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How to Keep Employees Happy in the Workplace

How to Keep Employees Happy in the Workplace
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Depending on the size of your company, offering frequent raises to keep employees happy will surely collapse your business. Not keeping employees happy is also going to affect your business negatively because an unsatisfied workforce translates into sluggish office work, a higher number of (costly) mistakes, a lack of belonging an employee should feel about the company, and an overall toxic workplace environment.

One major problem you can face if your employees are unhappy is increased employee turnover. Sad people crave happiness and in the business world, happiness comes in the form of newer and better opportunities, which will take away your talented employees before you know it. Hiring and onboarding new people is a costly and timely process, so you want to do everything you can to retain your best employees.

The easiest way to determine what you can do to keep your employees happy without going bankrupt is to put yourself in their shoes.

If you ever had a favorite manager or a great workplace in the past, you can simply ask yourself why you liked working over there.
Combine your past experience with some of the ideas in this article and you’ll soon turn your employees into fans!

1. Allow creative freedom and innovation.

Tourism, creative arts, entertainment, interior designing, and event planning. It's no wonder why these careers ranked high in terms of enjoyment.

Curbing innovation is the worst thing you can do as a boss. It makes employees feel alienated from the company and implicitly conveys that you don’t trust them.

Not only do your employees trust you less but the more creative ones out there feel suffocated and exhausted in an environment that requires them to be yes-men. Unless you’re in the military, you should always allow creative freedom and innovation to your employees.

Let them decide as a team what works and what doesn’t. They’ll feel more valued, realize that the company trusts their skills and creativity, and strive harder to think out of the box, which can do wonders for your business.

2. Let them take a break! 

Employers don’t often realize this but many times, employees feel as if they’re breaking under the workload and responsibility.

Modern employees are more aware than ever and they don’t work just for the sake of working — they see their jobs as a tool to live a rich and fulfilling life.

Many people have dreamt of doing the job they’re at for a lifetime and if they come to realize that their dream job is not so “dreamy”, they’ll lose motivation faster than you think. As a boss, your goal is to make sure that your company adds value and enriches the lives of your workforce.

Employees who are always working don’t see their jobs as an improvement in their lives, which leads to feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.  Letting your workers take a break and not being “bossy” about it can do wonders for their happiness.

3. Treat them as humans. 

Remember the last time your boss stopped by your cubicle and asked how you're doing? Felt amazing, right?

Now ask yourself when did you last do that for your employees. If it has been too long, you’re not treating your employees as humans. You’re not asking them how they are, how they feel about working, if they have any problems that you can solve, and so forth.

Humans loved to be valued and cared for, especially by their bosses. You don’t have to engage in a long conversation with every employee — just a simple “Hey, how have you been?” can make employees feel elated. 

When you start looking at your employees as humans with complex lives, you automatically become more compassionate. This translates into other areas of your dealings with them, such as increased tolerance for mistakes and reduced anger when an employee calls in sick.

4. Offer small rewards. 

Small rewards — free food, concert tickets, or casual dress days — can come in extremely handy when it comes to keeping the workforce motivated. Importantly, small rewards don’t strain your finances and can be implemented in a fun, game-show style. 

You can set small, realistic goals for your employees in order to win a reward. You may feel they’re silly but for an employee who’s had it enough, they might be a refreshing change.

5. Appreciate explicitly.

As a boss, you may be quick to identify employees’ mistakes and reprimand them for that but have you ever made an effort to appreciate your workers when they perform well?

If you haven’t, it’s time to set a rule for yourself — always say ‘thank you’. It’s also a good idea to give out frequent shoutouts to those who perform well. In this way, you compensate people via “social currency”, which is sometimes valued more than money.

When people get publicly recognized for their efforts, they’re not only over the moon, but they’re also determined to sustain their efforts so they can get appreciated the next time again.

If an employee’s effort goes unnoticed, you can be sure he won’t bother with it again. Not appreciating employees can actually harm your business indirectly. 

6. Encourage good sleep hygiene. 

If there’s one issue that’s affecting most of your workforce, it’s a messed up sleep schedule. Chronic sleep deprivation is not only associated with a wide range of health problems like diabetes mellitus, but it also makes the emotional centers of the brain overreact.

This makes sleep-deprived people emotionally labile, anxious, and stressed out, which is far from being happy. It’s a good idea to raise awareness about the importance of good sleep hygiene in your company if you want a happy workforce.

Practical steps you can take to ensure your employees get enough sleep include not allowing people to pull off all-nighters and banning work-related emails and messages after work hours, especially when people are working from home.

Focusing on an overall healthy lifestyle and creating your company’s culture around it is also a good idea because an unhealthy body can’t be happy for long, and you’re bound to see a decline in work performance with an unwell workforce. 

Workflow Podcast

The WorkFlow podcast is hosted by Steve Glaveski with a mission to help you unlock your potential to do more great work in far less time, whether you're working as part of a team or flying solo, and to set you up for a richer life.

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To help you avoid stepping into these all too common pitfalls, we’ve reflected on our five years as an organization working on corporate innovation programs across the globe, and have prepared 100 DOs and DON’Ts.

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Rebecca Lee

Rebecca is the Content Manager at Extras, a freelance writer, and an avid reader of self help books with a focus on finance. A big believer in taking action, she wastes no time tackling obstacles that lie ahead. When it comes to her endeavors in business and entrepreneurship, she'd rather be stuck with oh well than what if.

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