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10 Changes To Level-up Your Work Environment From Ho-Hum to Wow

10 Changes To Level-up Your Work Environment From Ho-Hum to Wow

Let’s admit it – most of the times we wish the clock would go faster so we can punch out and get out of the office rut. Other times, we are merely sitting there on our table, procrastinating while impatiently waiting for the clock to hit that certain time, so we can go home to our family, rest, or socialize with friends, or maybe do a little shopping. However, enduring the entire day working while your environment is way below the boring line, can somehow fed us up.

So how can we turn things up and enjoy working?

It is quite simple to do as well as it is fun to do it. Listed below are my ten suggestions. You can start at your lunch break. Start preparing your colleagues to be more interested, excited, and upbeat after lunch is over. It has been shown that after lunch and before 3 PM people’s productivity, performance, and energy drop by as much as 30% to 50%.

You can counteract this by introducing stimulating and interesting things to do during the lunch hour, besides running out, grabbing fast food, and then sitting at your desk eating it.

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Our suggestions change the playing field and make things more interesting and exciting. Similar techniques are being employed by some of the best run companies like Kenexa and TechieNize. Also, the SemCo company has increased productivity markedly just by changing how the employees view their work environment.

1. Organize a Fun Committee

In this way every day at lunchtime, you will have a new activity which is something interesting that gets people out of their fast food induced doldrums.

2. Have a large whiteboard during lunchtime and pin funny cartoons or comics on it

For this you can also use top backyard projectors or home theater wide screens. The point is to be creative and to make sure that the purpose is achieved. They say laughter is the best medicine and by putting up humorous pictures and comics from the newspaper, you can ensure that people will be smiling for the rest of the day.

3. Set up a comedy skit group

During the lunch hour set up a company skit and reenact funny scenes that have occurred during the day orthe week.

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4. Ethnic meal for lunch

Most companies today are diverse work organizations and instead of having everyone going out for lunch, they offer food. Find out what your teammates’ ethnic foods are and schedule one day a week to sample them.

5. Change the interior decorations to something more exciting and humorous

The walls around your cubes are probably boring monotone or pastel colors that are supposed to relax and calm the spirit. Instead, you should hang up pictures of exciting places and events that get the blood moving.

6. Change the music that plays in the background, choose MO-Zone music in the afternoon

By playing music that is more exciting in the afternoon, you stimulate not only the brain but help fight off fatigue as well. This works extremely well for those who work as law firm digital marketing, software programmer, or anyone who is constantly sitting and facing the screens all day long. Mo-Zone stands for motivational music and songs like “Eye of the Tiger” and the Pointer Sisters have been shown to get the juices flowing and people more active during and after lunch.

7. During the lunch hour set up Trivial Pursuit type games

This game may have to do with your particular line of work or current events in general. By playing these types of games, you stimulate both your left and right side of the brain and engage your coworkers in something other than dealing with the day-to-day trials and tribulations of the workplace.

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8. Set up a coffee bar and during lunch offer gourmet coffees

Let’s face it – coffee is still one of the most exciting things in the early morning and a break time. So why not set up a coffee bar during the lunch hour, get the best home brew kits available, because today, you can get almost any kind of coffee in capsule form with more varieties than you can dream of.

Now, there are espresso machines for every budget and if you all chip in, you could purchase a set of these coffeemakers that would give everyone something they can enjoy during the lunch hour, be it cappuccino, latte, macchiato, or mocha.

9. Set up a snack bar with unusual treats from far-off lands

Everybody gets tired of the same old chips, pretzels, and bagels. Instead, set up a snack bar during the lunch hour and stock it from your local Chinese food market, a German deli, and a Japanese or Korean snack shop. These shops are springing up all over America. Taste treats from other lands are becoming popular, especially the Indian sweets that are provided during the Diwali festival.

10. Invite odd people and acts for a weekly/daily bazaar entertainment

The weirder the better as it forces the brain to move out of its rut and take in something new and unusual. This changes the work climate and you can leverage this into a more upbeat and cheerful work environment.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, it doesn’t take much time or effort to come up with some simple things that can increase morale, wake people up, and get them to finish up the day on a positive note. These are just simple suggestions and if you think about it, you can come up with an additional 10 or 20 of your own just by looking at the people all around you and asking yourself what would excite them, make them laugh, and make them smile.

By doing this you can change your office from a ho-hum environment where people seem to be on their last legs by Quitting Time to an office where people are energetic, interested, and may not even want to go home.

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Junie Rutkevich

Game Developer of iXL Digital

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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