Walking in to the room, you might find young people shooting pool, playing video games or sleeping. Sound like a college dorm? Or, maybe a recreation center? A scene like this is likely at Google, where the company affords employers 20% of their work time to do whatever they want. Traditional business gurus might label the policy as counterintuitive, but it has led to such innovations as Google News and Google Reader, two of the Mountain View-based company’s most popular products.
Consistently ranked as one of the best places to work, Google empowers its employees with time and responsibility — and they deliver. Creating a happy work environment isn’t just about free time, but companies that are able to blend a recipe benefit. According to a poll by Gallup.com, disengaged workers cost the U.S. economy $350 billion in lost productivity.
Ditch the time management strategies and create a happy culture to give your business a productivity boost.
Focus on Improvement
Most new employees get a natural high from starting a new job — the interview process, job offer and orientation come and go like a blur.
Eventually, however, everything slows down as work begins to feel tedious. There’s no way to fully recreate that new job feeling, but leaders can promote the ingredient that fuels the rush of a new job: improvement.
“When there is movement in your life, there is satisfaction,” Alleer Training and Consulting founder Steve McClatchy told Fastcompany.com.
Activities that promote improvement come in many shapes and sizes. Online training courses, personal performance reviews and job-assisting resources can all help employees get out of the mud. Consider making a purchase that promotes improvement every month. Dedicate an American Express small business credit card to investing in your employees. Not only will you see a boost in productivity, you’ll also get membership rewards, including cash back or points toward airline miles.
Sometimes employees just need a simple pat on the back. Businesses that acknowledge employee success create a happier work culture, according to a recent study by the consulting firm Globoforce. According to the survey, 82% of employees that receive recognition have a positive impact on employee engagement.
Consider keeping a list of every employee and offering a word of recognition, no matter how small, every week. Over time, this habit will trickle down into interactions between employees, and a culture of encouragement will be well on its way.
As business leadership piles on structure and regulations, creativity and happiness take a back seat. Like Google, businesses that are willing to offer employees flexibility in some way will see a happier and more productive staff. You don’t have to give up 20% of the day, either. Consider allowing your employees to trade or collaborate on projects. The potential for new opportunities will help fight off the the stale feeling that leads to disengagement.