Don’t Paint Your Office Pink!
Is your office flat lining because of those long and dark wintry days? Or maybe because of that particularly hefty and exhausting project your company just got handed? Those lulls in productivity or tense and straining silences in your office can occur at any given moment for any number of reasons. Ultimately, it’s because the motivation has fizzled.
New hires and existing employees alike, motivation is always a key factor behind productivity in any office. In our count, there are seven avenues to motivating employees. Some may be obvious, but others are easy to forget about in the rush of the work day. You’ll find that most employees respond best to a combination of these, so read on and find out how you can spark that energy boost.
Most companies aim to run the kind of office where they employ people who aren’t just working for the money, but are motivated by purpose and the need to make a real impact. If an employee thinks their work is basically pointless, they won’t put the effort in. Get them motivated by frequently pointing out the role of their work in the big picture and your company’s vision. Whether their impact is short term, long term, or even minimal, your employees need to know their purpose.
Micro-management is a highly un-motivational term that no one wants to hear, let alone experience. Understandably, you can’t often give an employee total freedom over their work, but you can usually still provide some level of autonomy. If an employee knows that no one will be constantly looking over their shoulder, they will be more motivated to take their responsibilities seriously and be more productive in their role. Even if it’s a small factor of their job, the more autonomy you provide, the more motivated an employee you’ll have on your hands.
The better an employee knows they’re doing, the more motivated they will be to do it. To build this reputation in their own eyes and the eyes of others, you’ll have to provide frequent feedback that goes beyond those dreaded annual reviews. It can be as simple as a “good job” or “thank you” in everyone’s ear shot, or a five minute meeting with an employee to tell them that you appreciate their work. A good rule of thumb is praise in public, keep criticism behind closed doors, and give credit to everyone who deserves it, even if their role was small.
If people are faced with the same mundane, no-brainpower-needed jobs day in day out, they won’t care about doing better. On the other hand, if you present your employees with a challenge, you’ll immediately spark their motivation. Give them challenges that relate to their strengths or to skills you know they want to develop. Let them figure it out first and only provide help if they ask for it. If people know that they may frequently encounter challenges, they’ll work harder to keep their brains active, meaning they’ll be more productive in other work too.
Some people are motivated by the simple fact that if they put in the hard work, they’ll receive something in return (that is, beyond their base wage). Many companies have a bonus structure in place for this purpose, but this is not the only option. Other rewards include contests and incentives, with small prizes like gift certificates or tickets. Also consider rewards like extra time off or official monthly awards. Additionally, there are services out there that provide incentive programs in which employees gain points towards prizes of their choice. Ultimately, rewards can be a huge motivator if you know what your employees respond to best.
A dull or stressful work environment can certainly hinder motivation. Throw some fun in the mix so your employees can get excited about work, let off steam, and start thinking creatively. Your options here are endless. Simple forms of fun such as toy basketball hoops, stress balls, and nerf guns are creative stress relievers. Social events like potluck lunches, movie nights, or bowling trips, and other fun factors such as free food, birthday celebrations, and casual days can all get your employees excited about coming to work. When people know their job isn’t all work and no fun, they’re more motivated when it comes to the work part.
You may be surprised by how much the paint color, lighting, and floor plan of your office can affect an employee’s motivation. For example, medium greens and pale blues are soothing colors that inspire production, while light oranges and magentas spark creativity and motivation. On the other hand, pink, lime green, and yellow are too stimulating and distracting to have any motivational effect on productivity. In regards to lighting, it’s important to find a happy medium between dim, soft light and harsh white, fluorescent light. The most motivational floor plans are open and flowing. These aren’t usually factors you think about in regards to motivation, but they can be just as important.
-Clare Saumell – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis