4 Easy Hacks to Create a Happy Workplace

It’s no secret that happy staff make the wheels spin in a productive workplace. While organisations, managers and bosses can’t make changes to every aspect of the working day, there are easy ways to implement change that can make a world of difference, and we share our favourite four below.

Exiting employees cost big bucks

High staff turnover has a significant negative impact on the bottom line of any business, not least the time and financial costs of the recruitment process. So creating a happy, healthy workplace is critical to business success.

The hidden costs of high employee turnover are not to be ignored either. A constantly rotating door of employees can have a debilitating impact on staff morale, and is shown to slow productivity by interrupting business system flow across the company while staff train new employees.

Industries most impacted by high employee turnover are typically retail, hospitality, trades, construction and service industries. Today however, with proactive global talent agencies tasked with hunting exceptional talent, people are being shoulder-tapped for jobs overseas. So no organisation is safe from the exodus.

The cost of replacing a mid to high level employee is estimated to be the equivalent of their six to nine month salary. So if a salary is $80,000 per annum, the cost to a business when that employee leaves is anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000. For CEOs, this is estimated to be much more than the salary, as much as 213%.

Even a waged employee on $20 per hour would cost an average business around $7,000 when they leave.
Great talent not only grows a business, but they are integral to an organisation’s thriving, vibrant culture. So it makes sense to keep the best on your team.

1. Go green

Plants are the unsung hero of workplaces. While it’s known that plants transform carbon dioxide to oxygen, thus replenishing stale office air, they have remarkable abilities to detoxify the workplace.

Indoor air pollution is on the rise with formaldehyde being one of the biggest nasties. Yes, people in offices are breathing in embalming solution on the daily! Other airborne toxins on the rise are benzene, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, insecticides, phenols from chemical disinfectants, and radon.

Sustained exposure to these toxins in offices has been labelled ‘sick building syndrome’, where people experience everything from chronic allergies, headaches and migraine, chronic fatigue, immune and central nervous system disorders, and even cancer.

NASA brings us great news! Its scientists collated a list of 50 plants that eliminate these nasties, led by Dr B.C. Wolverton who wrote How to Grow Fresh Air - 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office. Top on the list are palms, rubber plants, ferns and the peace lily.

Plus, plants are a quick and cost effective way to introduce colour and vibrancy to an office.

2. Create comfy breakout spaces

While it may seem counterintuitive to managers to create a breakout space for staff to chill out, meditate, pray, read, or even nap, evidence suggests otherwise. Now being called the ‘third space’, a well-considered breakout room trumps the ‘tea room’ for enabling employees to refresh, take time out and become more alert and productive afterwards.

By stepping away from screens, office chatter, and the general hum of a busy office, staff can reflect, recharge, clear their thinking, remove mental blocks, and boost concentration.

Quiet spaces set aside for wellbeing, such as yoga or prayer rooms, improve staff wellbeing, and get people away from long stretches of time sitting on chairs. Matched with a well-managed practice of encouraging people to step away from their desks once an hour has the double-win of making staff feel valued as well as lowering accumulated stress levels, and improving physical health.

Decorating spaces with home comforts, such as rugs, throws, scatter pillows, oil diffusers and lamps, can add to the experience of relaxation. Evidence shows, too, that creative banter between employees in chill out zones can generate creative ideas.

3. Improve creativity with LEGO

LEGO is an exceptional brain game and is not just for kids. These small building blocks develop cognitive function, refine motor skills, focus the brain, increase pattern-making ability, improve hand-eye coordination and spatial skills. On top of that, by using LEGO, people develop more divergent thinking and better creative problem solving skills.

By using LEGO, research shows adults are able to solve complex problems and develop more intricate design solutions, as well as improve logic, and even increase IQ through creative play.

When LEGO is available in a break out space, when staff build together, it increases cooperation and empathy while benefiting overall communication, especially when language is a barrier.

4. Support staff working remotely

Hiring the best sometimes means managers need to compromise on the way the business has “always done things”. Working remotely is increasingly a reasonable request from employees and it can have huge added benefits on work productivity and the business' bottom line.
Having a remote employee hire structure means bosses can employ talent based on the skill they bring into the business, rather than where they live being the key measure. Today, designers, writers, engineers, architects, software developers, website developers, customer service teams, online community managers, salespeople and more can work for your business from anywhere in the world.

The stress of travel and parking, and the interruptions of meetings can be detrimental to productivity and add to increased stress levels, particularly on intensive, time-sensitive projects. This is why allowing employees to work from home a day a week so they can focus distraction-free is on the increase. Plus it’s a win to work-life balance making staff happier and healthier.

All this adds up to increased productivity, attracting the best talent, and creating an organisation where people want to stay.