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6 Things That Make Employees Happy

6 Things That Make Employees Happy
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Happy employees are productive employees. If this is true, then why do so few companies focus on making their employees happy? If you want to be a part of a successful company, then happiness needs to be at the forefront of everything.

Here are some specific things that make employees happy (and how you can leverage them to your advantage).

1. Flexible Work Scheduling

While you may assume that higher pay and better titles are the keys to making employees happy, the reality is that the average employee simply wants better work-life balance. One simple way you can help them achieve this is through flexible work scheduling. Here are a few tips:

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  • For shift workers, clearly communicate schedules well in advance so that employees know when they’re working. Ideally, this should be done at the beginning of the month.
  • For salaried employees, flex scheduling works really well. Under this setup, employees are allowed to set their own hours (so long as they get the allotted per-day and per-week numbers in).
  • Give employees the ability to work from home one day per week. This provides employees with a nice break from the day to day grind.

These are just a few ideas. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re taking work-life balance into consideration when creating schedules.

2. Clear Expectations

One of the most frustrating things for employees is that they don’t always know what they’re supposed to be doing. As a result, they end up feeling useless, underprepared, or anxious. Setting clear expectations for each employee and role is paramount to job satisfaction and happiness.

3. Recognition and Affirmation

If you want employees to be happy, and therefore productive, they need to know that their work matters. You can do this by showing them that their work is appreciated.

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There are plenty of ways to recognize and affirm employees, but Kelsey Libert, VP of marketing for Fractl, believes in giving little impromptu surprises. “My favorite forms of appreciation include unexpected treats like group lunches or a shortened workday,” she says. “I also like activities that add value for both the individual and the company, including team-building challenges and  fully paid continuing-education courses.”

4. Casual Work Environments

Sometimes making employees happy is as simple as establishing a workplace environment that people feel comfortable in. Instead of requiring people to wear business suits and maintain immaculate workspaces that resemble a sterile medical environment, loosen up and let them wear casual clothing and decorate their offices according to their own preferences.

5. Fewer Meetings

Do people actually like meetings? Is there anyone in your organization who feels a rush of adrenaline and excitement when they see an hour-long staff meeting pop up on their daily agenda? The answer is no. Meetings are boring and, much of the time, useless.

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The good news is that since meetings tend to be pointless, you can nix most of them. This lets employees spend more time getting things done and less time listening to others jabber about things that don’t relate to them. When you do decide to hold meetings, make them actionable.

6. Access to the Right Tools

Employees want to do their jobs well. While clear communication and expectations are a starting point, giving them the right tools is also important. Regularly communicate with your employees to ensure they have everything they need.

Are Your Employees Happy?

Happy employees are productive employees, and your company is the one that benefits the most from their productivity. Thus, if you want productivity out of your workforce, focus more on delighting them and less on establishing pointless rules and regulations. You won’t be disappointed with the results.

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Larry Alton

Business Consultant

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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