21 Jan 20 tips to dial up the positivity in your workplace in 2020
It’s a new year, so what better time for a fresh dose of optimism in your workplace? Whether you manage a team of two, 20 or 200, you’ll know that the energy you bring has a big impact on those around you. That’s why this month, we’re sharing some small – and often inexpensive – things you can do to keep your team smiling, day after day.
1. Give praise or thanks every day
Try to ‘find’ at least one thing your staff do well… every day. That’s right. Every day.
Maybe they handled the world’s peskiest client with admirable ease? Or perhaps they took the time to clean the office kitchen?
Whatever it is, big or small, make sure their efforts don’t go unnoticed.
2. Create and communicate workplace values
We’re passionate about our 10 workplace values here at iClean. They’re integral to the way we work. We have them plastered all over our walls. And we take every opportunity to ‘live them’.
For example, ‘catch people doing things right’ is one of our favourites – which is no surprise, given our first tip above. Every day, we make a conscious effort to praise and recognise each other for at least one positive deed or accomplishment.
So if you haven’t spent much time thinking about your values, now’s the time to start.
3. Role model those values
As a manager, your actions and behaviours influence those of your team. And they’ll look to you when it comes to living out your workplace values.
For example, another one of our core values is ‘follow the systems’. We want our workplace to run like a well-oiled machine – with clear systems for every aspect of our business.
But of course, our managers must be the first to follow the systems for this value to be meaningful. If we cut corners ourselves, how can we expect our team members not to do the same?
4. Get personal
Don’t panic. We’re not suggesting you invade their personal space or gate crash their family’s weekend trip.
This one is about taking an interest in your staff’s personal lives so that you can be more attuned to the ups and downs they may be going through.
It could be as simple as asking them about their weekends every Monday. But you could also consider something more structured such as one-on-one catchups every fortnight – just to check in and give them the opportunity to share if they choose to.
5. Remember to listen
Let everyone have a say. Whatever their role. Whatever their seniority.
To practise your listening skills, ask for input from your employees – especially for decisions that will impact them directly. This technique can work especially well for the naturally quieter ones who don’t typically feel comfortable sharing.
And show you take all feedback on board, where practical.
We’re not suggesting that just because Margaret from Marketing won’t stop banging on about flip-flop Fridays that means you have to do it. But you can use the opportunity to ask your team what fun changes they might want. (Ideally ones that don’t make the office sound like a St Kilda summer every Friday.)
6. Break the meeting monotony
Let’s face it, meetings can be such a drag.
So why not start by stepping outside for a ‘fresh air’ meeting from time to time? You can even walk around the block while you talk, to keep the oxygen flowing.
7. Hold back on the micromanaging
Yes, your job is to manage. But you’ve also got to give your team some responsibility and freedom.
If you refrain from tracking their every move and insisting on a minute-by-minute breakdown of their day, your team will feel more motivated and empowered. And as a result, they’ll be more relaxed – and more likely to produce quality work.
8. Food to boost the mood
Who doesn’t like being surprised with tasty treats?
Delight your staff with a big bowl of fresh fruit at the start of every week – or some double choc Tim Tams for morning tea.
Or, if you have a long meeting planned, schedule it at lunchtime and provide some fresh sandwiches. After all, if your staff aren’t hangry (anger caused from being hungry), you have a much more positive workplace for everyone!
9. Give back – together
Giving back to the community is always rewarding. But it can be even more rewarding when you do it with others.
So, ask your team what charities or causes are close to their hearts – and find a way to get involved together.
For example, you could enter as a corporate team in a charity fun run or bike ride. Or you may want to do regular volunteering days at a homeless shelter or foodbank.
10. Let them let their hair down… more often
Sadly, Christmas parties come but once a year. And frankly, if that’s the only time you bring your staff together to let their hair down, you’re doing them a disservice.
That’s why we recommend holding social events and gatherings more regularly. Perhaps it’s drinks on a Friday afternoon or a lunch together at a local café once a month.
