Most small businesses would celebrate success and incentivize their employees every day if they could - who wouldn’t want to hop on a party yacht with a DJ and strawberry daiquiris to celebrate Karen from Marketing’s 50th birthday? But it can be hard (or even impossible) to find the budget to incentivize your employees the way you wish you could.
Luckily, you don’t need to throw money at morale to make a big, positive difference in the lives of your employees. So skip buying another sugary sheet cake and try these great low-cost or no cost incentives for all.
Purchasing a few potted plants can contribute to office creativity, air cleanliness, productivity and more. Exeter University found employees were 15 percent more productive when plants were introduced into the office, while The University of Technology, Sydney found offices adorned with plants saw a decrease of office anxiety by 37 percent, fatigue by 38 percent and depression by 58 percent. Encourage employees to add their own friendly ferns and give $5 gift cards to those that participate.
Dress to De-stress
A simple, cost-free way to boost morale is by relaxing or updating the office dress code. Mary Barra, chief executive at General Motors, made waves in 2018 when she slashed GM’s 10-page workplace dress code to two words: Dress appropriately. She believed that employees should know what type of dress is required for them to work their best, and that that might change day to day. Loosening up just a little can go a very long way.
Giving employees one day a week to work from home can be a win for both sides of the desk. According to Tech Republic, working from home saves your company money on utilities while saving employees both money and time spent commuting. Another reason to give the old home office a try: virtual workers are typically more engaged, get more work done in a day and are less likely to quit. We like those odds.
Give Shoutouts to Success
It’s natural to jump from one project to the next, but recognizing great work has a positive impact and makes employees feel valued. A handwritten note or a small treat from your local bakery is a simple way to show your appreciation for a job well done.
Flex Some Freedom
Flex hours are another cost-free way to make a huge difference in an employee’s life. Whether it allows them to catch an express train home or to drive their child to school in the morning, sometimes starting or ending a work day even 45 minutes later can drastically improve morale and improve retention.