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5 Things You Can Do to Motivate Your Employees

11.25.2013
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A comfortable, friendly office can do wonders for making your employees happier. While it doesn’t need to feel like home – after all, it is work – a friendly, comfortable workplace can make your employees more productive and content.

I mean, you don’t want a place like Office Space, with its TPS reports and stolen staplers and … the printer:

We can’t help you if you bought a bad printer/fax/copier (that’s a whole other article some other time and we’ll leave that to the hardware experts to recommend), but we can suggest a few ways to make things more pleasant.

Plants

A few well-placed plants in the office can brighten the place up. They bring the outdoors in, but in a non-messy way. If you go to most any plant store, they’d be happy to help you figure out the right plants that take minimal maintenance to help cheer up your office.

Studies have shown that plants make workers happier, even if your office doesn’t have windows. The plants clean the air and release oxygen, which makes the literal atmosphere better, as well as the figurative atmosphere.

We heard about a startup in New York City, The Sill, that researches and selects the best plants for your office setup – and delivers them. Right now they’re only in that city, but we’d wager they’ll spread nationwide, or at least spawn similar companies around the country. Figuring out which plants to get and how to care for them is the hard part.

Putting them on the windowsill and reaping the rewards is the easy part.

Motivational Posters

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We’d be surprised if you have never seen the “Hang in there!” cat poster that’s been around approximately since the beginning of time.

Those kinds of motivational posters are great, but cliché. So go a little goofy with your posters and you’re likely to bring a smile to your employees’ lips when they look up from their cubicles.

You can go with meme generators, of which there are many on the Internet. You can use these generators combined with terms particular to your industry and come up with something funny.

Or maybe you get a beautiful landscape photo and instead of “Excellence” or “Teamwork” followed by a motivating phrase in nice italics, you could say, “Teamwork: The best way to get things done. Except in the company sack race.”

Collect fun quotes from your employees’ favorite movies. Have them involved in the process and get them custom-printed.

Candy

Everyone loves candy. Even people who don’t like candy, like candy.

No matter what office you’re in, somewhere around 2 or 3 p.m., the afternoon lulls strike. If you have a group breaktime where you have candy and other snacks. Don’t just have the unhealthy snacks, have sugar-free candy and snacks like Kind bars.

Don’t make it a limitless bowl, either, because people will go crazy and soon you’ll find that people are crashing from the mid-afternoon sugar high and that’s no good.

With everyone having a break at the same time, there can be some socializing, and your employees can learn a little bit about each other. And snacks are always fun.

Freedom of Choice

People get funny about their office supplies. Some people like red staplers, for example.

Once a year, let your employees choose office supplies from the catalog. Not everyone needs to have the same thing, the same colors. And once a year, some things just need replacing.

People don’t have a lot of control over their work environment. But giving them a little say in what they do their work with every day can make a huge difference in their mindset.

Is the item 50 cents more than the standard pencil holder? Bet you save more than 50 cents in goodwill.

Personalized supplies

Traditionally, the personalized notepad has been reserved for top executives.

But what if everyone had a notepad, “From the desk of …”? While more and more is done online and via email, there’s still a tremendous amount of paper being pushed back and forth in offices. Files sent from one employee to another for work, or signoff.

It sounds goofy, I know. But it’s a way of giving employees control in a situation where they have to do what they have to do. Being able to sign off, with a note that proudly proclaims their involvement (without them even having to sign it), is one of those little things that doesn’t cost a lot, but can really boost morale.

Tom Chu Tom Chu is the SEO Manager at PsPrint, which is an online printing company specializing in brochure and poster printing As well as other similar services. Follow PsPrint onTwitter and Facebook to learn more.

Published at DZone with permission of Paul Andrews, author and DZone MVB.

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