1. Offer flexible working hours
Flexible working hours are becoming more common in Australian workplaces, with managers recognising the power of giving their employees some flexibility.
Flexible working hours may include:
- A late start
- Leaving early
- A change in patterns of work
- Working evenings and weekends as well as working part of the week
- Working from home
Employees who have been employed by the same employer for a minimum of 12 months are eligible to request a flexible work arrangement. They also must:
- Be responsible for a child who is of or younger than school age
- Have a disability
- Be experiencing violence (domestic or family), or be supporting a household member who is experiencing violence
- Be a carer
- Be over the age of 55
In jobs that provide essential services or in customer facing roles, there are often good reasons to require people to work certain hours. But that’s not the case for knowledge work. Many companies are realising that treating staff like growth-ups by letting them manage their own time is the best way to get them to take responsibility and put in their best effort.
2. Invest in high quality office furniture
For many companies, the only time an investment into office furniture is made is when they first set up, or when something breaks beyond repair. Sure, excessive spending is never a good business play, but your furniture could be doing you and your team more harm than good. Well made office furniture:
- Lasts longer, ultimately saving money for the company
- Is ergonomic and more comfortable
- Is less likely to cause injury
- Is more likely to encourage staff to work productively and efficiently
3. Reconsider your open plan office
It seems only a few years ago, everyone was praising the open office plan, describing at length its benefits to productivity, collaboration and modern systems of work.
Unfortunately for those who made the switch, the tide has turned. Now, some of the many issues with open plan office spaces have been identified and include:
- They are loud and make it difficult for employees to concentrate
- They lack privacy, particularly for sensitive phone calls and other work
- They don’t provide a space in which to focus or conduct brief conversations
According to Fast Company employees in open plan offices are:
- Less happy than their closed plan office counterparts
- Feel more stressed and ultimately take almost ⅔ more sick leave than others
- Less open to collaboration
Furthermore, open plan offices increase digital communication by around 50% and decrease face-to-face contact by approximately 70%.
4. Provide food for your employees
Any good manager knows the importance of conducting a thorough cost analysis, but when it comes to smaller decisions like whether or not to provide food for employees, it can be more difficult to decipher the benefits.
The advantages of providing food for your team include:
- Offering them a reward and saving them money
- Encouraging healthy eating, which may be part of a greater wellness program
- Enabling them to save time making their own food or running out to buy lunch and snacks
- Ensuring your staff are well fed should they work long hours
- Encouraging them to spend more time in the office
5. Solicit regular feedback
Receiving feedback can be difficult, particularly in the workplace where power dynamics can be directly linked to corporate success and remuneration.
While lower level employees are more likely to receive feedback, it’s often only when things go terribly wrong, or during an arbitrary period of reviews. Moreover, only the most effective workplaces encourage feedback as a two way street, where managers, underlings and co-workers solicit and encourage feedback on a regular basis from each other.
Feedback is an essential part of growth and improvement, and can stop problems before they get out of hand. If in doubt, follow these steps:
- Have an open mind
- Recognise that in most cases, the person giving the feedback is doing so with good intentions
- Don’t be defensive
- Don’t offer feedback immediately in return. This is about you - find another time to return the favour
- Be honest
- Be respectful and constructive
Finally, ensure KPIs and review processes are firmly in place and tracked regularly.
6. Purchase a sit-stand desk
Sit-stand desks have been around long enough for most people to already know why they're so popular. They have countless health benefits and give the user the benefit of sitting or standing, offering flexibility, comfort and support.
Some of our favourites are:
7. Implement a system
Whether you’re a company with a focus on sales, execution, lead generation, purchasing or something else entirely, it’s important the whole company is on the same page and working within the same parameters. Consider implementing a CRM or other system to make the process easier.
8. Reward your staff
Just as it is vital to provide your employees with feedback, it’s equally important to reward them for a job well done, and show them that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Example rewards to consider include:
- Team lunches or after-work drinks
- Family days and events
- Financial rewards
- Words of encouragement
- Various office perks
- Public acknowledgement
Flexible working arrangements
Fair Work Ombudsman
Flexible working becoming the norm
The Sydney Morning Herald
Does It Pay to Feed Your Employees? (Infographic)
25 Rewards That Great Employees Actually Love to Receive
Should You Provide Food for Employees
Everyone hates open offices. Here’s why they still exist
52 Epic Ways to Rewards Your Employees
121 Creative Ways to Reward Employees Who Kick Ass in 2019
7 Effective Ways to Reward Your Employees
How to Ask for Feedback That Will Actually Help You
Harvard Business Review
The Best ways to ask for feedback at work
Business Systems and Processes
Understanding business systems