When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home

Tanya Pinto
When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home

A sneak-peek into Google’s office campus at Mountain View California, is enough leave any employee drooling. Built over a sprawling expanse of greenery, the Google campus even offers tennis courts and an outdoor café. It’s widely known that employees can also choose from various gourmet cuisines at lunchtime for free! Google understands happy employees are productive employees. The company’s making sure that employees who come to work, don’t have to leave their hearts at home. Are you doing the same?

Here are some ideas on how to create a workplace that employees love.

Flexible arrangements to suit childcare commitments: Whether or not you’re big on remote working, this should be a given – flexibility to allow employees to manage childcare. According to a Washington Post publication, about 80 percent of millennials surveyed are part of dual-income couples, where both work full time. This is significantly higher than previous generations. Understandably, parents would need work flexibility in order to balance their parental duties. Heidi Parsont, who runs the recruiting firm TorchLight, explains, “Wanting flexibility or work-life balance is the number one thing we hear all the time from candidates. It’s the number one reason why people are looking for a new job, by far. We’re definitely seeing more candidates asking for it. But companies still see it as making an exception. It’s still not the norm.”

Pet-friendly office: Nestlé allows its employees to bring their pets, especially dogs, to work. This move has been well-received by its employees. In fact, Nestlé employee Zoe Green admits , “Sometimes something will stress me out at work and I’ll go: ‘Right, I need some puppy love. And off I go to find a dog. A few minutes later, I’m a different person. “Having dogs in the office doesn’t just keep me happy,  it keeps me sane.” According to a 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring dogs to work produced lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Allowing employees to bring their pets to work is a great way to reduce stress and boost employee enthusiasm. 

Breaktime corners: It’s a no-brainer that a short break from working can help an employee rejuvenate. Therefore, it’s a good idea to earmark ‘break corners’ in the office. Depending on the composition of your team, and their preferences, you could either set up a foosball table, or a music station. For those who would appreciate some quiet time, consider adding a bookcase or a ‘quiet room’ for your staff to unwind. It’s all up to what your team prefers. Another great idea is also to offer free hot beverages, snacks or meals at the workplace. Just as Google believes, free food and drink becomes a great catalyst to improve employee friendships and communication. This helps to boost innovation and team spirit. 

Investing in Corporate Social Responsibility: What better way to encourage employees to stay passionate about the company, than Corporate Social Responsibility? Employees appreciate working for a company that has a sense of purpose, and helps them make a real impact. CSR is a great way to invest in impactful charities, which helps boost the company’s image and employee engagement. With CSR, employees have the opportunity to volunteer for causes that they are passionate about. It’s a great way to let employees know that their personal interests matter, to make them feel valued. 

Celebrating small wins and life events: Employees are more than just their job titles. They are also defined by their personal lives, or their professional milestones.  This is what makes it important to celebrate employees’ small wins or life events at the workplace. This could include bagging a challenging deal, or commemoration of birthdays and weddings. Other possibilities also include organising an annual Christmas or company anniversary party. All of these basically  let employees know that the company cares about them as people, and about things that make them happy. 

And lastly, nap pods: Here’s a fun idea that is sure to become immensely popular: a nap pod. This may seem like an apparatus from a spaceship, but nap pods are real, and are rising in popularity. A nap pod is just a one-time investment, and doesn’t take up much space in the office. Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, urges people to stop treating their sleep deficit like a professional achievement, and instead catch enough sleep to maintain productivity at the workplace. Additionally, experts believe that adults between ages 26-64 should have 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily.  Lack of adequate sleep could hamper employee productivity. A nap pod is thus a great addition to the workspace, which tells employees you care about them. Especially if your employees work late hours to meet deadlines, a nap pod is really useful. It’s a universal truth that every employee loves some beauty sleep (even the ones who pretend they don’t), and by introducing nap pods in the office, you can ensure your employees will not put their health at risk. It’s simple to implement and guarantees a positive response from employees.  

Each workplace is different, and the best way to know what makes your employees happy is through trial and error. Get your team’s opinion on what changes they’d like to be introduced at the workplace, and then start transforming the office. When employees feel happy and positive about their workplace, you’ll to surprised to notice how that boosts overall productivity.

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