Your team’s mood depends on hundreds of criteria – many of whom you can’t control. But some simple gimmicks can lighten the mood and generate a better spirit in the long term, with little investment from your part.
Here are some simple and concrete ways to improve your team’s mood.
#1 Introduce plants in the office
Introducing plants in your office can be beneficial on all levels. First, studies show that plants can help people better focus and concentrate on their work, leading to higher overall productivity. Moreover, by producing oxygen all day long, they help freshen the air.
Plants also serve as a reminder of the natural world outside, and create a calmer, more welcoming environment. They’re certainly easier on the eyes than a sterile white wall or boring office furniture.
#2 Offer healthy snacks
Many offices offer coffee or sweet snacks to their employees. Why not differentiate yourself by offering some healthy snacks as well? Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are great examples and boost your employees’ energy throughout the day.
By taking care of your employees and health, you show them that you care about them. You’ll improve both their mood and productivity, and foster loyalty at the same time.
#3 Set up some fun goals or challenges for your team
Setting team goals is the backbone of every management strategy, but projects goals and yearly performance metrics can be hard to relate to on a daily basis. Involve your team to define immediate goals and challenges, and not only work-related. They can be goofy things like reaching a team bagel consumption goal or competing to find the weirdest daily news story. This will set up a work environment where fun is appreciated as much as hard work.
#4 Run retrospectives
Taking the time to reflect on your past Sprint / month / the set of time you’d like is an amazing way to reflect on past events, to praise your employees’ work, and to identify issues you need to resolve. Having this time and space to express themselves will encourage your employees to invest in improving the processes and internal functioning of the team. By running retrospectives, your team will grow stronger and happier.
#5 Bring pastries or croissants at weekly/monthly team meetings
Meetings. We all need them but we all fear them. If daily meetings should stay short, why not lighting up the mood for longer ones (weekly meetings, monthly retrospectives…) by bringing some nice pastries or croissants? You don’t have to do it yourself all the time, the bringer can rotate.
Plus, with this ritual, you’ll make sure everyone arrives on time if they don’t want to see their croissant taken from their hand.
#6 Encourage fitness or sports activities
Sport is good for your health, your concentration… and your spirit. Encouraging your employees to practice a sport (if they want to) will help them be at ease with themselves. If you have some spare space in your office, you can schedule fitness or yoga classes during the lunch break or install a gym. Another (smaller) alternative is to install a bathroom for runners to take a shower before going back to work.
If indoor is out of the question, you can also participate in a yearly gym membership, or set aside an hour each week from work for your employees to participate in yoga, wall climbing, volleyball, or any sport they may like.
Last but not least, you can promote team sports as team building activities all along the year, or during a company outing.
#7 Celebrate personal events
By investing in your employees’ personal lives, you can show them that they matter for the company. Not everyone likes to share openly their personal life and events (birthday, wedding, birth of a child…), but if you pay attention to your teammates, you can find a way to demonstrate your true interest: bringing a birthday cake, have flowers or a gift sent over their home, …
#8 Show some gratitude
By managing your team or a project, you can easily forget that they are human beings. Recognizing their effort and good work can have a huge impact on their morale. A simple way to demonstrate gratitude among your teammates is to implement Kudo cards: small tokens of appreciation that managers and teammates can give each other. “Congratulations”, “Thank you”, “You rock”, “Great job”, “Well done”, the options are endless.
Kudo cards are very efficient to increase recognition of valued work, which encourages intrinsic motivation within an organization.
#9 Offer time away from the office to do some good
Taking part in a charity or a volunteering action encourages both the company and employees to give back to the community. Investing in causes they care about is especially important for millennial workers according to a Deloitte study. By dedicating some time during the year to volunteer, you can show your employees that they are aligned with the company’s values, and give them a feeling of empowerment and influence over world and local issues.
Why not ask your team for suggested charities and events, and make it a group decision? Not only will this help with to encourage team spirit but it also shows how the company seeks out ideas for their employees in decision making and suggestions.
#10 Grant time off to employees to pursue projects they are passionate about
Taking on some personal projects can provide an energizing break from regular responsibilities, and can be a source of innovation for your company. At Google for instance, employees are given a day every week to pursue a personal project, no questions asked.
If you grant some free time to your employees to work on personal projects, some may lead to new ideas for the company, most of them will probably not. But most of all, you are giving them a breath of fresh air they will be thankful for.
Your turn now. Have you implemented any other technique to improve your team’s mood?