And when you do get together outside the office, try not to talk about work. That will not help with positivity!
11. Address inefficiencies
Every workplace suffers from inefficiencies in some shape or form. And there’s nothing more frustrating for staff than manual processes, unnecessary duplication or dated technologies that slow them down.
This is a big one, we know. So, do it a step at a time. Start by asking your staff what one thing they need from you to be more efficient at work in 2020.
12. Perform quirky routines for big wins
It’s exciting when you close a big sale, finish that mammoth project – or get positive feedback from your tough-as-nails, hardest to please client. (Hey, it’s the small wins in life, right?)
Why not incorporate a quirky or fun routine that you all do together when you’ve had a success worth celebrating?
You could ring a bell. Do the HAKA. Belt out a song. Set off some fireworks. Whatever. (Okay, maybe not the fireworks one – that sounds like it could set off the workplace sprinklers.)
13. Encourage a healthy lifestyle
You can’t have a healthy mind without a healthy body. And if you’ve got healthy minds in your workplace, the positivity is sure to follow. So, try to find ways to make it easy for your employees to eat well and get regular exercise.
As mentioned, providing fresh fruit every week or having some walking meetings every once in a while are great places to start.
But what about also striking up a discount arrangement with your local gym – or subsiding staff memberships? You could also consider getting a personal trainer, yoga teacher or massage therapist into the office on a regular basis.
14. Add some sunlight and greenery
The research is conclusive: sunlight and greenery in the office increase productivity, engagement and concentration levels. It also adds a bit of personality to your workspace and stops your employees from feeling like they work in a Dilbert comic.
So buy some office plants. Add in a greenwall. And if possible, rearrange workstations to give everyone as much access to sunlight as possible.
15. Treat them on their birthday
How lacklustre is it when you ask someone what they’re doing for their birthday and they respond ‘oh, nothing…’?
Maybe the reason they’re doing ‘nothing’ is because they’ll be at work! Give your employees a day to themselves for their birthday – it’s only comes around once a year after all.
They’re likely to come back feeling refreshed, renewed and more positive than ever!
16. Get flexible!
In today’s age of 24/7 digital connectivity, it’s easy to give your staff some versatility in their working lives.
Maybe it’s earlier start and finish times in the summer months so they can enjoy the sunlight longer. Or perhaps they all get to work from home one day a month.
Better work-life balance, better-rested employees, bigger smiles.
And by giving your staff flexibility, you’re telling them that you trust them, which is the positivity cherry on top of the happiness cake.
17. Make sure they switch off
Yes, 24/7 connectivity can be great for flexibility. But it can also cause extreme stress – if you don’t let your staff switch off.
Even if you like to work into the midnight hours or start your day at 4am, refrain from sending your team emails and notifications at these ungodly hours.
Although you may not expect it, staff may feel compelled to respond immediately.
18. Bring on the pet therapy!
Who doesn’t love a fluffy, four-legged friend?
Research shows that letting your staff bring in their fur babies reduces their stress, which has the added flow-on effect of – you guessed it – greater doggone positivity.
Even just one day a week or month is enough to help your staff feel the pet-love.
19. Invest in them
People can stagnate when they don’t learn new skills or acquire new knowledge. But with regular training and professional development, they’re more likely to feel challenged and engaged.
You could start by asking your team what they each want to achieve or learn this year… in a professional context of course. (You don’t have to foot the bill for them to learn yodelling, for instance. Unless you run some kind of niche German-singing business, in which case, by all means get those enrolments happening.)
If you let your employees reach their potential, they’ll thrive in your workplace.
20. Keep it clean
Dirty toilets, overflowing rubbish bins and sticky floors are a big no-no for workplace positivity.
There’s no question that our surrounds can significantly impact our mood and motivation. So, if a dirty workplace is something you’ve become accustomed to, perhaps it’s time for a new commercial cleaner.
Keeping spaces clean and tidy every day keeps stress levels down – and happiness levels up!