Four Free Ways to Better Your Workplace

We spend a whole lot of time there. It's a place of learning, stress, friendships and so much more. Why not work at improving it? If we have to be away from our friends an family 40+ hour/week, perhaps a stab at improvement is worth while. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics graph, the average worker between the ages of  25 and 54 with children spends the largest chunk of their time on work at, 8.8 hours. The second largest chunk of time was dedicated to sleep, at 7.6 hours. For most companies, there isn't a "Workplace Betterment" budget, so unless we all work for Google or Amazon, this is a group, shoe-string effort that takes a little creativity. 

Give Them Some Choice
Traditional offices have the same desks, same chairs, same devices and same walls. Let your team know that they are free to make some choices about their workspace and facilitate the changes. Maybe someone prefers sitting on an exercise ball sometimes, maybe they want to take a laptop and sit outside for a while. They'll have to come in for a charge, and exercise balls are meant to be sat on in 20 minute intervals. The up and down and movement are stimulating. People perform better when they get up periodically and walk around. Personal touches to their workspace allows employee to get more comfortable. It can also facilitate more interaction among your team. 

Reward with Freedoms
As long as company information is safe, employees should be given their choice of device as well. BYOD is becoming very popular. 60% of companies are now switching over to BYOD. People are accustom to their own favorite technology, so let them use it if there's no harm in it. 

Additionally, people absolutely love the freedoms that come along with teleworking. There must be something to this relatively new trend because 20% of today's workforce telecommutes. If the type of work permits, perhaps you can reward employees with a few days of work from home. This is also a great way to find out if this model of work is a good match for your company. These little freedoms are what employees love. 

Not every industry is built for a work from home model, you can still offer some time off, early days, extended lunch times. More often than not, people will prefer personal time over a Subway gift card. If they want a sandwich they'll buy it, they simply can't buy more time.

Push Vacation Time
On that note, we have learned from Companies like Evernote and Netflix that holding a tight rein on vacation time is an outdated business practice. Employees that take vacations are more productive, less stressed, happier and healthier. It's not just enough to let employee know that they can take vacation, because they won't. It has been successful trend for employers to lead by example. They too return to the office in a better state for work. 

Work on Your Management Team
The work is getting done and everyone is coming in on time seems to be the standard that a lot of companies hold their managers to. This is way below where the bar should be set. HIgh turnover is mostly attributed to issues with management. Keeping the lines of communication open, gathering feedback from employees and offering continued management training is vital to the health of any organization.

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photo credit: herval via photopin cc

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