As the new year begins, many business executives return to the office with a renewed sense of purpose.

But this is not the case for everyone. Employees’ productivity and efficiency levels may suffer from low morale and post-holiday blues. Expert leadership can anticipate and, more importantly, implement solutions to boost employee morale.

For a thriving, motivated company culture, it is vital to celebrate and show employees your appreciation year-round.

Try these 10 employee morale-boosting activities at your office today!

1. Team-building exercises

It’s easy for employees to feel unappreciated and disconnected from coworkers if they don’t know each other beyond their professional lives. Employee engagement exercises are a great way to help your people form friendships and work together more effectively. Creating quarterly or biannual opportunities for employees to build rapport will improve collaborative efforts and drive company culture. This is crucial in 2023 as the workplace is becoming more and more dynamic — so much that virtual team-building exercises are seeing a 2,500% increase.

Many team-building activities are easy to execute and inexpensive. Some of the most popular team-building activities include:

  • Blindfolded trust falls. This activity requires that everyone takes off their blindfolds, as they fall back into the arms of another person on their team.
  • Karaoke. Team members take turns singing karaoke songs in front of their coworkers.
  • Treasure hunts or scavenger hunts around the office. Clues may be written in code or hidden by location (such as the breakroom). Employees are often tasked with photographing props at certain locations or going through specific doors in a certain order.

In the planning stages, make sure your Human Resources department has considered the unique needs of your team. It’s important to select an activity in which everyone can participate. Consider physical boundaries, disabilities, and other barriers to participation before finalizing plans.]

2. Mentor programs

Welcoming new hires and helping them feel more comfortable with their role is crucial to employee lifecycle management. Mentorship is a great way to help new employees learn the ropes. For example, if an employee is unsure of how to use their company’s software or where to find certain files and documents, they can get answers from their mentor. This can be fulfilled by a manager or even a loyal employee who does not oversee their performance. 

Mentoring programs can also foster a more inclusive environment by connecting people who may otherwise have little in common. Thanks to being connected through mentorship, employees can get to know each other on a more personal level and find a shared sense of purpose.

3. Company incentives

According to a study by Stanford University, incentives can be monetary or non-monetary. Team-based incentives are more effective than individual ones for improving performance, but only when the team members share the same goal.

Incentives should be relevant to the job and simple enough for employees to understand quickly. It’s important that you give employees time to adjust their behavior before evaluating whether or not they have been successful in changing their behavior based on your incentive program.

4. Make the office a destination

It’s all too easy to take for granted the physical space where you spend most of your waking hours. But if it’s not inviting, comfortable, or otherwise desirable in some way, it can have a major impact on employee morale.

The best office spaces don’t just look good — they’re designed with purpose. Workspaces should provide employees with flexibility and comfort necessary to thrive throughout the workday, both individually and as a team. They also offer perks like dynamic schedules and hybrid work models.

Whether you’re working from home or out of a bustling coworking space, when creating your own personal version of nirvana (digitally or physically) remember these three components: comfort, community and convenience.

5. Annual events

Fostering a sense of camaraderie will help to build a robust company culture! It’s important that you create an annual (or even semi-annual) event because it gets people excited about the company — which will pay off in the long run. Moreover, enjoying recreational time with each other off the clock is another opportunity to bond.

There are many ways to host events outside of the workplace on an annual basis. Hosting a company-wide picnic or BBQ is a great way to bring everyone together. You could also host a retreat or simply invite employees over for dinner.

6. Cross-train employees

People feel valued when they are given opportunities to learn new skills, and cross-training is an excellent way of giving employees this kind of opportunity. By doing so, you will not only improve employee engagement and morale, but also increase your organization’s productivity in the long run.

7. Celebrate birthdays

Birthdays are also a great opportunity for your employees to feel appreciated by their coworkers and managers. If you want your team to be happy with their work environment, it is important that they feel valued on their special day!

You can make this happen by hosting an office birthday party where everyone gets together for pizza or cake & ice cream (or an allergen-friendly sweet treat)! But don’t forget about those who aren’t able to join in on the festivities — posting employee birthday greetings on social media will let everyone know how much people care about them outside of work hours too!

8. Get involved in the community

When you create opportunities to get involved in your local community, team members will see that you care about the bigger picture beyond work. It’s a great way to show how much they matter to the company and how important they are as individuals.

Giving back to the community as a team also builds morale by adding to your workers’ sense of purpose. When you, as a leader, express an authentic desire to take care of the community, your team is likely to rally around important causes and work together to make an impact outside of the workplace. This not only improves your local community, but again promotes a satisfying company culture.

9. Provide work tools

The workplace has moved from large offices to a more distributed landscape. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are no longer tied to brick-and-mortar workplaces. Many companies now offer their workers the ability to clock in from anywhere they want (within reason).

Because of this rise in remote work, there is an increased demand for software tools designed to boost productivity and improve efficiency. Some basic technology you should make accessible to your workforce:

  • An instant messenger app that allows employees to communicate with each other from anywhere within their offices or from home
  • A messaging platform that allows you to send messages via email, text messages, phone calls, or face-to-face conversations
  • A project management software platform that helps you keep track of all your projects at once
  • A video conferencing tool that allows you to meet with colleagues in real-time
  • Video editing software and video compressor tools to create easy but powerful presentations and reports

10. Buddy systems

Another way to improve morale is by creating a buddy system. A buddy system is a program that pairs employees together in order to help them accomplish specific goals. These can be anything from mentoring and professional development, to simply helping each other feel more connected with the company.

Buddy systems are great because they’re flexible and can be used for both lower-level employees as well as higher ones. For example, one department may have an employee who doesn’t have much managerial experience or technical knowledge but wants to learn more about these things; another department may have some expertise in these areas, but no one has time to teach them properly. By setting up a buddy system, everyone wins!

If you want to create a more positive and successful workplace, it’s important to make your employees feel included. They’ll be more likely to stay if they feel like they’re part of the team, and they’ll work harder when they know how much you appreciate them. But most importantly, when employees feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves — like family — they’re far less likely to abandon ship in search of greener pastures.

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