Tip: Energize Your Workplace

iStock_000013746771LargeChallenges and setbacks – or even long winter days and gloomy weather – can conspire to sap employee motivation and productivity. Frequently, there are many factors involved. Some require proactive approaches to motivating and encouraging staff, and some can be as simple as a reorganization of work spaces. Take a look at the following ideas to see if you can ignite more excitement, energy and enthusiasm in your workplace.

 Motivation During Tough Times

Perhaps your entity’s success has attracted more ambitious projects that have created larger workloads. In the long term there will be a great payoff for everyone, but right now new hires aren’t in place to alleviate the load and employees are tired. Alternatively, maybe your sector hit a cyclical downturn, and employees are anxious about job security and need a shot of optimism. In either case, consider the following:

  • Break down onerous projects into components with realistic time frames.
  • Put everyone in the picture. Let them know what to expect regarding workflow and timeframes. Be realistic. Don’t sugar-coat, but remember to discuss positives as well as any negatives.
  • Spell out the benefits (rewards) for employees – as individuals – as well as those that will accrue to the organization when the current challenges have been met. Keep in mind how an employee might view the situation and anticipate issues. Welcome questions from your employees.
  • Celebrate often – like when interim goals are met – perhaps hosting a breakfast or a pizza party, or providing employees with weekend movie tickets for their families. On a regular basis, recognize an employee for an outstanding job or major achievement.
  • Get in the trenches and be the example you want to see in others. Nothing motivates like the boss rolling up his/her sleeves and working as hard as or harder than the employees.

 Work Environment

People can be affected a great deal by the light, color and natural elements in their work environment. Consider the following:

  • Institute an office-wide cleanup and shredding party. Organize and store materials that create clutter. Shred materials that you are no longer required to keep.
  • Reorganize your office space into configurations that reflect how your employees work. Set up a quiet zone for those who need to research or write in a peaceful environment. Establish an area for brainstorming or creative thinking away from phones and laptops and hand-held technology. Switch desks/cubicles to facilitate team-building.
  • Make some décor changes. Install some low-maintenance houseplants. Paint the walls a fresh, light, cheerful color. Give employees a modest allowance to upgrade their work area – with a plant, a lamp, wall décor or shelves. Exchange the art on the walls for something new and interesting.
  • Take advantage of natural light and sunshine. When possible, hold meetings in locations where windows provide natural light and pleasant views or outside in a sunny spot, if the weather permits.

 Policies and Procedures

Make sure your procedures and directives don’t hamper efficient, productive work flow:

  • Ditch antiquated policies, entitlements and procedures – and communicate what you’re doing and why. If you need some ideas on where to start, ask your employees.
  • Count how many meetings are held each week. Make it a prerequisite that every meeting organizer:
  • state the meeting’s goal/objective;
  • draft and distribute a (short) agenda – with input from participants – before the meeting;
  • have a start and a stop time; and
  • distribute a follow-up summary to participants (distributed within one business day) that details decisions made and deadlines established.

The ideas above should help you decide where to begin. Perhaps, they will trigger additional ideas to invigorate your organization.