Making employees happy is nearly impossible sometimes — everybody wants something different out of their job, and everybody wants different perks. While you likely don’t have the budget to provide your employees the same perks as Google employees, there are simple steps you can take to improve employees’ well-being — and their productivity. Here are 5 simple ways to increase employee happiness.
1. Give them space
An office space, that is. While open floor plans are becoming more popular as a means to encourage collaboration, the increased activity might be distracting to some employees who need a quiet area to be productive. Solve this problem by giving them the option to work in cubicles or quiet rooms. Allow them to claim the space they want and provide a safe area for them to store personal belongings — such as in a file cabinet or a secure storage locker.
2. Allow short breaks
Staring at a computer screen or operating machinery for eight hours straight isn’t healthy, especially if they sit all day. Allow employees to take short breaks throughout the day to recharge. Studies show that taking breaks during work reduces stress, increases productivity and lowers the risk of certain diseases.
3. Acknowledge and reward accomplishments
Sure, it’s nice when employees go the extra mile, but are you making them feel appreciated for their hard work? Recognizing accomplishments lets employees know that their work isn’t being overlooked. Show your appreciation by making an announcement to the department or even the entire company. And never underestimate the impact of a handwritten thank-you letter.
4. Provide health services
Employees who put on a happy face in front of coworkers might have their own issues to deal with at home. It’s important to be sensitive to employees’ personal needs, so pay attention to a change in mood or behavior. However, it might be awkward for employees if you approach them yourself, which is where a good health plan comes in handy. Provide employees with a health plan that offers free counseling for topics like mental health issues, divorce, death of a family member and suicide.
5. Offer flexible work schedules
Not everyone’s lives can fit a regular work schedule. Kids, health issues or long commutes can take a toll on work time. One way to solve this issue is to offer flexible work schedules. Instead of requiring employees to work 9-to-5 Monday through Friday, allow them to choose their own hours (within reason). For instance, an 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. workday Monday through Thursday is still a 40-hour workweek, but they’ll have the option of an extra day off. If the company mainly does business online, allow employees to work from home all week or on certain days.
These suggestions only scratch the surface as far as what you can do to make employees happier. Before taking any action, ask employees what they’d like to include most in the office. Lastly, take your specific business into account when deciding what perks you want to include.