How To Make Your Office More Fun | sheerluxe.com
The average employee spends over 92,000 hours at work during their lifetime, so making sure they’re enjoying their time in the office is essential. And as many employers know, happy employees lead to better output and company loyalty. With this in mind, we asked businesses how they keep their employees content during office hours…
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Research shows that a happy office will not only be more productive – a study by the University of Warwick recently revealed happy staff saw productivity go up by 20% – but will also avoid increased levels of stress and anxiety. It’s common knowledge that the office can be a stressful place, but there are ways to make it more enjoyable for staff, even during the tough moments. In a survey by Liberty Games, one-third of UK office workers said healthy snacks and drinks would increase happiness in the workplace, while 39% said an office dog would best please them (and 30% claimed a comfortable climate was the secret to success). Here’s what UK business are doing to make their office a more fun place to be…
 

Cut Out ‘Work Chat’

There’s a time and a place for talking shop, and your lunch break isn’t it. Fuel PR encourage their employees to leave the office on their lunch break and to talk about all things except work. They even take their employees out for a monthly pub lunch so they can all have a catch up on life rather than work. “It’s a great way of getting to know your colleagues on a personal level,” Natalia Pareja, the company’s Social Media Executive tells us. “It is also a nice way of getting out of the office and having a proper break away from your desk.”
 

Take Your Meetings Outside

Watching a PowerPoint presentation in a warm meeting room is enough to send anyone to sleep, so if you want your employees to stay engaged and give them a change of scenery, take your meetings outside. From its health benefits to improved communication, there are plenty of pros to taking your meetings out into the open (we wrote about them here.) Rachel Smith, Creative Partner at & SMITH, takes her staff on a walk instead of keeping them cooped up in the office: “We’re lucky enough to work next door to a beautiful park, so we’ve started to do a few internal meetings there. We walk together in the fresh air, as opposed to sitting down in our regular meeting room. It can look a bit odd, six people with identical meeting notes, doing a few laps of the park, but I think the strangeness is part of the appeal.” Time to start bringing your trainers to work...
 

Offer Office Snacks

A well-fed office is a happy office, as we learnt from Liberty’s study. And that’s exactly the ethos Cal Lee, Head of flexible working brand Workthere says: “Complimentary food and drink is a great way to keep a productive and happy workforce, keeping them energised as well as encouraging them to socialise in the kitchen or break-out space. It can be simple snacks and drinks such as fresh fruit, biscuits, juices and some good quality coffee.” But keep most of the snacks healthy – as we know, overdosing on unhealthy foods can make you feel instantly lethargic.
 

Treat Staff During Tough Periods

There’s always a point in the working year where staff are working full throttle to meet important deadlines – don’t forget to let your staff know that their hard work during these times is greatly appreciated, says James Shillaker, Director of Incorpore. “December is a particularly busy month for our company, so a few years ago we created ‘Treat Week’ to help inject some fun and stress relief into this busy time of the year. During Treat Week, our employees are split up into five teams and for each day of the week they work together to bring in different goodies,” he tells us. “This year, one team did a breakfast-themed treat, and another did an Indian-themed lunch.” Plus, James says, it encourages members from other departments to mingle with each other, leading to quality team bonding time. “Plus, everyone loves to take a break to enjoy some nice food and drink. Staff go back to their desks happier, more relaxed and refreshed ready to conquer the rest of the day.”
 

Get Rid Of Dingy Office Environments

There’s nothing more depressing than walking into an office with bad lighting, grey walls and carpet that looks about 100 years old. Of all the companies we spoke to, many of them said the way the office is laid out is just as important to making the office a more exciting and sociable place to be as ensuring people leave their desks at lunchtime. Georgie Evans, Brand & Communications Director at The Wedding Present Co says her office have benefitted from a “snug” desk arrangement: “We have positioned our desks so that we can all sit close to one another and ensuring that we can all see one another. We have made our desk area snug and cosy meaning there’s no hollering across the office if we need anything - everything is kept close and informal.”

