From Meditation to Office Meals: 5 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Happiness & Productivity

Posted by on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 with Comments Off on From Meditation to Office Meals: 5 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Happiness & Productivity Comments

Wish your office was a more productive place? Rather than investing in a new software system or creating another measurement tool, take a look at the faces behind all those computer screens. If there are more furrowed brows and frowns than smiles, it might be time to invest in employee happiness. Not only is an office full of happy staffers a more pleasant place to spend your days — it’s also likely to be a much more productive workplace. And it’s worth the investment: unhappy workers may be costing the American economy as much as $300 billion per year.

happy coworkers laughing over coffee

Investing in employee happiness can pay off in productivity.
Image source: Flickr user Rsms

In 2011, Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile published a New York Times column describing her findings from a very detailed, decade-long study of workers’ moods and motivators — her team analyzed more than 12,000 diary entries recorded by hundreds of workers. Their conclusion was very straightforward: “Our research shows that inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment, and collegiality. Employees are far more likely to have new ideas on days when they feel happier.”

Productivity, creativity, and commitment are all tied to happiness… but how can employers create a happier workplace? We have a few ideas for concrete ways to support, energize, and simply cheer up the office!

office with red wall

A new paint job or fresh lighting in the office can make for a happier environment.
Image source: Flickr user bazzmann

1) Spruce up the physical environment

Not every company can afford a top-tier interior designer, but most will gain a huge return by investing a little into the physical environment of the workplace. From a fresh paint job — particularly in a mood-boosting color —  to replacing glaring fluorescent lights with softer desk lamps, employees will notice a positive change in their environment and feel as though their comfort really matters.

2) Contemplate meditation

Firefighters, teachers, and a long list of famous CEO’s: all have found that practicing meditation leads to a better job performance. In recent years, the concept of intentionally calming the mind and increasing self-awareness has been supported by research and neurological studies as an effective way to deal with stress and improve mood. If you think employees might be skeptical, schedule a lunch and learn and screen a TED talk espousing the neurological benefits of the practice before suggesting meditation become a regular part of the workday.

office plants

Plants add oxygen and a mood-boosting energy to the workplace.
Image source: Flickr user shawdm

3) More houseplants, please

This may be the easiest happiness booster on the list: fill the office with greenery! A few different studies have supported the idea that the presence of potted plants in the office can reduce stress, increase productivity, and boost health — or at least the perception of health. Green is believed to encourage color association with the concepts of growth, renewal, and personal self improvement. Ivy, leafy palms, and even peppermint are relatively easy to care for, and will add physical and mental refreshment to the office environment.

4) Make errands easier

Eliminate errands from your busy employee’s workday, and you’ll be eliminating stress. Arrange for a local dry cleaner to do a weekly pickup or drop-off service. During the holiday season, ask a community group to come in for a gift-wrapping session, and let employees have their presents wrapped for a small charitable donation (or better yet, have the company make the donation on the employees’ behalf). The options are nearly endless: floral deliveries on Valentine’s Day, a visiting nurse supplying flu shots in the office during the winter… think about your staff’s everyday needs, and make them easier to meet. Your workers’ days will be simpler, and they’ll appreciate the effort to make their work-life balance better.

coworker eating birthday cake

Office meals or treats can boost moods and communicate employee appreciation!
Image source: Flickr user Ty Nigh

5) Feed them!

Whether serving up an overtime meal during a busy season, providing an employee-recognition breakfast after meeting a goal, or simply getting everyone together to order takeout on Fridays, serving office meals is a quick and effective way to boost employee happiness. It’s convenient, demonstrates appreciation, and can even support health and wellness. And when you choose to get to your employees’ hearts through their stomachs, you don’t have to do it alone: the food delivery team at is on your side, and services like group ordering and Virtual Cafeteria Service make supplying office meals a breeze.

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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