As a small business or startup owner, you recognize the importance of your employees’ happiness. Good compensation and benefits packages aside, many companies are recognizing that importance with bonus office perks. But you don’t need to be Facebook or Google to offer a fun and healthy work environment. (On-site physicians and classic arcades? Maybe by 2020.)
Here are 6 cheap, healthy and doable ideas to help put a little more pep in your employees’ step.
1. Put the writing on the wall. Dry erase boards are practical and all, but they’re just so…dry. Chalkboard walls are a fun throwback to childhood, when thinking creatively was as natural as breathing. Idea Paint is relatively cheap, easy to apply and comes in a variety of colors. Use your chalkboard wall during meetings, and encourage staff to take frequent doodle breaks.
2. Bring nap time back. Speaking of childhood, remember the necessity of afternoon naptime? Kindergarteners aren’t the only ones who need sleep to be at their best, so why limit the ritual? Turn a spare room or underused closet into a nap or relaxation room. If that’s not possible, don’t deny your employees a little desk-time shut eye. Watch how the Huffington Post does it.
3. Offer alternative desk and chair setups. As Caron Trumbo mentioned in a previous post, the human body was meant to move. Even without gym access or yoga classes, you can promote physical fitness in the workplace with standing desks or active seating like our favorite Buoy. Burning more calories throughout the day provides the kind of sustained energy that a coffee break just can’t cut.
4. Not that coffee breaks are a bad idea… Micro-kitchens are commonplace in many offices. It’s simple enough to create your own, but beware: glazed donuts may result in glazed employees. Stock your fridge and cabinets with locally sourced coffee (companies like Roastolo in Chicago provide craft coffee to workplaces) and healthy snacks like fruit, veggies, nuts and whole grains.
5. Create an intra-office intra-mural sports team. Your staff is already a team, right? Enforce that dynamic with an office softball, kickball or even a ski-ball team— a great way to help employees stay in shape and create stronger bonds. According to Dan Schawbel, author and Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, people who are friends with their coworkers are more likely to stick with their employer.
6. Go green. Okay, so creating a private community garden may not the most pressing item on your to-do list. But you can mimic the serenity of the great outdoors with the addition of plants and flowers. Studies show that plants improve concentration and lower stress and anxiety. Keep it low maintenance with plants that don’t require much attention, like succulents or spider plants.