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How to improve productivity & happiness at work

Over our lifetime, we spend 90,000 hrs/approx at work. That's about 35% of our total waking hours! It's pretty important to enjoy being at work! So, how can employers ensure their teams' happiness? Let's find out!

Over our lifetime, we spend about 90,000 hours at work. That’s about 35% of our total waking hours for a 50-year work life.1 It’s a decent chunk of time, so it’s vital that we feel positive, engaged, and overall happy at work.

Happiness at work boosts productivity; employees who feel good at work are more motivated, creative, and loyal. With historic low rates of unemployment in New Zealand, employers need to ensure their people are engaged and enjoy being at work. Right now, it’s far too easy to lose good people.

Investing in the experienced staff you already have is one of the smartest moves an employer can make in this current environment. There are many ways employers can enhance positivity in the workplace from the very simple to the extreme! And some don’t cost anything at all!

Recognition at work

“Love what you did there.” “That was awesome!” “Thanks you for…”

Sometimes it’s as simple as a ‘thank you’. Taking the time to appreciate the work someone has done doesn’t take long, and it can really boost the old serotonin levels. Remember, your employees are doing tasks on your behalf and by showing that you appreciate their hard work you’re also investing in your business.

Consistency is key here – don’t let recognition of a job well done wait until a review, say it when you see it!

Rewards and gifts don’t have to be costly. It can range from a small chocolate to say ‘thanks for your help,’ to a morning tea for the team with the best idea of the week. These types of initiatives encourage team spirit, fresh thinking, and working smarter, ultimately benefitting the business with fresh, innovative ideas and engaged people.

The subtle (or not so subtle) art of team building

From a day out at a corporate team building adventure to a mini-brainstorm session, taking time out as a team is an important ingredient to create a strong and happy team.

Getting out of the office together can strengthen bonds between colleagues and give everyone a chance to relax, be social, and have a good old laugh as a group.

Strengthening these connections help them to feel safer and more trusting of each other, especially when it comes to speaking up in a meeting or sharing ideas. This, in turn, makes for happier people within a cohesive and optimistic team.

You had me at hello. Take time to greet your team

The simple gesture of saying hello to your employees every day is easy to do and goes a long way to increase their feelings of belonging and appreciation. Occasional walks around the office for a ‘chat’ with employees is also a great way to let them know you care.

Workplace comfort is key to your team’s happiness, and taking the time to set a cheerful tone is an effective way to achieve this. Got a team of a few hundred? A simple smile and nod will often suffice – it’s all about acknowledgement. Feeling ‘seen’ is more important than you think.

Create a sense of purpose

Putting 100% into your work comes much more naturally when you understand your unique contribution to a workplace and how you’re making a difference. Purpose-led work is the remedy for that feeling that you’re just turning up to run a rat race that doesn’t seem to have a finish line.

Take a moment to sit down with your team, either one-on-one or in department groups, to go over your company mission, goals, and the projects on the go. Share how each of the team’s activities make a difference and help the company to successfully deliver on its promises.

Encourage work/life balance

Let’s flip this on its head. We work to live, not the other way around – or most of us do (shout out to the workaholics)! Encouraging a healthy life/work balance will give you a WIN with your team. Especially in recent years, it’s becoming increasingly important for people to have a ‘life’ outside of their job.

When employees are seen as valuable to a company, and also as people with personal lives and commitments, their life/work balance becomes stable and positive. The likelihood of getting work burnout decreases.

This can be achieved by offering the flexibility of a work-from-home day each week, and financial support for health and wellness programmes. Put yourself in their shoes – what would you want support around to gain an even balance between your work and personal life? You could even schedule a meeting to get ideas from the team directly.

Bring in a wellness practitioner once a week or once a month for a group session

Be a health and wellness work champion

Physical and mental wellbeing are increasingly supported in the workplace and employers are adding wellness programmes as part of staff benefits.

The upside is that when your team live their best life, you get the best of them too. Developing healthy habits lowers workplace stress, fatigue, and burnout. It’s important that you model the behaviour, champion wellness days, and encourage others to check in on themselves and their teammates.

Why not go the extra mile and instil workplace habits such as:

  • Supply fresh fruit at work
  • Have secure bike racks and encourage cycling to work
  • Host wellness events such as yoga or mindfulness practices at work
  • Arrange company discounts or memberships with mental and physical health organisations

Encourage your team to speak up – there will be times when working a certain way will hamper creativity or focus. If they don’t feel safe and supported to speak up, you risk resentment, despondency, and potentially losing good people.

Support individual development

Help your team with personal growth plans.

Most of us know the feeling of being ‘stuck’ in a role that feels like it’s going nowhere. Breaking down individual objectives into short term, achievable goals, will help boost motivation and in turn increase the effort put into jobs.

Showing an interest in someones career and personal development has the potential to create a sense of loyalty and purpose in their current role with you. It also helps your staff to feel seen and valued.

Healthy constructive evaluation

We all make mistakes, it’s part of being human. Being able to provide feedback in a supportive and kind manner is a key skill.

Avoid what could be construed as negative criticism. Come from a place of respect and provide insight as to why you’re providing the feedback. Encourage question asking – healthy conversations are never one-sided!

Give your team the space to provide their own feedback too – employment is an agreement between two parties, and both parties should feel comfortable providing feedback as they progress in their career journey.

Give me a break!

The importance of breaks and fresh air cannot be overstated! Especially for desk jobs where everyone is sitting most of the day – it’s refreshing to get outside and get the blood pumping. There’s a huge amount of research and data on taking mini-breaks at work and how it increases productivity.

Try hosting team meetings at a local cafe or the local park. A change of scenery helps to stimulate the brain and boost creativity.

Of course there are many other ways to boost morale and create a positive and happy work environment. Hopefully we’ve been able to provide some insightful tips of raising the good vibrations in your workplace.

Let us know if you see any changes or results from implementing any of our tips. Or share some of your favourite ways to create a happy workplace with us! We love feedback!


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