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5 Ways to Enhance Employee Morale & Productivity

August 1st, 2012
When brands consider ways to boost employee morale and workplace productivity, they typically implement systems that center on things like recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work, keeping an open-door policy and encouraging more breaks. And while all of the above are certainly important, Trend Hunter has also seen other creative approaches that help to augment employee morale and productivity, approaches you might not have previously considered:

Target Health. A healthy employee is usually a happier employee. Not only do healthier employees mean less sick days and less insurance coverage, but it also means employees will have more energy to do their work. One innovative example of a health-based rewards program is PleaseCycle, which partners with employers to encourage workers to ride their bikes to work. Another unconventional approach is to provide employees with fitness-focused workstations, such as the Elliptical Machine Office Desk by Hammacher Schlemmer.

Beat Stress. Nothing hinders productivity and morale more than stress. Luckily, a number of innovations have been designed to help workers alleviate it, including private work pods, napping stations and calm-inducing furniture, such as the Rest and Concentration in the Workplace collection designed by students at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Another option is to provide rest stations in the workplace, such as the giant hammock at Google’s Pittsburgh office and The Monastery workspace by Eriksen Skajaa Architects that fosters reflection, meditation and brainstorming.

Provide Flexibility. More corporate work environments are embracing flex-time and telecommuting work schedules, and the impetus for such arrangements is clear. Flexible schedules translates to less turnover, happier employees, increased creativity and more. According to a study conducted by the Cranfield School of Management in the UK that surveyed over 2,000 office workers, those who were given flexible hours by their employers worked more intensely than workers with more inflexible hours. A team of researchers from Stanford University also discovered that telecommuters, in comparison to office-bound employees, are indeed more productive and less likely to quit a job.

Encourage Fun. Boosting employee morale can be as simple as making the workplace more fun. Companies like Facebook, Google and LEGO have all implemented fun workplace environments, installing things like slides, foosball tables and theaters to ensure employees can have fun and destress when they need to. Enabling a dog-friendly work environment, such as that at Ben & Jerry’s and Amazon, also makes the office a more fun and lighthearted work environment.

Foster Social Interaction. Studies have shown that an increased level of social interaction helps to stimulate creativity as people come together to exchange ideas. Pixar, for example, has been known to force communication among its employees; CEO Steve Jobs even went as far as to put the company’s bathrooms in the center of the building, making employees from opposite ends of the office run into each other on their way to the restroom. Jonah Lehrer, author of ‘Imagine,’ writes how MIT professor Tom Allen, after years of studying workplace interaction in big companies, discovered that “the highest-performing employees—those with the most useful new ideas—were the ones who consistently engaged in the most interactions.” To this end, brands can include more teamwork-oriented furnishings and invest in office design that promotes community interaction.

For more innovative trends and developments in the workplace, make sure you check out Trend Hunter’s Lifestyle Trend Report as well as our Architecture Trend Report.