Like fish need water or a hog needs to wallow, your employees will be more productive if you can provide the right environment for them, and a company’s success starts with the environment its employees work in. This doesn’t mean you need to fill your offices with vintage arcade machines and ping pong tables but if your office resembles a metaphorical minefield more than a place of work it’s time to start making changes. Here are 13 tips to help you improve the office atmosphere and motivate employees.

1.Do people feel a part of the company?

This is at #1 for some very good reasons. It is probably the most important consideration for motivating your staff and giving meaning to their work. It has been demonstrated that when employees do not feel a part of the company their work will suffer, and the idea of working toward a common goal will not occur to them. If people feel isolated inside the organization, with no idea of how their particular job contributes to the overall aims of the business they can almost inevitably feel unmotivated and lackadaisical. A corporate and/or team identity can be created in many different ways but explaining to your team what their objectives are and the importance of the specific work that they carry out is a fundamental element of achieving those goals. And remember that it is not enough to do it once. The stating of objectives and the explanation of how an individual’s task fits into and contributes to the whole should be done on a regular basis, and is also necessary when there are staff changes or new hires. Just because the old employee understood what her role was, do not assume that the new one will.

2. Create a good atmosphere

At #2 but equally as important. If you’re in a management position you don’t have to be distant to gain respect. A close, while still correct, relationship with the staff will help to get the most out of them. Really, this second point can be summed up as communication. If your office door is always open people will think that you are a person they can talk to, and you will be facilitating the exchange of opinions and information, one of the most important elements for creating a good office atmosphere. How many awkward situations could be solved by two people sitting down and clearly stating their case?.

3. Good working conditions

Putting the right resources in the hands of your team
is one of the most effective ways to make their working conditions better. But it is not only that, it is also other considerations such as good temperature regulation (A/C, heating), natural light, a few plants, a kitchen area. Many years ago Hewlett Packard made some changes to the layout in one of their main offices and later discovered that work and morale were both affected. After Human Resources did some investigation they discovered that it was the elimination of the water cooler as a space-saving measure that was the root of the problem. The water cooler had become the informal hub of the office, where people from different departments gathered and informally shared information. It turns out that this informal networking was an essential way that new developments were communicated and information was shared. Not surprisingly, good working conditions produce good work.

4. Give your employees the power to take meaningful decisions

Micromanaging everything is an annoying and unhelpful tic that many managers suffer from. Delegating to your team is a great way to include them more purposefully in the work of the company and give them a sense of responsibility and connection with the business. If you want your company to grow let your employees grow as well. The more you can get out of the human capital at your disposal the better. If that means allowing your employees to make mistakes, so be it. That’s how you learn.

5. Give your employees a voice

Emancipating your employees can be a good way to get productive feedback on how your business is carried out. Those working daily with your applications or your customers can provide useful insights and help to increase productivity or reduce costs in a specific area.

6. Activate your human resources

Classic cases are 3M or Google who encourage their workers to develop side-projects on company time and without the need for usable outcomes. A range of popular consumer goods and services has resulted from activating a company’s human assets and giving workers a voice and a platform to contribute more meaningfully.

7. Flexitime

A good work/life balance is not always easy to achieve but you can help by giving your people options apart from the ironbound 9 to 5. Numerous time and motion studies have demonstrated that working to objectives is more productive than merely clocking in and out, and avoids fostering a culture of presenteeism.

8. Praise

Again, a pat on the back is always welcome and is demonstrated to be a motivating factor even for highly paid employees. Humans are social creatures and require also human motivations, not only economic ones. Giving praise when it has been earned can be the difference between a worker feeling implicated in the latest project, or just adding it passionlessly to their to-do list.

9. Train up your staff

Training employees is not only imperative for them to be able to carry out their functions but it also provides an extra shot of morale. If you don’t fully understand the goals of the project you’re working on, or the software you have to use, or the purpose of the piece you manufacture, can be frustrating and end up generating feelings of insecurity. Knowing exactly what you are doing and why makes punching in on a Monday morning a little less traumatic.

10. Integrate new team members

We all know the importance of first impressions. The first 48 hours are crucial for your new employees to start feeling like they belong. You may prefer to keep a low profile when you are starting a new job in a new office, at least until you get to know the ropes, but it doesn’t mean you want to be left alone. A warm welcome will make new members feel like one of the team and a part of a shared project.

11. Compensate your employees accordingly

Money remains the prime reason people get out of bed in the morning, and attaining bonuses or pluses is still a fine way to motivate staff. However you decide to use economic motivation remember that it is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal and that your competitors also wield it. If you don’t compensate your people adequately someone else will!

12. Incentivize

As well as economic motivators, you can incentivize your workers in other ways: time off, coupons, a day at a spa or a set of steak knives. The thing is, to identify what a specific person would appreciate and offer it to them. Now that’s motivation!

13. Generate expectations

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a four-dimensional concept, although sociologists often forget the fourth dimension, Time. To be truly satisfied humans need short- medium and long-term projects, objectives that are time related, not only the satisfaction of immediate urges. At work, this means that your staff needs to feel that they are progressing, that every day is not a photocopy of the day before. Offering a professional trajectory that creates expectations of growth will motivate more than brandishing a big stick.

Follow these tips and your workers will, if not openly adore and praise your leadership, at least come to work with more of a spring in their step and a gleam in their eye. Work will no longer mean a senseless round of drudgery, humiliation and frustration, but an opportunity to grow as a professional and make a dignified living. Don’t you want your team telling their friends what a great place to work your office is?