gift Cards. A couple of months ago, my own boss came in and surprised everyone with a $25 gift card to Starbucks. It was completely unexpected, but it really brightened my day (and many others) after having worked so hard! Some other gift card ideas could be gift cards to local restaurants, services at day spas and ice cream or froyo!
- Holiday Gatherings & Contests. Mid-October and the holiday season kicks off with Halloween! Find ways to mix up gatherings surrounded by the holidays, not necessarily the annual Christmas Party. Perhaps a costume contest for Halloween or a pre-Thanksgiving feast?
- Breakfast, Lunches or Potlucks. Notice the general theme around most of the ideas? FOOD! But, everyone enjoys to eat and since most people spend majority of the day during the week at the office, food and what to eat is always something that is on employee’s mind. Try bringing in bagels, donuts, muffins or some other breakfast food randomly for employees. Cater in lunch and have employees gather around for a purely social gathering for lunch. And a long-time favorite, encourage employees to participate in company-wide potlucks and share their recipes with fellow coworkers.
Each company has its own culture and traditions for social events and interaction. Try introducing something out of the norm or something that is unexpected. You just might surprise an employee that has been stressed and feeling underappreciated lately!
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @MarkWillDCT.