Did you know that over the course of your career, you’ll spend approximately 100,000 hours at the office, which is something around 20 percent of your adult life? When presented that way, it makes perfect sense to transform this time  into your own personal playground. Successful leaders want to make sure their staff’s 20 percent is spent in a productive, fulfilling and enjoyable workplace that enriches the life of each employee as well as the experience of the company as a whole.

This time we’ll try to point you in several directions you should take if you decided to boost your people’s’ productivity by making their work more pleasant:

  • Recognition

While our parents probably loved those gold watches or fancy pens they got for loyal service, Millennials demand immediate recognition and creative incentives that reflect the modern social media world we live in. More than anything, they want to see the difference they make in their organization and be recognized for it. In fact, a study conducted by the Gallup Organization of more than 80,000 employees found that 82% said that recognition motivates them to improve their job performance. Traditional service awards like gold watches and tie tacks don’t motivate or engage employees because there is no meaningful recognition behind the one-time reward, the study concluded. You need to find new ways to recognize employees’ progress in the workplace, such as constructive feedback, mentorship programs, career paths, etc.

  • Space

Not every organization can build a super cool office space from scratch like Google or Facebook did; in fact, almost no one can. But the thing is – you don’t really have to. According to Elliot Felix, founder of Brightspot – a strategy firm that helps organizations rethink their space – changing a company’s culture and employee satisfaction happens with small tweaks, not big, dramatic transformations. In Felix’s opinion, fancy leather couches and gaming rooms are just window dressing and not the real substance of cultural change in an office. When it comes down to it, great design is simply about solving problems. So redesigning a space must begin with conversations with employees to better understand their needs, their productivity and how they feel about their time at the office. “We’re never just talking about space. We’re talking about culture, etiquette, and rituals. What a lot of people forget is that we imbue space with our values.” Felix tells. The simple things you can do almost anytime, for example, noticing where employees have their liveliest conversations and setting up seating in that area to encourage them to linger; or designating rooms as a quiet space for introverts to get away from the crowds.  These are minimal costs that could have an immense impact on your organization culture and overall productivity.

  • Time

Does your company have open working hours? If not, what would be the negative consequences of letting your employees come and go as they please, as long as everyone works the same amount of time daily? Are they greater than the positive effects of such a privilege? Think about this – many people have a life routine that doesn’t allow much productivity at 8 or 9 AM. We know it’s risky, but luckily technology has advanced enough to allow you to do it with ease. With the help of any good time-tracking software, you can be confident about their activities, while ensuring greater employee satisfaction since they won’t be getting stressed about things like being 30 minutes late. If you’re leading a small or medium enterprise, perhaps you should talk to your people about what would be an ideal working time and adjust to it, instead of making them adjust to you.

  • Doings

Your office is your employees’ second home, and their colleagues are their other family. If you’re a CEO or a manager, this makes you the head of that family, and it’s your responsibility if they aren’t happy in it. In every business there are rough periods with shortfalls despite all the work and effort, followed by a lack of motivation.  Times like these are when you need to step in to make them feel worthy despite it all. In-office team-building exercises are great because fun is then related to the same space, so instead of feeling bad when entering the next morning, a positive association will have been created. Flowers, a good lunch, uplifting music in the morning, funny notes at their desks – all of these things boost the atmosphere and inspire motivation, making them ready to cope with the hard times.

The more workers are able to engage with your brand and culture, the more they will be able to identify with it. Today’s employees expect to work for an organization that they are passionate about. This way, they’ll be interested in advancing not only the company goals, but also their individual goals. Building a strong brand that supports company and individual needs will create a team environment that’s lasting, productive and enjoyable.