It’s the beginning of a new year, and you want your team members to be as happy and productive as possible. A little while ago, we talked about some easy wellness ideas you can implement. Here are other novel ways you might switch things up for the better.
Nix Email After 11PM
People who work all day generally need to sleep at night. If you want healthy and happy employees, don’t encourage them to be online at all hours. Tell your team, flat out, that they can do what they want with their own time but their manager and colleagues don’t want to hear from them after “curfew.” And whatever you do, don’t send email yourself after 11PM. This behavior is likely what started your team on it in the first place. Young employees in particular are vulnerable to pressure to work all the time and be available whenever their bosses are, and often try to one-up one another in this respect.
As I said last year, open offices need to go away. But that aside, you might also get rid of permanent seating arrangements. In the Wall Street Journal, Rachel Feintzeig interviewed Christian Catalini, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management who studies workplace efficiency. Christian recently examined the impact of proximity at an academic campus in Paris. When scientists were shuffled around to different buildings because of an asbestos problem, the result was more experimentation and more breakthrough ideas. Changing up seating also prompted workers to meet, collaborate with, and form friendships with a greater variety of people. It keeps things interesting without sacrificing too much privacy.
Devices like the FitBit, which track actions like steps walked and time slept, are surprisingly effective in nudging people toward new and better habits. Purchase FitBits for your whole team (they’re not that expensive) and launch a contest to track who walks the most steps in a week. The competition aspect will spur your employees to get out of their chairs more. Note: there are apps that track steps too, but because many women don’t carry their smartphones on their persons, the FitBit bracelet is more effective.
Take a Field Trip
Three types of offsite adventures can be beneficial to your team. There’s the obvious and frequently employed team retreat, which allows your group to step out of its comfort zone and explore issues in a fresh environment. But a trip to a related facility (for instance, one of your company’s factories, or a customer, partner, or competitor site) can also be eye-opening and useful for learning about the big picture. You might also consider a volunteer day. Taking your team to serve a soup kitchen or build a playground will not only provide an opportunity to give back, but it will also offer an important perspective on how fortunate your employees are to have (relatively) stable, well-paying, professional jobs.
Institute Commute-Free Fridays
Commuting shaves years off people’s lives, especially if one has to drive. Even if you don’t have the power or desire to permit your team to work remotely most or all of the time, you can probably manage one day a week. If Friday doesn’t work, pick another day on which your team can meet virtually and fulfill their responsibilities without the strain of the crowded train or the gridlocked car. This step toward greater flexibility will boost employee motivation and, without commuting time and the distractions of the in-office environment, will likely improve their productivity as well.