Its February and while you might have paid off your holiday credit card binge, the 6lbs you gained over December is still resolutely stuck to your butt, your bonus isn’t due for another 2 months and god damn it, its f-ing cold outside. Never mind that we’re over the hump of winter, that stupid Groundhog never delivers good news and wouldn’t you know it, you’re out of wine.
Working in HR I hear on a daily basis how pissed off everyone is all year round and how we need to come up with morale boosting initiatives which don’t involve less work or more money (or a nude Jason Statham turning up on my doorstep). But boosting morale is a complex business – everyone is motivated by different things and to be honest, unless I’m given permission to issue corporate Valium, I don’t think anything I can do will make a bean of difference. Since I make up for in creativity what I lack in effectiveness (or spelling ability), this morning I figured out some morale boosting strategies which I think everyone could get behind.
The Money Fairy
We all know that money is what counts, but how our companies dole it out somewhat minimizes the potential impact. Sure its lovely to get a $1000 bonus.. but its a one time good feeling. I say lets leave it to the money fairy. The money fairy visits your office when you’re at lunch and leaves a $50 or $100 bill in your desk drawer or your coat pocket. Voila.. who doesn’t love finding free money?? No-one ever sees the money fairy and no teeth are required as collateral.
Hey it worked in school.. why not now? Wouldn’t everyone benefit from a quick boogie around the office at 3pm on a Tuesday? Cue up that Cool and the Gang, kick off your shoes and shimmy. Tell me that wouldn’t raise a smile.
The Extended Deadline
We’ve all been there. Your boss is being magnanimous and tells you to go home early or take a few hours off. While is great to have a few extra hours in the middle of the week, we all know we’ll be working double strength the next day to catch up. Especially since your boss is going to use that extra time to catch up the last 5 months of emails so you’ll be returning to a long list of ‘to dos’. The extended deadline works in concert with the ‘free afternoon’.. sure you can take off to the movies, but that report you were working on… yep, lets push that out a few weeks. Cancel it altogether. Take 1 thing off my plate and I think I can even skip the free afternoon.
Boss-man day away
Even cheaper and more effective than giving your crew the afternoon off, if you’re the boss man, give yourself the day off. Stay off email and the phone, disappear with ‘flu’ for the day. While you sit back and relax, you can know your team is having a slightly less stressful day, having a little more fun and finally catching up on all those emails you’ve been sending them at 11pm. Send an anonymous case of Krispy Kremes and you just made their day.
The Missed Connection
Now I wouldn’t be so trite as to recommend developing a romantic interest at work (even though it can make that drive to the office faster), but you can fake it. Posting an anonymous Missed Connection on craigslist for one of coworkers is free, easy and infantile.. but who wouldn’t want to think that they’d turned a strangers head? Instant feel good.
The Spousal Apology
Since most of us work to hard, can be known to be a little snappy mid week and probably have skipped 1 or 12 ‘significant other’ activities due to work, the spousal apology does the hard work for you. 3 -4 times a year we send flowers/ beer/ chocolates/ Valium to your spouse or significant other, apologizing for working too hard and reminding them of how special they are. Unscheduled recognition gains you instant access to good feelings and who knows, you might even get lucky. Who says hard work never got you laid?
There you have it several options for boosting morale with your coworkers. Or they could just pay us better.