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Simple Ways to Increase Motivation in the Workplace

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1. Recognize great work

One of the most important factors that contribute to employee motivation is how often their hard work is recognized. 70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve massively with increased recognition from managers.

After all, if an employee puts a lot of effort into a project to produce exceptional results but their hard work isn’t recognized, why would they continue to be a high-performing employee?

2. Set small, measurable goals

We’ve all had projects that just drag on and on, and seem to never end. It can be really demoralizing to be stuck in a rut, which is why seeing how you’ve made visible progress feels so good. It’s also a clear indicator that our work is making a difference.

We met with Walter Chen, co-founder of iDoneThis, who shared some great insights into the importance of clear goal setting and tracking progress. You can check out full the interview here.

Setting clear, achievable goals provides a real boost of motivation each time one is conquered and keeps team on the right track. You can magnify these effects by taking the next step and celebrating those achievements.

3. Celebrate results

Part of what makes setting small and measurable goals so important is that it provides plenty of opportunities to celebrate your team’s hard work.

This doesn’t mean you need to give a standing ovation to every employee who made it to work on time, but it is crucial to let everyone know exactly how (and how much) much each of their contributions move the organization forward.

Be specific in your applause. Don’t just tell Marie good job. Don’t even stop at great job on the new email campaign. Applaud her success and when you do, tie her to the greater picture. For example: Great job on that new email campaign—it’s going to really grow our community and nurture our customer pipeline.

4. Stay positive

Let’s be real—we’re a little suspicious of people who are happy all the time.

Negative emotions have their place, and some really good process or cultural changes can stem from having tough conversations. However, it’s important to find ways to inject positive experiences into your team’s interactions to create a net positive workplace.

Why? Because it’s actually a competitive advantage to have happy employees. Research shows that happiness raises business productivity by 31% and sales by 37%.

 It turns out that happiness and positivity play a greater role in the success of your business than you’d ever imagine. If you’re not fully convinced yet, take a moment to view this hilarious and fascinating presentation by psychologist Shawn Achor, explaining why:

A simple shift in bias toward positivity and happiness can have an immediate impact on your work experience and relationships, which are major factors in success, motivation, engagement, and productivity.

A simple shift in bias toward positivity and happiness can have an immediate impact on your work experience and relationships, which are major factors in success, motivation, engagement, and productivity.

5. Stay fueled

It’s hard to stay focused and driven when you’re hangry. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to stay fed, hydrated, and in some cases, caffeinated.

Unfortunately, it’s common for employees to become so busy engrossed in their work that they can barely squeeze in time for lunch. That’s not great for their health and even worse for their productivity. Not convinced? Check out this great article from Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich wrote an outstanding piece on food’s crucial role in employee wellbeing.

Keeping healthy snacks around the workplace is an easy way to help your team maintain energy levels throughout the day. The cost of providing them will likely be offset by your team’s increased productivity.

If you don’t have the time or resources to manage this on your own, there are some great services out there that can help you keep your office stocked with healthy snacks. Our friends at SnackNation will even drop a curated box of healthy snacks right at your company’s front door. At Bonusly, we get a Fruit Guys delivery every week, which is a godsend when it’s 3 p.m. and you need some fuel to get through the rest of the day!

6. Take regular breaks

Banging your head against a problem for three hours is rarely productive. Stepping back and taking a moment to recalibrate isn’t just helpful in staying motivated, it’s also important to your health.

Stepping back and taking a moment to refresh and recalibrate isn’t just helpful in staying motivated, it’s also important to your health.

Sitting all day isn’t good for you, and neither is working nonstop. Taking a short break every hour or two can have a positive effect on both your mind and body, especially for remote workers. Don’t forget to get up from your desk and grab some fresh air!

Sitting all day isn’t good for you, and neither is working nonstop. Taking a short break every hour or two can have a positive effect on both your mind and body. Get up, stretch your legs, rest your eyes—and come back to work with a refreshed mind and body.

7. Stay healthy

Which brings us to our next topic: staying healthy. As we learned in our interview with Button’s Stephen Milbank, sharing is caring, but not if what you’re sharing is germs. 😷

When you’re ill, stay at home! It’s unlikely that you’ll be getting any of your best work done when you can hardly hold your head up, and not taking the time to rest will only prolong your sickness and prevent your body from recovering.

Make sure that the policies you’re instituting aren’t keeping people from taking the time they need to stay healthy. Think about the way you approach time off, medical benefits, and employee wellness. The stress and frustration from worrying about taking sick time leads to disengagement, and costs companies across the world billions of dollars each year.

A generous time-off policy or options for more flexible schedules or remote work might seem expensive at face value, but it can actually save your company quite a lot of money in lost productivity, poor attendance, and suboptimal engagement.

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