Have you ever been curious about how strong the morale is among your staff? You don’t always have solid clues to go by; just maybe your intuition, their attitudes, and production quality. Since there are no set guidelines for employees to determine when a morale boost is needed, it’s always best to act proactively on the matter.

Failure to recognize workplace morale issues could prove one of your biggest mistakes as an employer and may end up costing your company money in the form of high turnover.  Looking for ways to prevent that? Here are five tips to boost office morale long before it becomes a problem.

Ask for Feedback

Start by querying your employees on what they like and what they would improve about their experience working for you. Feedback is a great gesture that shows you value them. Be open to suggestions from your team to empower them to be vocal about the issues at hand and, more importantly, be a part of the change. There are many platforms available, such as Googleist and TinyPulse, which you can use to help elicit that regular feedback into office life. For the most honest answers, give employees an anonymous way to respond.

Build in Breaks

Mounting research suggests that too much sitting, staring at screens, can take a toll physically and emotionally on workers. Playing games gives employees a chance to take a time out when their brains need it. You can designate a game room area in the office, like many Silicon Valley companies have famously done, and have Ping-Pong, Jenga, and other board games to help with decompression. You’ll be surprised how much a little bit of time away from the computer can help improve morale and productivity.

Coordinate Team-Building Competition

Who doesn’t love a good office competition? Whether it’s a commitment to working out together or an office pool, employees can build camaraderie with low-pressure competition. This time of year is perfect for starting a pool on who is going to win March Madness. According to a study conducted by OfficeTeam, nearly one-third of senior managers agree that March Madness activities had a positive impact on office morale. It’s considered a fun way to jumpstart communication and increase team work. To underscore team-building, assign brackets to groups of employees and then allow them time to meet and discuss their picks. If your company frowns upon cash rewards, offer other prizes such as catered lunch or additional time off.

Give Kudos

Taking the time to recognize achievements encourages employees to continue to give it their all. Morale tends to drop when individuals don’t feel like their work is being appreciated. So, if an individual or a team accomplishes something great, take the time to congratulate them on a job well done.  A simple email, call, or personal high-five should help foster an environment where people feel that their work is appreciated.

Address Negativity

Employees who come into work in a bad mood affect the behavior of others. You can avoid this by gently urging negativity toward a positive outcome. Ways to do this include offering plenty of positive team-building activities (like the ones mentioned above) and by offering suggestions for positive approaches during reviews and other job-performance meetings.

Overall the best way to approach employee morale is to listen first and then embrace positive change. It will prevent frustration and boredom and prove to be the best investment you can make in your company.

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