Staff who are happy at work are likely to be more productive, creative, flexible and work more effectively with colleagues and customers.

International Week of Happiness at Work runs this week (September 21 – 25) and is the perfect opportunity for you to review your wellbeing strategies. These are particularly relevant this year, when your teams may have spent months working differently, or perhaps have been furloughed, and may remain uncertain about the future.

So, what can your organisation do? We asked the Reality HR team to contribute their top tips – and here are the results.

Recognition – Positive feedback goes a long way. You’re guaranteed to make an employee’s day by recognising their hard work on a project, pitch or just by offering praise for a good idea. It’s a real motivator.

Flexible working – At the moment going back to work in the new normal isn’t easy for everyone. Employers should be flexible in allowing employees to request changes in the number of hours, days or where they work. This can make a huge difference to morale.

Team – Getting on with the group of people around you is the key to happiness at work. Think about team-building exercises or even taking a break for an office quiz to encourage bonding (socially distanced of course). Employees working from home may feel isolated so getting them involved with those in the workplace will help build strong relationships.

Communication – More friendly day-to-day communication in place of a strictly formal approach makes everyone feel more relaxed. Encourage an ‘open door’ policy where staff and management can communicate at all times – this could be virtually or through scheduled once a week meetings. Employees who trust their colleagues and managers are likely to be happier.

Training – You could explore options for virtual training to increase confidence,  improve communication and develop skills. Employees coming back to work from furlough may feel anxious and disengaged from their role so training sessions could help them get back into the swing of things and give them goals to work towards.

Rewards – Not every employer has the means to shower their staff with gifts. But small rewards like personalised notepads or gift cards can boost staff morale and improve employer/employee relationships.

Mix it up – Try to make each day different from the last! This may be more difficult doing now than normal, but new tasks and challenges will help prevent staff feeling bored and undervalued.

Support – Let staff know that support is there if they need it. Be sure to signpost where they can find things like Wellness Action Plans. Even having a chat over a cuppa can help employees feel less concerned about their worries.

Be inclusive – Make sure various teams within the business have a good idea about what happens across departments. Encourage shared forums and staff socials – the more people feel part of a single team, the more they will pull together towards your goals.

Trust – Mutual trust between employee and employer is essential – talk to your management team about what they can do to create a happier workplace. Don’t be defensive about negative feedback – listen and act upon it.

A Wellness Action Plan can help spot the early signs of stress and unhappiness and ensure staff stay happy and productive. Find out more about how Reality HR can support your business here.