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How SMEs Can Improve Productivity Through a Happier Workplace

According to's Job's Happiness Index 2017, almost 1 out of 2 Singaporean are unhappy at work. The 3 main reason contributing to happiness at work are work location, good colleagues and company reputation, and the 3 main reasons contributing to unhappiness area career development, leadership and training opportunities.

Creating a happy workplace can make employees more loyal to the company, reduce turnover and hiring cost. It can also help increase job satisfaction which translate into higher productivity and better performance.

Creating a happy workplace need not to be costly. Here’s some ways which companies can provides a happier workplace with little or no cost:

 Providing a conducive work environment. An employee spends about 8 to 12 hours in the office. Having a conducive working environment can make them feel more comfortable working:

a.      Have a clean, tidy and presentable communal areas (e.g. washrooms, pantry, reception lobby, etc.).

b.      Install some air purifiers and Ionizers to cleanse the air.

c.      Allow staff to "personalize" their own work area, provided they keep it clean and tidy.

d.      Ensure the office is brightly lit.

e.      Ensure the office temperature is just cooling, not freezing nor warm. For non-air-conditioned workplace, ensure good ventilation.

Have workplace policies that focuses on Health & Wellness. Policies drive employees’ behaviors. Having policies focusing on overall employee health & wellness will make them feel happier at work:

f.       Encourage regular 5-10 mins break for every 1-2 hours of work to re-charge and regain focus. This will help reduce error rate and increase productivity.

g.      Create a time-out / pantry area with snacks and drinks that the employees enjoy (within a set budget). Putting a speaker and playing uplifting music can help them recharge during their breaks.

h.      Encourage employee to create healthy cliques relating to health and wellness (e.g. Running, Yoga, healthy eating, etc.). This will help them manage stress better and strengthen the relationship.

i.        Incentivize employees / cliques that achieve a set health and wellness milestone (e.g. achieving 10km running event for all group members).

j.        Subsidizing or rewarding employees on fitness events or wellness program.

k.      Organize healthy lunch-In day. Do pot lucks (healthy food though).

l.        Arrange Wellness class (e.g. Yoga, Pilates, Meditation) in office.

m.    Have a dress code policy that allows your employees to present themselves in a confident, casual and comfortable manner while maintaining the desired professional image.

Improve on Company Brand and Image. Employees like to be associated with company that has a positive image. This will help to promote the company as the preferred employer, creates higher employee engagement level, and positive reputation in front of the customers.

a.      Undertaking community or social volunteering activities outside the usual work responsibilities, employees have the chance to contribute to work and causes that they might feel passionate about or learn something new which can help enrich their own perspective.

b.      Implicitly express your company values and having the management “walk-the-talk” has a higher chance to gain trust & authenticity with employees and customers.

c.      A strong founder’s story on why he/she decided to build the company will help to engage employees to work towards the common goal and have a better purpose-driven work engagement.

Includes policies and practices focusing on Growth

a.      Good Employees want to know how they perform regularly so that they can adjust their performance. Align performance goals to business objective(s). Use not more than 3 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the performance. Review KPIs regularly.

b.      A Mentorship Program can develop the employee’s potential, allowing them to succeed in their roles. In return, they are more likely to be more productive, engaged and loyal to the company. This will help increase the job satisfaction level, reducing turnover rate and help save hiring costs.

c.      Continuous Business Improvement Project. Employees can help grow the company by seeking improvement on its processes to increase efficiency. Allocate some time within the working hours to focus on the program. Have the employee propose their own improvement project and set an incentive as encouragement. Incentives can be simple like additional offdays, cash vouchers or lunch treat. Projects with higher impact to business goals may have incentives like bonuses, overseas trips/outings, gifts-in-kind.

Do you have any other ideas on creating a happier workplace? Share your comments here!


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