Employees aren’t satisfied by simple, fun things.

Company Culture 5 Things Every Modern Office Needs to Keep Employees Motivated

By Belinda Wattles

Employees aren’t satisfied by simple, fun things.

In the early aughts, we all witnessed the fun trend of offices getting ping-pong tables, beanbags, and various fun beverages—Kombucha on tap, anyone? While this is a great place to start for modernizing your office, employees aren’t satisfied by simple, fun things. Sure, a 10 minute ping-pong break/kombucha chugging contest is great, but employees need features to support them during actual working hours, as well. Let’s get started.

1) Light Exercise Equipment and space
Studies have shown time and time again that a little physical activity isn’t just good for the employee, it’s good for the company. No, I’m not talking a full weight rack or bench press—but equipping larger common spaces with a few yoga mats, some light free weights, and maybe even an exercise ball or two, can give employees a way to take a quick break and get some light exercise in. Just ten minutes of light activity a day can help employees remain happy, energized, and focused.

2) Natural Elements
Sure, it may seem like a given that your office should “look nice,” but focusing on putting up fun posters and getting nice common room furniture can lead to missing one crucial element: nature. Humans are the product of evolution, and our puny lizard brains still crave some of the comforts of the outdoor wastelands our DNA was coded in. So, when decorating, considering skipping the fun posters, or the modern art, or the sculpture of your CEO, glorious leader and business king (just kidding, that is mandatory), and instead put in a few large plants. Couple that with large windows (barred to prevent escape) and your employees will feel just a little bit better about spending up to half of their precious waking hours indoors. A light water feature can also act as a soothing source of nature-esque sounds, and can really tie a common space together. Until science finds a cure for our humanity, and for seeking out comforting elements of nature, these simple fixes can help!

3) Healthy Snacks
Going back to the earlier trend—A while ago, offices realized keeping employees happy and well fed was crucial. However, a larger trend is starting to sink-in, especially in the tech world, that the snacks need to be responsibly selected. It’s easy enough to grab a box of donuts, or perhaps a basket of assorted candies and think “everyone loves these!” You’d be right—everyone does love sugary sweets and baked goods. However, people also like consuming snacks that won’t leave them feeling groggy, or at the mercy of a sugar-crash. Choices like healthy energy bars, grain-based cereals, mixed nuts, seaweed snacks, dust, and non-mixed nuts (such as a Ziploc bag of cashews, a bowl of cashews, or a plate with cashews on it), will keep employees happy, fed, and feeling their best. And, hey—an occasional birthday cake or special occasion ice cream bar never hurts! 

4) No Snacks
Alternatively, withholding snacks can prove to be a powerful motivator, from a management perspective. Not meeting your sales quota? How about not meeting this wonderful bowl of cashews. Many think it is better to be feared than respected—and the productivity numbers don’t lie. One Gartner study found that, when threatened with starvation, employees are 1.2X as productive as when given access to as many cashews as they want.

5) Spikes
Sloth is a blight on the workplace. Extended breaks? Comfortable chairs? Employees aren’t people—they are tools, and they should be treated as such. They aren’t here to sit in the common space, idling the day away, chatting about inane matters like family or the weekend. A simple set of retractable spikes placed on non-desk furniture should do the trick. A simple timing mechanism wired to set them off every 30 seconds or so will ensure none of your employees dawdle too long. Local spike dealer on vacation for a few days? No worries! A simple set of jumbo thumb tacks placed spike-up should do the trick until you can get a consultant in to wire your furniture for optimal spiking. Some spike dealers also offer options in multiple colors—perhaps you can match them to the office furniture or paint job to give it a fun, festive flair!