Easy Office Perks
Should your office be a little more fun or productive? I’ve compiled some office perks gifts for you:
Tie “Bring your pet to work” days with certain tasks completed.
I enjoy having my dog in my office, for example. Some offices might even have a photo-wall of each pet to compare grooming/outfits over time. Reward employees who reach short-term goals with personal pet days. Maybe even regularly tweet out a pic of the winning pooch.
Innovation Requires Experimentation!
What about “Earn a telecommute” Friday for top performers of the week/month? Even a late-start Monday or early-off Friday can work.
Hump Day ticket giveaway to some low-cost local event/movie to make the middle of the week have some spice?
Friday afternoon “Drinks on the boss” for top performers??
Vacation is a far greater motivator than salary. Offer an extra week off or a Vegas trip if you want your employees to compete (and produce more) for a prize.
Have Pizza Fridays, outdoor picnic lunches during the nice weather, decorate/wear costumes for holidays, like St. Patty’s (plan for next year!), July 4th, Halloween, Christmas (yes, Christmas in the U.S., it is a Federal Holiday so there is a non-religious connotation as well). Give small awards for best/most creative/funniest costume. Throw spontaneous cookies and lemonade or whatever parties in a conference room, have a cake for everyone when a new client is landed.
A little recognition goes a LONG way in employee satisfaction. Years ago we started giving employees tchotchkes for special occasions, and suddenly they went the extra mile. For example, the front desk staff order supplies for the office. The introduction of a small recognition inspired the staff to clip coupons and order carefully when things were on sale. Our office supplies cost dropped 23% yoy.
Zappos inspires employees by keeping things such as vodka shots available for their employees, who love the firm. Low turnover there.
Hold a contest for best art and artist to street-paint an interior or exterior wall…or even paint a mural on the concrete surface of your office parking lot or hallway. Use street chalk if it needs to be temporary.
Improve your anonymous Suggestions box by adding “Suggestions For and Observations Missed by Management” to your box. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what your staff has noticed that you have missed in your office. A modern version of the Suggestion Box can also be an anonymous web link posting or phone app. Support new ideas. When employees come to you with an idea or a solution to a problem they believe is for the betterment of the company, it’s a sign that they care.
Is your environment amenable to engaging employees via their social media (e.g. Dynamic Signal)? An employee who wrote an Op-Ed might appreciate a retweet.
Some employee perks can more directly benefit you as their boss. You might make a long-tailed contest for your employees that benefits *you* as the boss by giving you something individual to say to each employee, such as having a recurring monthly “Who has the best looking potted plant on their desk” contest with some occasional, trivial (yet public to staff) prize.
You’ll get guys who buy a cactus because they don’t want to hassle with taking constant care of a plant, and you’ll get some employees who maintain an elaborate plant on their desk. …which means that you as their boss can always comment or ask or joke about their plant during the week. It’s a free hack to personalize them to you because most bosses aren’t going to remember the employee’s past answer about the kids or whatever forced “personal” question you last asked them. But the plants…they are right in front of you. That you can remember to ask about and you might even remember their previous answer from the week before. They get a plant and a contest. You get a “gimme” question that you can always ask about to have something more than the weather or work to talk about. Bonsai trees can become legitimate art, too.
Ask for office quick fix suggestions (should always be easy things such as paint, desk layouts, open windows, etc.). Offer theater tickets or other small prizes to anyone who wants to then volunteer to do/maintain said quick fix that you pick from their suggestions. They get to suggest. You get to pick. They do the work and get the prize. This improves the office *and* makes employees happier…plus it’s on a volunteer basis.
Have a “Take 1 home for your kids or neighbors” sign over a basket by the office exit door and fill it with cheap kids toys/tchotchkes or candy. Heck, put your corporate logo stickers on the toys/candies if you want…or even give away a company product every now and again.
Employees go home with something for their kids/nephews. You spread your logo, app name, and/or URL. Everyone wins.
Sometimes the seemingly insignificant can motivate, too — one of my peers was the GSM for a sales team of 8 individuals and three Assistants. Shortly after she started, she implemented “The Red Stapler Award of Awesomeness” (y’all get the “Red Stapler movie Office Space reference, I assume?), and the criteria was totally random — IOW, it would be simply based on something that someone did — closed a new deal, closed a big sale, could be whatever along those lines, and completely up to her judgement… and the award was that a Red Swingline Stapler would sit on the winning individual’s desk until it was awarded to someone else, then it would go to the next person who did something awesome, etc.
Well, you guys have no idea how much that motivated people — someone would close a new contract, or what have you, and they’d send out an e-mail to the entire group, or they’d come tell her what they did, and she’d reply or announce that they are the newest recipient of the Red Swingline Stapler of Awesomeness award for accomplishing xxx or whatever. Then things would happen such as: The person who got the stapler removed from their desk in order for it to be awarded to someone else would go tell them: “Joe, I’m getting that stapler back from you by Friday — I have a big deal pending… don’t think you’re gonna have it for long!” Stuff like that. It really, really worked — a stapler as a trophy, with no specific criteria behind it!
Ask your employees, especially your creative types, if any of them want to add a new hat onto their job description such as being the new part-time social director “in charge of fun stuff” for 3 months. Keep the timeframe short so it doesn’t become a chore for anyone. Then let them bring you ideas that require only a micro-budget to implement for your team to let their hair down just an inch or two.
Buy donuts. Take everyone to lunch or have it catered in-house now and again.
I put a grill at my drift tracks and we would each take turns essentially competing with each other in employee grill-fests of employer-bought food. Best burgers, hot dogs, and steaks possible. Huge fun.
Consider offering a once-every-three-years or so scholarship for your most promising employee of that era to win. Could be to something simple like an online university (e.g. Arizona State) based on budget. Use for your administrative staff, etc.
All of the above ideas are field-tested. They work. None are prohibitively expensive or time-consuming to implement, and several have direct benefits to you as the boss, too. You don’t have to install a slide from one floor to the next, or a ping-pong table, basketball goal, half-pipe, VR station, BMX course, or a foosball table (but you could). Enjoy!
Of course, each work environment is a little different so all of these ideas may not be a perfect fit for you, but… I just ask that if you implement any of them that you give a little back by sharing this article with your peers. Thanks! @CEONunneley