By Pavithra Gopalakrishnan & Yoong Chia Chuen (BAC Apprentices)
Many academicians, in the last decade, have embarked on research to find the interrelationship between working environment and productivity, including job satisfaction of an employee in various sectors. This was when the ‘FUN’ factor was introduced. Many employees also feel that a fun working employment is one of the biggest factors which determines their productivity and positive contribution to the company.
Thus, we have listed down several ways of making any working environment fun for the employees which would result in an exponential graph of productivity.
Here we go…
1.Wellness starts at work
“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.” ~Arabian proverb
Many employers do provide their employees with Medical Insurance, Dental Plan, and other health related reimbursements. As much as these are vital for an employee, they do not directly affect the employee’s productivity at the work place. Going the extra mile, employers can start partnering with local gyms and trainers to arrange weekly fun Zumba sessions or calming Yoga sessions at the workplace.
The importance of health and wellness must be instilled amongst employees, but instead of making it a rigid activity, well-planned enjoyable sessions would definitely increase productivity of employees at the workplace.
In short, showing the employees you want them to live happy, healthy lifestyles is another way of showing them how important they are to your company.
2.Team building x Technology: Kahut/Slido
Let us start with a short story. It was a Tuesday morning, exactly one month into the BAC Apprenticeship Program. Group 9 was having a Zoom meeting to discuss their upcoming assignment and tasks for Project BACking B40. The team leader could see that the rest of the team members needed a morale boost. So, she decided to conduct a Slido session which consisted of some very comical questions. Believe us, only a few seconds into the session, there were smiles on all faces. Morale boosted; MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Well, with the rise of technology giving access to many useful Applications, they can be utilised for team building exercises. In any office environment, where all attention would be on computer screens, an occasional sharing of funny memes or a weekly poll on the brand of ‘coffee of the week’ at the pantry can be fun. Undoubtedly, such engagements will increase productivity of employees while working in a fun environment.
3.Swear Jar vs Kindness Jar
In western countries, Swear Jar is a concept to help discourage people from swearing. Every time someone utters a swear word, others who witness it collect a “fine”, by insisting that the offender put some money into the box.
We Malaysians have been instilled with the importance of being polite from childhood. On that note, employers can adopt the swear jar concept and introduce ‘Kindness Jar’ in their workplace.
Kindness Jar encourages employees to be kind to each other. Similar to a Swear Jar, every time someone is kind to another, the person on the receiving end will have to put some money into the jar. At the end of every month, the employer can treat their employees using the money collected.
In the beginning, it may seem like a strange practice but it will definitely make any workplace fun. Not only would this practice increase productivity but it will also uphold a childhood lesson.
Productivity can be measured in many ways, but some things never change. If employees are being drawn away from their work due to hunger, chances are, productivity suffers as a result.
If employers want to give employees something fun to look forward to at the workplace, snack stations are a great idea. In addition, switching the type of snack every fortnight would also keep employees on their toes.
As for productivity, take note that providing office snacks keeps employees from leaving their work stations and taking unnecessary breaks. Since they are not rushing out to buy something from the nearest store, less time is spent re-focusing on tasks at hand.
The advantages of office snacks are threefold; providing tasty treats in a fun way, financial savings for employees, while increasing productivity.
5.Chase away routines
Reaching targets, fulfilling clients’ needs, and chasing deadlines are just some terms that may add pressure on an employee. Although pressure at work is a normal occurrence in any field, too much stress will also result in reduced levels of productivity.
One great way for employers to optimise productivity amongst employees in such a situation will be to allow for a change of routine occasionally. Perhaps, surprise the employees by holding meetings outdoors. A meeting in Royal Lake Club or in a simple yet laid-back ‘mamak‘ shop would be a fun mix to a strict routine.
A minor change in routines would make employees strive better to meet deadlines as they learn to realise that there will be more fun times waiting ahead. Chasing away routines once in a while will definitely increase productivity amongst employees.
Above are just five simple ways to balance the equation – between having fun at the workplace and increasing productivity. We call upon employers to wipe the slate clean and start putting some effort into making the working environment a fun one for their employees, post pandemic.
Now is the chance to show your employees that you do not care about profits alone, but also about those who work hard to bring about those profits.
“There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” ~ Richard Branson~