A recent study cited by Forbes notes that 50% of employee happiness stems from feeling appreciated at work. While some may feel a paycheck fulfills that need, that's not the case for everyone. Take the extra step to offer a verbal “thank you” for your employees' hard work and tell them often how meaningful their contribution is to the company. That will help them feel valued. Be specific in your recognition – hearing “great job” all the time isn't actually all that motivating.
Apart from the obvious big milestones, take time to celebrate the small stuff. Look for ways to reinforce good behavior and demonstration of company values in addiction to projects. Frequent celebrations create a positive culture and unspoken incentive for employees to aim higher. A team party for reaching a collective goal, or individual spiffs will put an extra spring in the step of your team.
If you want to literally give your crew an energy boost, why not provide healthy snacks in the break room? Aside from the physical benefits, food served in a common place is great for building personal relationships. To spark conversation, create catchy “fortunes” on small strips of paper and attach them to fruit or vegetables with toothpicks. Employees will have fun uncovering their fortune and sharing them, just like we do with fortune cookies after dinner.
Relax the Dress Code
If your office subscribes to a business or business casual code of fashion, designate one day a week to comfort. If you already have a relaxed dress code and want to add a bit of fun, invent theme days to promote unity. Switch up the themes to ensure you're reaching everyone, like schools do during Spirit Week. Some ideas include pop culture, music & movies, history, or something industry specific. If you're team is into fun, consider contests including photos and prizes. When people let their guard down, they realize they can be more authentic, and bring their whole self to work.
Designate a Day for Social Impact
It's scientifically proven that helping others makes us happier. Find an organization in your area that needs help and have your team take a field trip. Not only will the organization benefit from your contributions, your employees will spend a day working together across functions, in an altruistic way. They'll all have a common goal, plus they'll get a mental break from their regular work to come back refreshed. It's a win–win you, your team and the community.