How to Create a Fun AND Productive SME Workplace
It’s the challenge that business owners and team leaders have faced for as long as there’s been companies; how do you create a workplace environment that is both conducive to work and fun to spend eight hours a day within?
Of course employee morale is a huge part of every successful business and today more and more big businesses are adopting a startup-like culture, but should it take priority over productivity? As a small business owner, when it comes to the crunch it’s hard work and toil that pays the bills, not the amount of time spent playing ping pong.
However, is there a happy compromise? Can businesses truly create an atmosphere that balances both fun and maximum productivity? Check out these simple strategies you can use in your office to keep productivity high without easing up on the fun:
1. Move into cool office space
First on the agenda should be finding the perfect location for you and your staff to work. Make sure to design your office in a way that encourages productivity and doesn’t solely focus on squeezing as many bodies into as small a space as possible.
Spruce up your window ledges and shelves with office plants. Not only do they add a bit of a natural look and feel to an otherwise drab office, they can also omit healthy chemicals that quell office hazards such as dust, screen glare and more.
We’re not saying that every startup should have a room full of beanbags or a slide from floor to floor (not that they can afford it anyway!) but a cool office space can really boost morale and productivity alike.
2. Create communal areas
An extension of point one, communal areas are brilliant in bringing your team together over lunch or a cup of tea. Small businesses can be fast-paced and busy places where a moments chat is rarely about anything other than the current task in hand.
Communal areas provide places and situations for talk that would not otherwise be available and can be great for those staff members who are less confident than most.
3. Productivity > rigid timetables
If you have a set workload that is due for a set date, then it goes without saying that you should encourage your staff to complete it to the best of their ability and before the deadline.
Why make your staff work to strict schedules and under tight rules when everybody works differently? If you truly trust and believe in your staff you will let them take the reins and go about the work in their own fashion rather than hand holding them throughout the whole process. Not only will it let them find the most efficient way for them to work personally, they will also appreciate the respect you show and they’ll want to repay your faith in them.
Whether it means them working from home, taking long or irregular breaks or other different ways of working, then let them do it… as long as the work gets done! The most successful businesses aren’t necessarily those that work the hardest, it’s those who work the smartest.
4. Socialise outside of work
It has been proven that having friends at work, rather than merely colleagues, will make you both happier and more productive. But what’s the best way to create friends at work? That’s right – socialising out of work.
It can be tough to organise events outside of work when your colleagues have other commitments, family and friends to concern themselves with. Not only that, but as a startup owner who may be short of a quid or two, taking your whole team go karting or for a five star meal just isn’t financially viable!
Even if it’s a get together in the local public house or a BBQ in your garden, a chance to chat informally about non-work topics is a great way to build relationships.
Remember, it’s a lot easier for one of your assets to leave your company in search of better things when they don’t get along with their colleagues than if they’re close mates.
5. Turn a target into a competition
Hitting targets or smashing sales can be a high pressure business so turning them into friendly competitions makes for some exciting inter-company banter! Consider splitting up your different departments and challenging them against each other. You could offer the winner cinema tickets, gift vouchers or an adventure day out, for example.
6. Give your staff more breaks!
As almost every aspect of our working lives involves staring at a screen for long periods of time whilst sat down these days, it’s crucially important that you get enough regular and extensive breaks.
Studies have shown that sitting down for too long is linked to type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and even premature death. If you don’t take time away from your computer to stretch your legs every now and then and continue to intake the same amount of calories then obviously you will soon become overweight… that’s neither fun nor productive.
Not only is there direct health problems from not having long enough breaks, but it also reduces your ability to think clearly and creatively which could lead to mistakes or mental blocks in your work.
7. Reward achievements
You may think that your staff shouldn’t need rewards for them to try and achieve the best work that they possibly can… but it’s always nice! Unlike the competition idea I mentioned earlier, this time do not explain to your staff that they will be rewarded for achieving a certain task. Do it randomly. They’ll love the nice surprise and it’s an excuse for you to make a speech about what I just mentioned!
So there you have it, 7 simple ways that you can provide your staff with a fun office culture whilst simultaneously promoting productivity and success. What was your favourite idea and what did we miss out? Drop us a tweet @Perabusiness