It’s no secret that happier workplaces have happier, healthier and more productive employees. As architects, we design offices as motivating, inspiring and comfortable buildings to help facilitate a welcoming fun work environment, but the building can only do so much – it is the team that breathes life into the habitat.
So here are our top tips for improving happiness, increasing well-being and promoting fun at work:
1. Talk, communicate, laugh
Whether it’s a joke that breaks the ice or making a cup of tea for your colleagues, start talking – not all the time, of course, that can be annoying and non-productive. But a few minutes light relief recounting what you did the night before or talking about plans for the weekend, can work wonders for the office atmosphere. We love to share our plans and hearing about everyone else home life, it brings the office closer and increases trust and friendship bonds throughout.
2. Celebrate victories
In our office, we love victories and celebrating everyone’s achievements so we have the RRA Cake Policy, which is that if a team member achieves a planning permission they have to bring cakes for the office. It’s a good policy – until you get too many planning permissions and we all end up gaining pounds! We may have to rewrite the policy to become the RRA Healthy Snack Policy!
3. Encourage breaks
Design your offices to have areas where people can get away from their desks and take a break. We have three small but comfortable spaces where people can eat lunch, have a break, have an informal meeting or just move to for a change of scenery. In addition, we have a treadmill hotdesk for anyone to use if they feel the need for some exercise to get the grey matter working. Some offices have games areas, table tennis tables and outdoor spaces. One office we know has their own small farm for the employees to escape too.
4. Have an office dog
More and more studies are confirming the mental and physical health benefits of having furry friends in the office. We certainly enjoy having our four-legged team members with us and they help keep the office laughing.
5. Organise social events outside of work
Socialising outside of work is a powerful way of reinforcing bonds and letting your colleagues know that you enjoy and value their company – not just at work.
RRA has a social secretary and social liaison who are responsible for organising team socials across both offices. We ask everyone for ideas of outings – suggestions range from charity volunteering days, having a collective picnic to wakeboarding or paragliding.
And there’s a lot to be said for a spontaneous group trip to the pub on a Friday lunch if the weather is good – or if the weather is bad!
6. Enjoy your surroundings
An untidy office isn’t welcoming for staff or clients, so we like to take pride in our surroundings. So we say put photos on your desk, bring in a plant – in fact, bring in lots of plants, they improve the air quality too. Put up holiday decorations, keep the place tidy and make it a place to enjoy.
Make time to listen to the team. We have an official ‘monthly munch’ lunchtime with both offices together. Sometimes it’s to have a presentation from one of the team or to share ideas about a project, sometimes it’s just an excuse for pizzas and a chat.
That’s how we roll at RRA, how do you keep the fun in your office?