Straight from the Lab

To boost job satisfaction and longevity, the little things go a long way.

Salary and benefits are important, but for day-to-day productivity and job satisfaction, it’s the little things that build morale, happiness, and well-being in the workplace. As world-renowned businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.”

Happy employees tend to be more productive and take fewer sick days, and typically come to work with a positive attitude. From showing appreciation to creating a space to blow off steam, here are some of the things employers can do to create a happier workplace.

The Value of Thank You

Who doesn’t enjoy a pat on the back? More than 53 percent of employees say they’d stay at their current jobs longer if they felt appreciated, underscoring the significance of creating a culture of gratitude. According to esteemed educator and researcher Dr. Kristin “KK” Koetting, a culture of gratitude can foster greater employee buy-in, ownership, and support for business goals.

Employees prefer to receive appreciation in different ways, from social media brags to getting perks like a pizza party. Ask your employees for feedback on how they’d like to be shown appreciation, and then act accordingly.

Room to Recharge

An office environment that recognizes the importance of downtime can successfully mitigate burnout and turnover. This is why “recharge rooms” are becoming a popular amenity in the workplace. Recharge rooms are spaces specifically designated for non-work activities. These rooms can be zoned for meditation and prayer, games, naps, massages, or reading. The point is to create an area where employees can go to escape work, trading the time for something relaxing and positive.

Another option is to create a third place. Like recharge rooms, third rooms are work-free spaces, but instead of providing activities, they promote conversation and communication. Third rooms are areas for employees to zone out and plug in, without the need to leave the building.

Fostering Team Spirit

When employees like the people they work with, they are more productive and communicate better. They are also more willing to pitch in with a task or help solve a work-related problem.

Employers can foster workplace friendships and team spirit with group-building activities outside of the office, such as volunteer work, charity runs, bowling, or even karaoke. Friendly competition in the office can also be fun, especially when employees work together in teams to reach a common goal and share the reward. Camaraderie is also boosted when the group comes up with a name or team chant, and wears matching shirts or hats.


iDea lab offers several classes to help create a more upbeat workspace. “Teamwork: Being an Effective Team” discusses team dynamics and optimizing the team experience. “Understanding Diversity” helps leaders recognize and value differences. “Preventing Aggressive Behavior in the Workplace” helps employees identify and address conflicts. These courses provide benefit to all roles in the workplace and are available on-demand.

Happy employees are better employees. Follow these simple ideas to create a happier workplace, and see attrition rates drop and business results rise.

Learn more about the ways gratitude influences the workplace.