Since the chain is only as strong as its weakest link, it’s safe to assume that a business’ external success will only exist if a business has internal success — and that starts with employee relations. Too often, the office dynamic is not considered a significant part of a business or company when in reality, it can be the most crucial variable in the formula for success. With that being said, here are some ways to truly foster openness, collaboration, and inspiration within your office:
1) A suggestion box
Something that we do here at Pepper Gang is leave a jar of candy next to a suggestion jar on the main table in the office. If you want to take a piece of candy, you MUST leave a serious suggestion in the box, no matter how big (or small) the suggestion is. This encourages a lot of feedback from employees anonymously, which is a great way to hear the genuine concerns and ideas of the office.
2) A daily ritual
As mentioned in this Pepper Hub blog post, creating a daily ritual in the workplace outside of meetings and work projects is a great way to bring together your employees. For example, everyday at noon employees can drop everything they’re doing and meet in the conference room for a 5-minute arm workout; or every Monday morning, someone can read their favorite motivational quote (like we do); or every Friday, you can kick the weekend off with a fun game like Heads Up! Routine and lightheartedness, although not as flashy as some of our other ideas, are still great ways to slowly and steadily raise camaraderie in the workplace, so don’t be afraid to get silly with your office.
3) A surprise happy hour every now and then
Doing something outside the office space is a great way for employees to start building genuine connections with each other. If your office practices summer Fridays, use one Friday as an opportunity to all walk/drive over to a bar close by and have a few drinks. It’s a well known fact that everyone is itching to get out on Fridays and start their weekends. So, help them kick them off by suggesting a happy hour! A casual hangout might be the perfect way for employees to get over their work-related frustrations.
4) Leave doors open
Physical openness can usually lead to emotional openness. By having everyone keep their office doors open (sans, perhaps, important conference/client calls) you can create a friendlier, more collaborative work space. Doors create the illusion of separation and distance, so it’s important that you get rid of those physical barriers. By doing so hopefully you will be avle to get rid of the barriers that sometimes exist within the hierarchy of a business.
5) Go outside
Have everyone in the office take their lunch break all at once and, together, walk around outside if the weather’s nice. Whether it’s a stroll to the park or a simple walk around the building, getting everyone’s legs moving and faces feeling the warmth of the sun may inspire more than just work friendships — it may also inspire some new ideas out of your employees.
6) An office potluck
Everyone loves free food! Pick a day every month or so where employees all bring in a food item for a potluck-style meal. Some may go for homemade cultural dishes while others will bring in store-bought brownies. No matter what, every dish will be appreciated and eaten by your hungry employees anyway. This is a great opportunity for people to show a new side of themselves to their co-workers, whether it be by showing off their baking or sharing stories about their culture’s food.