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If You’re Happy and You Know It….Boosting Office Morale

02/19/2010

There is an ebb and flow to morale in the office environment.  Just like any long term relationship there are ups and downs and those sideways moments that make you go WHAT!?! But it’s the overall experience, impressions, and relationships at the workplace that create morale, whether it be high or low.

Let me define what I mean when I say morale.

To me, high morale is marked by having a generally friendly and energizing environment. It doesn’t mean being free of stress or having a light work load. It does mean that spirits are high, attitudes are positive and stress can be managed well. Low morale is just the opposite, marked by a generally difficult atmosphere that drains energy, where stress of any kind is difficult to manage and more negative than positive impressions are created.

Just like with relationships, low morale can be deadly for an office environment and you’ve likely experienced it at some point. My time in a low-morale job came early in my working days when I worked part time in a hospital radiation department that was plagued by bickering staff, disrespectful management, bureaucracy, and ongoing IT troubles. Eventually I quit. 

We always ask agencies to rate their office morale on a scale of 1-10 during Five Star Interviews. That number can be very telling, especially when you are able to track it over time. Why? Because the slope between high morale and a toxic work environment is more slippery than you think. What looks like a dip today could turn into a plunge in six months.

Combating the office blues:
One of the ways to combat those dips is to keep spirits lifted and make sure people feel appreciated. This is where some effort, planning and creativity really pay off. We have seen Five Star Agencies do all sorts of morale boosting activities from off-site meetings to early release Fridays to incorporating ring toss competitions into training sessions.  Clearly this is not one size fits all, there are however some tips and tricks we can share.

Our experience:
At MAIA we decided to take a team approach to creating and planning our morale boosters this year. Each team gets to lead the way in social fun for one quarter – and they get a small budget to work with to boot.

Our marketing department was the first team up. Last week they treated the staff to something special with a Valentine’s Day theme. Team members made the rounds and delivered breakfast to everyone via the “breakfast cart” and then presented everyone with a coupon for a 5 minute massage with a professional massage therapist who set up shop in a conference room for about 2 hours.

How are you boosting Morale, Involvement, Appreciation, Fun, and Camaraderie? What works in your office? What was a total disaster?

Here’s a taste of what took place last week:

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 02/19/2010 9:21 am

    Melissa,
    Loved your blog today, and isn’t it funny how a small token of good will can make such a difference in your day. Thanks for reminding me.
    Melinda

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