There are things money can't buy. While a stocked fridge, on-site yoga classes and ping pong tables are incredible office perks, but ultimately surface-level extras.
Employees deserve more. To develop a workplace that makes people happy and motivated, consider offering these benefits to all team members:
1. Streamlined workflows.
Run. Rinse. Repeat. While practice does, indeed, make perfect, no one personally values doing the same task over and over again especially if it is mindless, low-impact work or it hijacks valuable time that could be spent doing more productive things.
Inefficiencies add up, and everyone tends to dwell on the frustratingly slow motor that's powering a generally well-oiled machine. Do audits of how things are done and identify ways to consolidate steps and remove barriers to increase overall output without pushing people harder.
There used to be a time when businesses only operated during fixed hours. These days, with advancements in communications technology and changes in general working habits, flextime makes a lot more sense.
At least, for your creative team of designers and developers, a strict 9-to-5 schedule may force morning birds or night owls to readjust their schedules and, as a result, perform poorly. Even more important, clients, customers or vendors may not be available at these times, which can stymie progress when someone has to wait a full workday for a response. Instead, empower your team to work during blocks (either continuous or noncontinuous) when they are best prepared to drive real results.
Related: Designing a Better Office Space
A study by the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics suggested regular commutes longer than 30 minutes negatively affect a person’s happiness and overall well-being. Earlier research from the University of Zurich reported workers would need a 40 percent pay increase to compensate them enough for hour-long commutes to "be as well off as somebody who does not commute."
Findings like these may prompt workers to re-evaluate a current living arrangement or their employment situation. If people are granted the opportunity to work from home, this won’t be a problem. By taking advantage of telecommuting once or twice a month, employees can use those valuable hours -- otherwise lost to commuting -- to be more productive at work, sleep or enjoy more personal time.
4. Social opportunities.
As Christine M. Riordan, professor of management at the University of Kentucky, wrote for the Harvard Business Review website, “Camaraderie in the workplace can lead to greater job satisfaction and commitment to the organization and doing a job well. Leaders should foster collegiality, help to eliminate toxic and dysfunctional team behaviors, and create opportunities for team members other than on work projects.”
Set up situations for team members to engage with one another outside of formal work. Host office parties and sports outings, or arrange one weekday a month for everyone to volunteer at a local nonprofit. Even the most reclusive team member will appreciate the chance to get to know everyone else better. Plus, warm relationships make it easier for people to work more fluidly together.
5. A warm, welcoming workspace.
The office is a place that an employer co-creates with employees. The executive pays the bills, but they want to make it their second home.
Carefully craft a culture with people that treat the space with utmost dignity and respect, while keeping it fun and authentic. That means employees clean up after themselves, bring in cool toys and gadgets to share or items to make it a warmer environment – and encourage everyone to do the same.
A luxury cleaning service and an open expense account for desk tchotchkes will only spoil employees. Instead, individuals who now care about the office atmosphere will actively work toward making it a well-loved shared space, with or without Nerf guns.
What intangible things do members of your team love about their jobs?
Related: An Ode to Transparency