In some companies, it’s possible for some departments (and even executives, as shows like Undercover Boss prove) to know what their company does, without really knowing what the company does. Because of this, customer service shouldn’t be the only team dealing with the customers. Instead, have each employee work in some type of customer service capacity every now and then. Have them answer phone calls. Have them conduct customer surveys. Encourage them to stop by the warehouse, so that they know what’s going on there and can communicate that to their customers.
Weight loss competitions have become a hot trend in the past few years, as reported in a 2009 story from The New York Times. Even if you don’t want to breach the sensitive subject of a worker’s individual weight, though, you can create a sense of healthy competition by holding a weight loss challenge. The winner gets the benefit of feeling fitter and receiving a prize of some sort, like cash or vacation time or “lunch with executives…or avoiding lunch with executives,” says Faktor.
Instead of using slide presentations to visualize products and services, workers should try developing their own “physical prototypes and simulation spaces.” Not only will this help workers think harder about their ideas and how they want them to come to life, it may also help them catch any design errors or logistical problems early on. Plus, creating a small-scale version of what they envision can be a great way for them to tap into their creativity.
That sedentary lifestyle I mentioned earlier? That problem can also be addressed by holding more stand-up meetings. These encourage more engagement from workers by having them stand up during the conversation, sometimes in a room that has no table. The seated meeting encourages workers to surf the Internet on their phones or laptops while one person dominates the conversation. According a study conducted by University of Missouri business professor Allen Bluedorn, a stand-up meeting is typically a third shorter than a seated one, and the different format does not affect the quality of decision-making.
Faktor’s final suggestion is to create a temporary idea space with coffee and toys and other mental stimulants, gather up the team, and think of work activities that will engage the employees’ five senses. Rank how involved each sense will be and decide how helpful the different activity will be for the workplace. Once you’ve decided on the best ones, you’ll be on your way to a more exciting office culture.
An engaging office is often a high-performing one; just check out the Google or Facebook offices. Think of ways the company can wake up its workers by breaking out of the usual routine. That could mean a competitive game of company dodgeball, or it could be a contest for designing the company’s newest product. Whatever you pick, be sure that your office doesn’t start snoring from complacency. Shake things up a bit, and you’ll likely see some positive results.
photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc