Do you get that 3 o’clock feeling? Whilst I’m sat here looking at the dark gloomy winter weather outside the office I’ve coming to the realisation I have been sat here for 10 minutes staring into the abyss. It makes me wonder what we do as HR professionals to combat the ups and downs of the working day for our employees. For me it was an indication I need to get up, stretch my legs and make the coffee, a good strong afternoon cup of Joe to give me that kick I need for the rest of the day.
Having a stretch made me look into what motivates us and keeps us going in the workplace. Google was named the 2014 “Best Company to Work For” by the Great Place to Work Institute and Fortune Magazine but why? Well actually for good reason. The culture there is to promote flexibility, do what you want when you want to, in a fun bright and lively atmosphere. Their philosophy is the more energetic and vibrant the employee the more productive they are. They encourage regular breaks, which include the opportunity to let off steam, go to the gym, use the slide to go down from one floor to the next or alternatively use the ladder to go up instead of using the lift or stairs.
As I read about Google providing their employees free sodas, drinks, snacks and sweets my belly starts to rumble and I start into a bag of crisps. As I read the articles online I actually realise how good we have it here at HR180; we have the freedom to complete the job as we want (obviously within the remit of our brand and the clients!), we work in a bright office with amazing people, have ample food and drinks, which admittedly doesn’t help the January diets, and we even get massages!
It is easy to compare a small Leeds based company against a multi-million dollar US company based out of Mountain View, California; I mean, do you ever see on the news how dreary and dull the January weather is in California? I can’t say I have ever seen that report! We may not be able to do anything about the weather, but we can motivate our staff and get them over those unproductive lulls in the day. As a country we are very traditional in our business practices, many companies don’t provide the basics of tea and coffee sighting the cost; however what is the real cost of the perks versus productivity? As a facilitator of training, it is custom for me to provide sweets and sugared drinks to the delegates to keep them engaged and productive but why then don’t businesses take this to the next level and start providing this (or a similar healthy alternative) to their employees?
Small things can make a big difference in the working day. If you’re having an internal chat with a colleague about business, take it away from the desks into an airy conference room or in a communal area. Some people recommend group activities. This sounds good but may not be practical. Forbes actually recommends bringing pets into the office. If I didn’t have Pru, our Welsh springer spaniel, head-butting me for affection throughout the day I would dismiss this idea as ludicrous, however 2 minutes talking and stroking Pru every few hours actually is very therapeutic and does give you the break in the day you need. If your employees trust the leadership and understand the company boundaries they will respect them and as a rule will work between them.
Each business is different and the lulls in the day will differ from person to person, organisation to organisation. As employers we can change the offerings for our employees, allow flexible working and bring fun back into the working day.
We are always quick to ask what the employer can do to increase productivity however, when did we reflect on ourselves and ask what do we do to combat this. I can definitely identify 3pm as my lull time, therefore it’s for me to manage through this time, allocate a conference call or a business meeting, if there is nothing on make a cuppa or change the work I’m doing to a more exciting challenging project.
HR180 are here to help with any of your employee wellbeing requirements so please do not hesitate to call us on 0845 458 5881.
Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.