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Today's Question: When employees get bored, they grow disengaged. When they grow disengaged, their productivity takes a hit. Sometimes, they even up and leave. How do you keep your workplace fresh to avoid employee boredom and all the ills that come with it?
1. Start a Company Wish List
One way we keep the Doubledot Media office environment from feeling stagnant or boring is with our company wish list. Employees have a constant outlet for sharing their ideas on this communal list, and I encourage everyone to contribute. Not only do people feel more personally involved in the overall goals and success of the company, but they also tend to feel more motivated when working on projects that they suggested for the wish list. I entertain all suggestions, and together we implement the best ones.
— Simon Slade, SaleHoo
2. Give Employees Something New to Do
If you're facing the issue of employee boredom, the reality of the situation is, you can't just reinvent an employee's job. If you hired someone to focus on SEO and link building, then that should be 80 percent of their day. However, you can give them new stuff to work on in addition to their current tasks to help keep things fresh. It doesn't have to be 100 percent new stuff every day, but at least a portion of their day should include something new.
For example, you can give them a project that is different from what they normally do and isn't similar to their job description. Try to find a small, manageable project that will increase your employee's skills and keep them engaged. Be sure that it is also beneficial to the company.
Finally, create an environment where opinions and feedback are valued. Give your employees the chance to reflect on what they're doing and to give suggestions on how they can do it better. If you get them involved in the shaping of their positions, they will be more engaged because they will have more direct input into improving things over time.
— Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business
3. Be Creative With Break Time
As employees of a digital marketing agency, our jobs can become monotonous. Multiple tweets a day, day after day, can run your usual twenty-something account manager into the ground. Therefore, creative intervals are an absolute must to ensure continued employee engagement and excitement.
The best way to keep people working creatively? Give them time to not work! Implementing mindfulness, careful breaks, and parts of the day where you're specifically not supposed to be thinking about work means that when you do need to get back to the desk, your creative juices will be flowing. It sounds counterintuitive, but 10 minutes not working will make the next 50 minutes far more effective!
— Flynn Zaiger, Online Optimism Advertising
4. Let Employees Customize Their Workspaces
Recently, my company has started an initiative to pay for employees to redecorate their offices and workspaces. This initiative has been highly successful and has helped create a much more welcoming and engaging environment for the employees.
For my decorations, I've chosen a zen theme, with a small desktop fountain, a bonsai tree, and a forest tapestry to help encourage relaxation and calmness – even when I'm putting in extra work to finish up a big project under a deadline.
In addition to helping me relieve stress at work, the ability to customize and design my workspace has shown me that my employer cares about and is invested in my well-being in the workplace. This is the first time that I've had an employer offer an option such as this, and this small gesture goes far in keeping me engaged and active at work.
— Jessi Carr, Inseev Interactive
5. Get Weird
The best way to keep your employees engaged is to have weird events.
For example: I am a huge fan of the Olympics. I believe it fosters competitiveness, teamwork, hard work, and overall fun. At the end of the day, we need those same qualities in the office.
Every two years, we conduct "Office Olympics." We make a list of "sports" and activities in which our team can garner points/medals. There are some simple things that garner points ("Say hello to everybody in the morning") and more complicated things as well ("Bake the entire office a cookie"). You would be surprised how competitive people get. You would also be surprised how much this increases morale in the company.
— Sebastien Dupéré, Dupray
6. Leave the Office
Once per month, we hold "Explorer Day." We pair up two employees to explore Chicago and learn something new. Together, they determine an activity of interest and then report on their outing to the entire team at our next monthly meeting. Explorers are given this day as PTO with the expectation that they will use a few hours to take a tour, attend a workshop/festival, or do some other fun activity to help develop their relationship and ultimately improve bonds between the entire team.
— Alex Young, ePageCity
7. Adopt a Pet
In an effort to combat boredom, we have introduced Roxy, a fun-loving and energetic husky, into the office. Studies show that having an office dog is proven to lower stress and increase productivity, and Sacatelle is no exception to that rule. Additionally, our office is uniquely stocked with a coffee station, a vintage popcorn machine, and a candy table, as well as big windows offering a great view.
— Ikey Bensimhon, Sacatelle
8. Foster Transparency
There are two keys to avoiding employee boredom and disengagement: making sure your employees are empowered to think without limits and making it clear why their work matters. You can achieve both of these things with transparency.
At BetterWorks, we've set a standard that everyone publicizes their goals and progress on those goals each quarter, so we have no secrets as a team. This transparency helps employees see how they're each a crucial asset, and they feel empowered to think and perform beyond their immediate to do-lists based on what the company needs long term. When employees are thinking without limits, it's nearly impossible for boredom to creep in.
— Kris Duggan, BetterWorks