Creating a Happy and Productive Work Environment

Retaining your employees is essential for ensuring stability and protecting the bottom line. For one, every time an employee leaves you lose valuable skills. Further, training new employees takes time and can cause disruptions in work flows. As such, it is essential to keep your staff happy and committed to your company.

Despite what you might think money is not the only factor for keeping employees committed to your company. Yes, financial considerations will always be important for your employees and no amount of non-monetary rewards will keep employees committed if they are unable to enjoy financial security. Still, once employees are financially secure non-monetary benefits can be very effective in increasing employee retention.

Vacation time is one of the most well known non-monetary incentives. Of course, vacation time does cost the company money but the employee him or herself does not see increased annual earnings. Vacation time allows employees to pursue their own desires or to get much needed R&R. Doing unique things, like giving employees their birthdays off or celebrating the occasional random holiday, such as Chinese New Year, with a day off can also make work more fun.

Another more radical option is to shorten the work week by a few hours. While managers may fear that this will result in decreased productivity, studies have suggested that small reductions in working hours can actually increase productivity. Most employees simply don’t work at 100% through all 40 hours of the average work week. A lot of time ends up spent playing around on the Internet or standing around the water cooler.

When managed with the right expectations and clear communication a shortened work week will cut down on “wasted” time while increasing “productive” time. Employees need to know that work loads must still stay the same but that they can enjoy a shorter work day if they get all of their work done on time. This can result in energetic and hard working employees. When managed properly many employees can be just as productive working 35 hours a week as they are when working 40 hours per week.

Another great option is flex-time. Flex time allows employees some say over which hours they work. For example, instead of working from 9 to 5 an employee might instead choose to work from 10 to 6. This allows employees to adjust their working hours to better suit their own personal needs. For example, a person might need to drop his or her child off at school at 9 AM or another person might simply not be a morning person. While letting an employee “sleep in” may sound like bad business practice, a well-rested employee is likely be more productive.

Figuring out which policies will work best requires time and effort. One of the best ways to figure out what will increase productivity and make employees happier is to actually ask them. This creates a more collaborative atmosphere and employees feel more respected when they are allowed to provide input. Either way, in an increasingly competitive global landscape a productive and happy workforce is quickly becoming essential and non-monetary benefits are quickly becoming essential.


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