Katie Mallinson, Managing Director of Scriba PR says a nice, modern office flourishes and sends the right message: “It’s the simple touches, like fresh flowers on our desk. Our work is serious, but you can still have soul!” Kevin McIntosh, Head of Design for Chameleon Business Interiors has said managers are taking this even further, creating ‘living walls’ with plants in their office space: “It’s much bolder than the simple desk plant, but I see this becoming more mainstream as employers look for ways to create better office environments that feel less traditional and corporate.”

Plus, Kevin says, the standard office outfit is being changed for more on-trend colour palettes and open seating plans. “As agile working practices are coming in more and more, workplace settings can be used to break the space down and in doing so, many tend towards using booths and high-backed seating as an option for informal meetings, reducing the amount rigid and cellular meeting spaces.”
 

Let People Know It’s The Weekend

It’s Friday, and the end is nigh, so to speak. Workers want to know the weekend is coming. A little bit of music and a cheeky beverage is just what staff need to feel a little more relaxed and encourage a bit of desk chat. It also lets them know you appreciate them. “We try and make the effort to take it in turns to buy a bottle of wine, or some beers and enjoy a bevy at our desk at the end of the day on Friday,” says Georgie from The Wedding Present Co. “We crank up the #ThrowbackThursday playlist and reflect on the week and chat about our weekend plans. It’s here that some of our best team bonding has happened.” (Here at SheerLuxe, we have ‘Thirsty Thursdays’, where the prosecco doth flow.)

Nikki Procter, PR Manager at ExtraMile Communications agrees that music is a great way to get the weekend off to a good start. “Every Friday between 4pm and 5pm we have ‘Funtime Friday’,” she says. “We choose a theme (for example, last week was ‘Divas’) and then we all suggest songs that fit that theme using a jukebox app. Everyone has great time choosing their songs and singing along!”

Get An Office Pet

Nothing cheers up an office quite like a fluffy pup running around, does it? Cal Lee from Workthere says a workplace pet can certainly help boost morale: “We conducted some research on pets in the office and found that a third (34%) of people say dogs at work make people happy, and one third (37%) would be equally attracted to a workplace that allows dogs compared to one that doesn’t. So, allowing dogs in the office can play in your favour.”

That the exact kind of thinking that The Wedding Present Co fostered when allowing pets in the office. “We have Doodle the shorthaired Daschund and Fred the longhaired Daschund. Without a shadow of a doubt these two make the office a better place to be – their sass, cuddles and cute factor make even the hardest of days better.”

Get Rid Of Unnecessary Meetings

You don’t need more meetings. They take up valuable time when you could be doing other things, and they rarely solve anything. Kat Foster, Chief Marketing Officer at Acquiro Digital says they are pragmatic when it comes to what needs a meeting and what doesn’t: “Our team meetings are always constructive chats rather than a PowerPoint presentation. If it doesn't need us all in a room, we don't do it.” she says. “We know that everyone works differently which is why we've created different pods around the office for solo working or group projects.”

Try Extracurricular Activities

Just because it’s your workplace it doesn’t mean everything there has to be all about work. Some companies enjoy holding extracurricular activities in-office – at ExtraMile Communications, Nikki Proctor says they have weekly cake making sessions: “We have a number of top-class amateur bakers who make us gorgeous cakes – we had ‘nipple’ cupcakes for International Women’s Day!”

Meanwhile at Scriba PR, Katie Mallinson says they hold regular quiz nights to raise money for charity (“Last time we raised £2133 for a local youth organisation”), and over at The Wedding Present Co, staff do office yoga together once a week: “We’re all pretty useless at it but it’s a really great way to start the day, and gives us countless laughs! I feel sorry for our amazing yoga teacher.”
 
Rachel Smith at & SMITH lets employees take their learning outside the office, letting them do a fun cultural activity which they then report back on to the team: “In order to keep everyone culturally sharp, we send one of the team out on a cultural afternoon every other week. They go to an exhibition, visit a new restaurant or do a short course. They then share this with the studio. It’s nice for our team to be able to get away from their computers and desks for a bit, but it also helps to keep us all on the ball.”

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