You are not a completely unsavvy employer: You know you need to have a holiday party, celebrate Secretary’s day, and make small talk now and again. But is that all it takes to keep your employees happy and your office running smoothly? The happiness of your staff matters a great deal—and not just in terms of Karma. It matters to your bottom line. Happy employees are productive employees. They will take better care of your patients and go that extra mile to get services reimbursed.
So, how can you help your employees to be happy and productive all year long? To answer this question, we decided to do what good clinicians do and turn to the evidence. The good news is that research points out quite a few little things you can do that will increase employee satisfaction without breaking the bank. Here are a few:
1. Go green.
Add green plants to the office. Plants make a space nicer to be in, and The University of Exeter found that just adding green plants to the workspace can boost productivity by 15%. Also, in their 2015 Workplace Business Advantage Index, the stationary company Staples found that the happiest employees report that their employers have some green office policies, such as recycling. So go green, any way you can!
2. Take it easy on the emails.
Keep the emails to a minimum. According to the Staples study mentioned above, 68% of office workers felt that too many emails negatively affected their performance. Keep the emails to a minimum so your staff can work more effectively.
3. Keep the fridge stocked.
Hungry workers are distracted and may not bring their full attention to tasks. Grocery delivery service Peapod surveyed office workers and found that, especially among Millennials, free food is the key to happiness. And not just any food—83% of their respondents said that having healthy snacks on hand is a valued perk and made them feel happier about being in the office. Read more in our post, Healthy Between-Patient Meals You Can Make in your Office Kitchen.
These easy changes can bring great results and are excellent first steps. If you want to go a little further towards making your office a place your employees enjoy coming to each day, think in terms of giving your team ownership of their work areas and job processes. Make them feel like the valued team members they are by:
1. Allowing employees to personalize their workspace.
Employees are healthier, happier and more productive when they can decorate their own workspaces, says a study done by the University of Exeter. Something as simple as putting out family pictures, plants and personal items can make all the difference. The more control people have over their working environment, the more comfortable and productive they are.
2. Engaging employees as part of the team.
The American Psychological Association found that when employees are encouraged to participate in decision-making and are asked to make suggestions about their job processes, satisfaction, motivation and commitment goes up. Employee turnover goes down.
3. Recognizing a good effort.
Perhaps the most important thing an employer can do to keep employees happy costs absolutely nothing and is easy to implement: Say “Thank you.” The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated found that a personal “thank you” from a direct manager was rated as more satisfying than public recognition, even when that public recognition was tied to gifts or awards.
Start off the New Year by looking around and finding the small changes you can make to have a happy, healthy and productive staff all year long. You’ll also be creating an office that employees and patients love to come back to.