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Companies Embracing Change: 3 Out-Of-The-Box Ideas To Boost Morale

Using video isn’t the only way companies are embracing new ideas. Workplaces across the corporate spectrum are getting seriously creative in their efforts to boost employee morale and loyalty. We’re not talking about casual Fridays here, instead these are interesting and innovative concepts putting companies a step ahead when it comes to benefits.

Why care so much about boosting employee morale? Increasingly, companies are recognizing that happy employees are also more productive employees. There have been numerous studies that correlate employee happiness to important factors like company loyalty, engagement and work satisfaction. A Kansas State University research study even went so far as to chart out how much money companies could potentially lose by ignoring employee morale. The study found unhappy employees could cost the company nearly $75 per week in lost productivity. It might not seem like all that much, but if you’re looking at 100 unhappy employees suddenly your company has just lost $7,500 per week or $390,000 per year. Ouch!

Here are some out-of-the box ideas companies are embracing to keep their employees happy, productive and engaged.

Virtual Work Environments
How would you like to work in your pajamas? If your answer was “yes please” then you should be cheered by the idea that more companies are embracing a work-from-home model. With the internet making collaboration easier than ever, many employers are seeing the benefits of thinking outside the office. Suddenly, geography isn’t standing in the way of hiring the best candidates for the job. Employers interviewing far away candidates by video don’t have to worry about relocation costs. The new employee can just work remotely, checking in with coworkers through email and instant messaging.

While telecommuting has some drawbacks, understanding the challenges can help mitigate these issues with open communication and planning. For employees, the benefits are a more flexible schedule, more time at home, and no more exhausting commute. Even companies with local employees are increasingly embracing a virtual model, allowing employees to work remotely one or more days a week. Plus with gas prices always going up, remote working could save everyone a bundle!

Unlimited Vacations
Many employers assume if they give employees tons of vacation, they’ll spend all their time on a beach sipping Mai Tais instead of working. But Netflix is challenging that assumption with their unlimited vacation time policy. Co-Founder Reed Hastings told Bloomberg Businessweek that the 900-employee company’s policy actually cultivates more responsible workers. The company doesn’t focus on the number of vacation days employees use but instead judges them by what really matters: their work.

This is a great policy because it’s so simple. It also shows a great deal of trust in individual workers’ judgement. Employees will feel valued, trusted and free to do their best work without counting (or counting down) days. The employer will get more self-motivated employees and be able to tell the go-getters from the slackers. It’s a win-win!

Bring Your Pooch To Work
Man’s best friend might also be your office’s best friend. I’m talking, of course, about bringing animals to work. A recent study from International Journal of Workplace Health Management showed that pet owners allowed to bring their furry friends into the office reported lower stress levels than their peers who had to say goodbye to Fido on the way into work. Higher stress in the workplace is typically linked to lower workplace performance, increased aggression and poor decision making.

While not everyone is a pet lover, a good workplace pet policy could account for all workers while maintaining the benefits our animal friends contribute. Who knows, Mr. Whiskers might be just what your workplace needs to succeed.

These are just a few of the innovative ideas that companies across career spectrum’s are taking on in order to make work more enjoyable– and workers more productive.

What are your favorite out-of-the-box morale boosters? Share them!

Image Courtesy of Survival Strategies

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writers career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Connect with Heather and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

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