According to the Peanuts gang, happiness is a warm puppy (we can attest to that, our Lead Project Manager, Sierra, has been known to bring her new puppy in every now and then–to the delight of the staff), but when it comes to running a business, happiness is a productive office! In fact, a recent study proved that happy employees are more efficient, more successful, and overall harder workers. Why? Because happiness leads to less stress and more job satisfaction, and when your employees are happy to come in, chances are they’ll be happy to do a good job as well. You don’t have to fill your office with jungle gyms and video games in order to evoke happy thoughts (although we certainly wouldn’t be against it), all you have to do is develop your company culture. And it all starts with communication.
Here at The Newsletter Pro we’re all about developing relationships (heck, it’s our number one core value!)–relationships between our clients and their clients, relationships between our clients and us, and relationships between us and our community. But we know that relationships between us and, well, us, are the most important of all. Employees who care about each other are more apt to do a better job or go the extra mile to get things done (not to mention, all that office camaraderie makes for a pretty happy work place). But an office that’s segregated by cubicle walls can make it hard for employees to interact interdepartmentally–which is why it’s important to partake in some “team building activities” every now and then. We’ve been known to hit up the local arcade after work in order to get the fun and friendly juices flowing, but there are a few interoffice activities that are intended to boost employee communication and amp up the friend factor.
1. Think Happy Thoughts
This is one of those tricks we learned from Elite Forum–and it’s made a huge difference in the way we run our meetings! We begin each and every meeting with a rousing round of “Positive Focus.” Each team member takes a moment to discuss something positive that’s going on in their life that day–it can be either work related or personal–before we delve into the nitty gritty. This allows our team members to stay updated on the positive aspects of each other’s lives.
2. Two Truths and One Lie
This activity is a fun, simple way for your employees to get to know one another . . . without outright asking them (which can feel awkward or uncomfortable). All you have to do is ask each team member to write down two “truths” (fun facts about them) and one “lie” (a made-up fun fact). The employees should be prepared to convince their fellow co-workers that the “lie” is actually a “truth” (ie: don’t say that you spent the summer in Italy if you can’t name a single Italian landmark). Hold a 10-15 minute open conversation during which the employees quiz each other in attempt to decipher the “lie.” At the end of the conversational period, gather in a circle and have each member read their facts out loud–it’s up to the team to vote on what they think is the lie! You might be surprised what you learn about each other.
3. 30 Seconds To Live
This is a great way to learn a little bit about the backstory of your employees. We’ve done a variation of this before; as we prepared to embark on an all-day meeting, we broke the ice by asking each employee to describe a “defining moment” of their life. Similarly, this exercise requires each team member to reflect on the best moments of their life (whatever they may be). From there you can ask the employees to decide which 30 seconds of their life they would re-live if they only had 30 seconds left (talk about a tough question!). Their answers will not only allow them to get to know each other on a more intimate, personal level, but allow you a better understanding of their passions and personality.
Communication is the first step to camaraderie, and camaraderie is key to a happy, productive company culture. With these tips, your employees will go from co-workers to compadres in no time.