The right employees can be hard to find. But keeping them can be even harder, especially as a small-to-medium-sized business.
With large corporations making headlines with generous perks including a year of paid maternity/paternity leave (Netflix) and free gourmet meals (Facebook), how’s a small-to-medium-sized business supposed to keep up?
The answer is surprisingly simple and astonishingly inexpensive: be sensible, be kind, and get creative.
Let them be human.
Flextime is one of the easiest ways to make your employees happy. Giving your staff an easy, no-stress way to take care of their basic needs—such as school pickup, caring for elderly parents, even cutting down a long commute by avoiding rush hour traffic—is a win-win for everyone, including your business, since employees that work flexible hours are typically healthier, more productive, and less absent.
And let them nap! (Yes! Nap!)
Humans also get tired, sometimes at work (gasp!). Seriously, though. Why fight the urge for a quick, workday nap when studies show a little shuteye boosts memory and learning? If you want to go high-tech, you can invest in one of these cool nap pods. Or you could go old school and roll a cot into an empty office, equip it with some blankets, lamps, and soft music and voilà, a cozy little nap area.
Give them freedom.
Remote work is the new normal. And if you haven’t already embraced it for your employees, you should absolutely start now. We could fill this page with the seemingly endless benefits of remote work (less stress, better morale, increased productivity) but it really comes down to freedom. You trust your employees to do great work. So give them the freedom to do it away from the office.
Give them a break.
Summer Fridays (letting employees leave early on a Friday or giving them the day off entirely) isn’t just good for employees (*insert celebratory raised hands emoji*), it’s good for business. It boosts spirits in a big way and gives your team a little something to look forward to—and all without you having to spend a dime.
And a place to lounge.
Sprinkle in a little Friday throughout the rest of the week by creating an office lounge area. It doesn’t have to be anything lavish. A comfy couch, nice chairs, and some throw pillows can go a long way. A communal place to relax can also foster creativity and camaraderie, which are always a boon to business and something you can’t put a price tag on.
Supply creature comforts…
People spend a lot of time at work. Why not make it more comfortable with some creature comforts? And by “creature comforts” we mean snacks. Studies show that snacks are actually the key to happiness at work. (Pass the white cheddar popcorn!) Good coffee and tea, plus some flavored sparkling water, are also a great touch.
…and let them bring their creatures.
There’s nothing like a dog to cheer you up, calm you down, or just lay at your feet and give you the warm and fuzzies. (Extra points if said dog is both warm and fuzzy.) Some of the world’s most successful companies let employees bring their dogs to work. And why not? Having a dog (or dogs!) around the office increases employee interaction. It’s also fun and cute and makes people smile.
Give them the tools they need.
Old computers and outdated software may not seem like a big deal to you, but they’re a big deal to your employees, especially if they can’t get their work done. Make sure your team has all the tools—equipped with the latest updates and upgrades—they need to do their jobs. VoIP (phone service over the internet) is a low-cost, high-tech tool packed with great features that’s surprisingly easy to use (and will make your team’s collective lives a whole lot easier). Don’t forget basic ergonomics, too. Comfortable office chairs and good desks—standing desks, too, if your budget can swing it—make everyone feel better about their jobs.
Have some fun.
It doesn’t take a big budget to boost the office fun quotient. Sometimes a company-sponsored happy hour is just the ticket to help everyone kick back and enjoy themselves. If you don’t have the funds to go out, stay in. It’s amazing how some beer, appetizer-esque snacks, and good tunes can transform an office into a bonafide fun zone. Take a karaoke break. Hold an air guitar competition. (Uhh, yes please.) Whatever you can do as a team to elicit some smiles and laughs is always a good thing.